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Friday, April 17, 1998

Safety Charlie Williams re-signs for two years

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Dallas Morning News

(KRT)

DALLAS - The Dallas Cowboys signed restricted free-agent safety Charlie Williams to a two-year contract Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not released, but it's believed to be worth $1 million, including a signing bonus of about $300,000. He will count about $400,000 against the Cowboys' salary cap this season.

Williams, entering his fourth season, established himself as an excellent special-teams performer last season. Now, he will get a chance to compete with second-year safety Omar Stoutmire for the starting free safety position.

The position became open when Brock Marion signed a three-year, free-agent contract with Miami.

While Williams is considered an excellent athlete, defensive coordinator Dave Campo and secondary coach Mike Zimmer have said he makes too many mental mistakes.

"I believe I've got a legitimate shot to be a starter this year, and I'm going into training camp like that," said Williams. "I know they have some concerns about me making mental mistakes, but I just have to work a lot harder at it. It's a matter of me getting repetitions in training camp."

The Cowboys drafted Williams, who played receiver and safety at Bowling Green, in the third round because of his abilities on special teams.

Last season, Williams played primarily in the Cowboys' nickel defense. He also led the team in special-teams tackles and received some consideration for the Pro Bowl.

INFLUENTIAL SCOUTS:

Owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys, who own the eighth and 37th picks in this draft, do not want to reach for players.

To do so, Jones said he will rely on Larry Lacewell, the Cowboys' director of pro and college scouting and his seven-man scouting staff more than ever.

In the past, Lacewell said the Cowboys have relied too heavily on their assistant coaches to judge talent and make strong recommendations on who to draft.

That worked when Jimmy Johnson coached the Cowboys and he had assistants such as Norv Turner, Dave Wannstedt and Tony Wise. When Johnson and those assistants left, the Cowboys kept the same system.

But it hasn't worked nearly as well.

The Cowboys have produced only six starters from the past four drafts, and Larry Allen is the only Pro Bowl performer. "We know the scouts have far more information about players than our staff does, because they've been evaluating them all year," Jones said. "Some of the most glaring errors we've made in the past have come when we went away from our scouts' recommendations.

"Someone can change my mind, but they're going to have to do a lot of talking to convince me to go away from the scouts."

MOSS ON DRAFT BOARD:

The Cowboys removed three players - Cory Dillon, Tremaine Mack and Damon Jones - from their draft board last season because they had questionable character.

The strategy worked because all three have been arrested in the past year.

The Cowboys, however, have not removed Marshall receiver Randy Moss from the draft board. Moss, considered the best college receiver in years, has a history of off-the-field incidents. So he could be available when the Cowboys pick at No. 8.

(c) 1998, The Dallas Morning News

Visit The Dallas Morning News on the World Wide Web at http://www.dallasnews.com/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


All content copyright 1998, AP, KRT, The Abilene Reporter-News and Reporter OnLine
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