Browns second-round pick agrees to 5-year deal

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Faced with the team's deadline to sign or have a contract offer trimmed, rookie linebacker Chaun Thompson agreed to a five-year deal with the Cleveland Browns and ended a preseason holdout.
Thompson, from tiny West Texas A&M, agreed to the deal Wednesday and was expected at practice Thursday, a team spokesman said.
Earlier, Browns president Carmen Policy made it clear that the team wasn't pleased that the No. 52 overall pick wasn't in camp. Policy said if Thompson didn't sign before Thursday, the Browns would reduce their offer.
"This is not a threat or an ultimatum, but it's just an evaluation of the situation as we see it," Policy said. "We've indicated to Chaun's agents that the danger point is quickly coming upon us, that if things are delayed beyond tomorrow, we're crossing the line of no return."
Policy's tone changed after the Browns reached a deal with Thompson's agent, Jeffrey Griffin.
"We are delighted the young man has joined and he's ready to become a member of the Cleveland Browns family," Policy said.
Griffin could not be reached for comment.
The Browns still have four draft choices who haven't signed with the club.
Cleveland has been asking its low-round picks to accept five-year contracts to create salary stability. Agents for most of the rookies have been reluctant to have their players sign the long-term deals.
Typically, low-round picks sign for three years, after which they are eligible for free agency.
The Browns will scrimmage the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, and Policy said the unsigned draft choices need to be with the team by then.
"We're really running out of time -- not patience, but time," Policy said.
Thompson missed nine days of camp since workouts for rookies began on July 22.
The other draft choices yet to sign are cornerbacks Chris Crocker and Michael Lehan, running back Lee Suggs and defensive tackle Antonio Garay.
The Browns' choice of Thompson with the 52nd overall pick was one of the draft's biggest surprises because West Texas A&M is an NCAA Division II school and went 0-11 last season.
Shortly after the draft, Thompson said he'd play for free.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)