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BJ Raji agrees in principle


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Deal reached on Raji's contract

By Greg A. Bedard of the Journal Sentinel

Aug. 13, 2009 6:43 p.m.


Green Bay – The nearly two-week long contract dispute between the Green Bay Packers and top draft pick B.J. Raji is almost over.


The two sides reached agreement in principle on a contract for the ninth overall pick out of Boston College this evening. The contract, which is being reviewed, at this moment, is expected to be signed on Friday when Raji arrives back in Green Bay.


Terms of the contract were not immediately known, but it was likely a five-year contract.


Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers, who was also represented by Raji’s agency, Athletes First, got a five-year deal worth $15.4 million guaranteed last year as the ninth pick.


The agreement comes just two days after Raji left Green Bay, where he had been training at a local high school, for Boston as contract talks between the two sides broke down.


Raji and the Packers had been at odds over the deal for 13 days. It was the longest contract dispute for a Packers draft pick since offensive tackle Ross Verba missed 22 days of training camp in 1997. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was out four days in ’05.


Raji was the odds-on favorite to start at left defensive end before missing the start of training camp. He was listed as the back up to nose tackle Ryan Pickett on the depth chart released this week.


Look for more on this developing story later on JSOnline.com and in Friday's editions of the Journal Sentinel.

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Did he lose too much time though?



He was around the team and saw what was being done and wasn't going to be a starter right away anyway. I think he'll be OK if they put him in slowly.



“Need to see him work out,” McCarthy said when asked about his plan for Raji. “Need to see what kind of shape he’s in. Obviously, it’ll be an adjusted plan. Any time you bring a player in this late, you have to be real smart, because he’s at a whole different level as far as his conditioning, football shape and his teammates. So, that’s something we’ll have to evaluate once we get more information based on what kind of shape he’s in.”


Depending on Raji’s conditioning, he could begin at least some contact drills Monday, though he’ll have to pass the team’s pre-training camp conditioning test. If he does, he’ll have up to 11 practices and three preseason games over the next three weeks to get ready for the regular season, though it’s not a given he’d play in the preseason game next week against Buffalo even if he practices Monday.


“I don’t think it’s that easy,” McCarthy said. “(He’s missed) a lot of snaps. In-line players have the opportunity to get in football shape. We’ve obviously been in a lot of padded practices, and that’s something we can’t make up. So, we’ve got to make sure we’re putting him in position where he can achieve that training that’s needed to play in a competitive environment like a live game.”

Edited by Randall
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