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EXTENSION WITH CHARGERS LOCKS UP SEAU THROUGH 2002

Junior Seau has something new to pump his fists about -- a $27.1 million contract renegotiation that keeps him with the San Diego Chargers through 2002.

The deal, signed Saturday night and announced Tuesday, includes a signing bonus of approximately $6 million and puts the excitable eight-year veteran back atop the list of the NFL's highest paid linebackers. More importantly to Seau, he is virtually assured of finishing his playing career with his hometown Chargers.

"I've got to be up front with you -- I was never going to leave San Diego," Seau, 28, said, adding he had no desire to look elsewhere after his old deal expired at the end of the 1998 season.

"It's very rare for a player to start with an organization and have an opportunity to finish," said Seau, who grew up in nearby Oceanside and was San Diego's first-round draft pick out of Southern California in 1990. "That was important to me and my family. . . . I'm just fortunate enough to be employed in my hometown."

Seau's base salary of $2.4 million and his salary cap figure of $3.8 million for this season remain the same as under his old deal. The renegotiation will allow the Chargers to significantly reduce his salary cap number of $6 million for 1998.

Beebe OK but must sit

MILWAUKEE -- Green Bay Packers wide receiver Don Beebe -- knocked unconscious in the team's 26-15 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday -- got some encouraging news from doctors.

Beebe, who got a concussion on the hit from two Lions defenders, underwent several tests by a Green Bay neurologist Tuesday and appeared to be in good health, Beebe said on his television show.

More tests were scheduled today, and the receiver said doctors have advised him not to play in this Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Doctors said Beebe had some swelling on his brain, and that had to go down before he could get the all-clear.

"Any injury you get has swelling, and I've had an injury to my brain, and it's going to be swollen a little," Beebe said on the show.

Coach Mike Holmgren said he wanted to review Beebe's medical status with team physicians before commenting.

Stevens reinstated

PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL reinstated Philadelphia safety Matt Stevens after he served a four-game suspension for violating the league's steroid-abuse policy.

Stevens, 24, was claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 26. The 6-foot, 206-pounder had 49 tackles and two interceptions as a rookie last season.

The Eagles must release a player from their 53-man roster before they can add Stevens.

Buoniconti's on box

NEW YORK -- A father and son, Nick and Marc Buoniconti, will have their picture on a Wheaties box.

General Mills, maker of Wheaties, announced it is supporting the Miami Project to Cure Paralyses, an organization founded by the Buonicontis after Marc was paralyzed during a football game in 1985.

Wheaties announced that boxes carrying the picture of the Buonicontis will appear on store shelves in the Southeast in mid-November.

Bills have 11,000 tickets

The Buffalo Bills reported there were 11,000 tickets left for Sunday's game against Detroit.

Around the league

The New York Giants signed running back Erric Pegram a week after he was released by San Diego. The Giants also signed center Bryan Stoltenberg and waived cornerback Kory Blackwell. The Giants needed another back after losing Rodney Hampton and Tiki Barber to injuries.

The New Orleans Saints traded wide receiver Daryl Hobbs to the Seattle Seahawks after he had his second argument in two months with offensive coordinator Danny Abramowicz. In return, the Saints will get an undisclosed 1998 draft choice from the Seahawks.

Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist joined the Oilers' growing list of critics when he told a newspaper that he thought the team bungled its move from Houston. Part of the problem is the name Oilers. "My choice has always been the Tennessee Stars," he said. Tennessee's state flags has three stars representing its three Grand Divisions: East, Middle and West. Oilers owner Bud Adams angered fans when he backed off a promise to let them vote on a new nickname.

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