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Arrington signs big deal with the Giants

LaVar Arrington signed with the New York Giants yesterday, giving him a chance to play twice a year against his former team and helping fill a huge gap at linebacker for the NFC East champions.

Arrington agreed to a $49 million, seven-year deal late Friday, according to Kevin Poston, one of his agents. Poston didn't say how much was guaranteed but Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi indicated that it includes performance bonuses.

Arrington, 27, had been seeking as much as $18 million guaranteed and a $58 million deal, one reason he stayed on the market while dozens of other players signed during the first few weeks of the free agent period.

''We needed a big, power player to add to our defense and LaVar Arrington is that," Accorsi said. ''He has a presence about him and he makes us a better football team.

''The agreement is a fair deal for the player and a fair deal for the organization."

Arrington, the third overall pick in the 2000 draft and a three-time Pro Bowl selection, bought his way out of Washington in March for $4.4 million after a tempestuous final two seasons in which he suffered from knee injuries and was benched by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for freelancing. He took a physical with the Giants Thursday to ensure his knees were healthy.

The addition of Arrington means the team could turn its attention to another position in the first round of the draft, perhaps cornerback or defensive tackle.

Faulk expected back
New Rams coach Scott Linehan expects Marshall Faulk to play this season. Faulk is missing this weekend's minicamp while recovering from surgery on both knees, and Linehan said Friday that Faulk probably won't be ready until June. But he said Faulk, who considered retiring after rushing for a career-low 292 yards last year, told him he'd definitely return as the backup running back behind Steven Jackson. ''He said he was more hungry now than he has been in a couple of years," Linehan said. ''He was adamant about his commitment to next year." Faulk has 12,279 career yards rushing, 34 behind Jim Brown for eighth place in NFL history . . . New York Jets running back Cedric Houston was injured in a one-car accident late Friday night. He was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries and released. The former Tennessee standout was a passenger in a car that went up an embankment and hit a tree stump . . . A misdemeanor charge of domestic battery against Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Lional Dalton was dismissed in Olathe, Kan. Dalton was scheduled to go on trial Friday, but the case was dismissed because the alleged victim, Dalton's wife, Kimberly, failed to appear for the trial. It was the second time she had not shown up, said assistant district attorney Jacqie Spradling. Dalton was accused of grabbing his wife's hair and pulling her down early Nov. 25.

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