Titans/NFL Insider: Dolphins scrimmage sales pass 11,000

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Just two weeks ago, Titans owner Bud Adams said he was ''hoping the fans would come out'' for the Titans-Dolphins scrimmage at Adelphia Coliseum on Aug. 3.

It appears they will. Titans Executive Vice President Don MacLachlan said 11,237 tickets were purchased in recent weeks by PSL holders, who were given first shot at them.

Tickets are $10 each. The rest will go on sale to the general public June 29, the same day single-game tickets also go on sale.

Last August, with the Titans coming off a 13-3 season, 51,469 people turned out to see a scrimmage against the Colts in the stadium. Titans officials said about half the tickets were sold to PSL holders.

Only the lower bowl and club- level seats, a total of about 37,000, will be open for the Titans-Dolphins scrimmage, MacLachlan said.

The Titans and Dolphins will also practice at Baptist Sports Park  two practices Aug. 2, one Aug. 3. MacLachlan said free tickets to the practices will be available sometime in July, just before training camp opens July 25.

Most of the marquee names did not participate in last year's scrimmage, including Steve McNair and Eddie George, who were coming back from injuries. For the Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning played only a few snaps, while running back Edgerrin James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison were held out.

''I like to work against another club,'' Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said. ''I know the players enjoy it. It breaks up training camp and it picks up the intensity in the practices, and the scrimmage is one of those things where a young player can really benefit from going in game-like situations.''

Time to sign rookies: A smattering of draft picks have signed around the league, but the Titans have yet to come to terms with any of their 10 selections.

With a far cleaner docket than he had this time last year, however, General Manager Floyd Reese expects little trouble in getting all the rookie deals finished before training camp.

''We'll soon start tossing some numbers around and go from there,'' Reese said.

The Falcons have signed four picks already, more than any other team. As of the close of business Friday, only two first-round picks (David Carr by the Texans, Bryan Thomas by the Jets) and two second-round picks (Eddie Freeman by the Chiefs, Travis Fisher by the Rams) had been signed.

Last year, Reese concluded negotiations for all seven draft picks between July 5-24. That was after he spent weeks hammering out what became the six-year, $47 million deal for McNair.

Reese also was working deals for guard Benji Olson, cornerback Michael Booker, cornerback DeRon Jenkins and running back Jonathan Linton at the time he was starting negotiations with the rookies. In addition, he was opening talks on a long-term deal with cornerback Samari Rolle.

This year, the Titans have concluded the bulk of their free-agency work, with fullback Greg Comella, running backs Robert Holcombe and Skip Hicks, safety Lance Schulters and centers Jeff Smith and Aaron Graham under contract.

The Titans' rookie pool  the 2002 rookie salary-cap figure set by the NFL for each team  is $4.149 million for the 10 picks. Almost half is usually used in signing the first-round pick. For the Titans that's defensive tackle Albert Haynes-worth, the 15th pick overall.

Last year, the Redskins selected Clemson wide receiver Ron Gardner at No. 15 and eventually signed him to a $7.8 million deal over five years with a $3.3 million signing bonus. Haynesworth's deal will be worth slightly more than that.

Reese has had every draft pick into training camp on time since 1996.

80 years: Tomorrow will be the 80th anniversary of the vote by owners in the 18-team American Professional Football Association to change the league's name to the National Football League.

At the same meeting, franchises were added in Marion, Ohio, and Green Bay, Milwaukee and Racine, Wis..

Way down the road: Looking for a team to watch on draft day in 2003? The Patriots already have 10 picks in next April's draft, including two first-rounders, two fourth-rounders and two fifth-rounders.

Jeff Legwold covers the NFL for The Tennessean. He can be reached at 259-8352 or jlegwold@tennessean.com.

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