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EAGLES' MAMULA APOLOGIZES

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Mike Mamula apologized Wednesday to a female bouncer who accused him of exposing himself to her. She accepted the apology, even though the statement lacked an admission of guilt and did not specifically mention the allegation.

"He apologized, and I'm sure he sincerely meant it. That's good as far as I'm concerned," Sherri Happaney said. "I'm not going to go any further with it."

"I do not support or condone any conduct which is abusive or disrespectful to women. If I have done anything to offend Ms. Happaney I am truly sorry and offer my sincere apology," Mamula said.

Allentown police captain Paul Snyder did not immediately return telephone messages seeking comment on whether the department planned charges against Mamula. Happaney has said police told her they plan to drop the case.

Friends with Mamula, 23, told police he was fixing his shorts and did not expose himself. A police report described him as intoxicated but cooperative.

"This has been a difficult situation which I hope will no longer be a distraction. As such, I would like to concentrate all my efforts to having a successful season," Mamula said.

Young to top of list

ROCKLIN, Calif. -- Call it NFL Economics 101. Or just blame it on the salary cap.

Steve Young became the league's highest-paid player by taking a pay cut.

"He will be with us the remainder of his playing career. I think this contract guarantees that," 49ers president Carmen Policy said of his star quarterback.

Young's new deal will pay him $45 million for six years, besting the contract signed a week ago by Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who reportedly received $47.25 million for seven years.

Young's contract -- actually an extension of the deal that was to pay him $4.5 million this season -- cleared $1.5 million in room under this season's salary cap because Young's base salary for 1997 is now $3 million. Before the deal with Young, the 49ers were just $107,000 below the $41.5 million cap limit.

That allowed the 49ers to agree to terms with their top draft pick, Virginia Tech quarterback Jim Druckenmiller, on a six-year contract. Details weren't released.

Young, who turns 36 in October, is unlikely to see all the money because none of it is guaranteed. Both Policy and Young's agent, Leigh Steinberg, said there's a strong possibility Young's deal will be restructured as early as next year, when Young is due to receive a $10 million base salary.

Around the league

The New Orleans Saints re-signed veteran linebacker Rickey Jackson, who retired after the 1995 season, to a one-year contract. The 39-year-old Jackson, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, spent his first 13 pro seasons with the Saints before joining the San Francisco 49ers for two years.

Free agent offensive tackle Steve Wallace, a 1992 Pro Bowl selection and member of three Super Bowl title teams with the 49ers, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs released cornerback Willie Beamon to make room.

The Washington Redskins' front office has contacted the agent for defensive tackle Dan Saleaumua, who was cut this week by the Chiefs after he refused to take a pay cut from his scheduled $1.7 million salary. To pay him anything close to that much, the Redskins would have to cut a veteran. The team's best defensive tackle, Sean Gilbert, remains a holdout, and is asking for $5 million per year.

The Chicago Bears also are interested in Saleaumua.

If Saleaumua, who was in Chicago for a physical on Wednesday, signs with the Bears, Zorich could be released to make room on the roster and under the salary cap, according to a team source. In his seventh season with the Bears, Zorich is trying to come back from a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament that kept him out all of last season. He's also been sidelined the past 11 days with back spasms.

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