Maryland running back Alvin (Preacher) Maddox and defensive guard Bruce Palmer have signed three-year contracts with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League.

Both were key players for the Terrapins but of questionable size for the National Football League.

Although Maddox was only a parttime starter behind taiback Steve Atkins, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder was considered a moderately good NFL prospect.

Maddox said last night "the opprotunity came, so I decided to take it.

"I had no guarantees that I would get drafted, and even if I had, I'd have been drafted real late. Nobody from the NFL had really talked to me. I'd talked to some agents, and they told me I'd get picked, but I didn't want to take the chance.

"I knew the position I was in. If I'd have veen a starter, I would have waited for the draft. But I wasn't, so I took what came first. I got a nice bonus, and I can make a lot of money if I make the team."

Palmer broke Randy White's quarterback-sack record last season, tallying 13, but at 6-1, 25o pounds his chances of making an NFL roster were slim.

"I'm almost 6-2 and I weigh 250 pounds, but a lot of NFL people tell me that I am too short," said Palmer.

"I talked with a lot of people, and I think I did the right thing."