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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2002

Elam still in contract dispute with Broncos

Associated Press

Kicker Jason Elam might not be in training camp today.

Associated Press

DENVER — The Denver Broncos were making progress yesterday toward signing No. 1 draft pick Ashley Lelie, but were having problems negotiating with another former University of Hawai'i standout — free-agent kicker Jason Elam.

The Broncos and Elam's agent Jack Reale have had no discussions about a long-term contract extension since February, when the team designated Elam its franchise player with a $1.465 million contract tender offer.

The sides are prohibited from discussing a long-term extension until the one-year franchise tender is signed. Otherwise, the Broncos would risk a fine and loss of draft picks.

It was unclear whether Elam, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, would sign the franchise tender before players reported to training camp today.

"I'd rather not talk about it until I speak further with the Broncos," said Reale. "I'm cautiously optimistic that Jason's numbers do speak for themselves. The Broncos will have some perspective, and it'll probably all wind up getting done."

If Elam signs the one-year tender and reports today, he will have to hope the team will bargain in good faith. If he signs the tender and then walks out of camp if there is not sufficient progress in talks for a long-term deal, he would subject himself to a $5,000 per day fine. Or he can decide not to report to camp at all.

Lelie, a receiver, remained unsigned but his agent told the Denver Post yesterday that both sides are hopeful a deal will be struck before the start of camp tomorrow.