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The NFL
Peter King
August 23, 1999
Wake-up Call Patriots looking for rookie Andy Katzenmoyer to stop sleepwalking
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August 23, 1999

The Nfl

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Edge to Edgerrin
When the two premier rookie running backs face off in a preseason game this Saturday, don't blame the Saints' Ricky Williams (above) if he's a little envious. In the contract competition the Colts' Edgerrin James, who was the fourth pick in the April draft and signed a seven-year, $49 million deal, was the clear winner over Williams, who was picked one spot later and signed an incentive-laced, seven-year contract. James has his share of incentive clauses, so SI calculated how much each player would be paid if he performed to the following starry but not unrealistic standards for each of his first three seasons: 300 carries, 1,200 rushing yards, 45 receptions, 450 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns.

James

Williams

Signing bonus

$9.5 million

$8.843 million

1999 income

$4.275 million

$475,000

2000 income

$4.235 million

$500,000

2001 income

$4.335 million

$575,000

Total

$22.345 million

$10.393 million

Wake-up Call
Patriots looking for rookie Andy Katzenmoyer to stop sleepwalking

As patriots rookie middle linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer made an uninspiring debut against the Redskins last Friday night, one couldn't help but think back to what New England coach Pete Carroll said about him earlier in the week. In so many words, Carroll said he wished Katzenmoyer played with a bit more fire. "It's a personality trait that can transfer into a skill," said Carroll. He's right. Football's a game of adrenaline.

Katzenmoyer, who might hold the fate of the Pats' defense in his 21-year-old hands, needs to understand that. He was on the field for about 45 of New England's 60 defensive plays from scrimmage; in the Patriots' 20-14 loss, he assisted on three tackles—none when matched against Washington's top two units—and had no sacks or quarterback pressures. This performance followed a disappointing final season at Ohio State, during which he averaged just six tackles a game and went sackless in 10 of 12 outings. After starting last season as a top five prospect, he plunged to the 28th pick in last April's draft. Scouts said he wasn't instinctive or aggressive and that he had trouble shedding blockers.

That was the Katzenmoyer who replaced an injured Ted Johnson against Washington. "At first I'm going to feel hesitant, and I'm going to be thinking a lot out there," Katzenmoyer said after the game. "It'll be a while before I'm comfortable."

Katzenmoyer does have one reason to be tentative. Though he was being groomed to play outside linebacker, to capitalize on his speed and pursuit skills, he was thrust into the middle when Johnson tore his left biceps on Aug. 7. "He's had so much thrown at him," says Carroll. "You can't draw a conclusion after one game."

But his lack of passion can't be overlooked. In the preseason it's not unusual to see a veteran with a roster spot locked up avoiding piles. But a rookie playing like that? In his first game? It wasn't a good sign, particularly considering the role that the middle linebacker plays in the Patriots' defense. Johnson, who is expected to miss at least three to four months, was the force who rallied the New England front seven in the face of injuries last year.

At his locker Katzenmoyer oozes football player. He has the glare of Jack Lambert, the biceps of Junior Seau, the upper-body definition of Greg Lloyd. No Patriot looks more like an impact player. The 6'3", 264-pound Katzenmoyer had better start playing like one, or New England will struggle to get a wildcard berth.

Mouth of the South
Sapp Predicts A Sack Title

Ask Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp what he did during the 1998 off-season, and he replies, "Got married. Searched for a house. Got fat Rested on my laurels." He also signed a six-year, $36 million contract extension.

When the '98 season began, Sapp was a bloated 315 pounds, 20 over his ideal playing weight. Though he went on to have a seven-sack season and ended up at the Pro Bowl, he believes he disgraced the reputation he had earned the year before (when he had 10� sacks) as a defensive terrorist. "I know I'm one of the best in the game, but the level I played at last year was sickening," he says. That's part of the reason that Tampa Bay, 10-6 and a playoff team in 1997, slipped to 8-8 and stayed home during the postseason.

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