Jim McMahon skipped practice yesterday, and Coach Mike Ditka said the Chicago Bears quarterback would be fined for his absence.

"He didn't come out today. He must have had a bad night," Ditka said after his team's final workout at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

McMahon was seen walking across the field shortly before practice in sweat clothes. Later, he was stopped by a television crew as he left the Bears' dorm. Asked about Ditka's comments, McMahon said he had been getting treatment along with other injured Bears players.

Ditka would not reveal the amount of the fine he plans to levy against McMahon. It could go as high as $500.


A salary dispute with first-round draft pick Alonzo Highsmith should be settled through arbitration, the running back's agent said.

Attorney Bob Fraley said he and Highsmith are willing to submit the pay dispute to either binding arbitration or mediation.


Kicker Tony Franklin's dispute ended yesterday when he reached an agreement that would protect the team if he is hurt and signed the four-year contract he accepted last week.

If healthy, Franklin will receive $340,000 this year. But if he's hurt in training camp and can't play this season as a result of what the club called his inadequate rehabilitation from knee surgery Feb. 9, he would receive more than half that amount, said his agent, Randy Hendricks.

If Franklin gets through training camp without a problem and makes one regular season kick, the $1.5 million contract he agreed to Saturday night will be honored under terms of yesterday's agreement.


Already missing nine starters because of injuries, the club will be missing strong safety Lester Lyles (St. Albans, U. of Virginia), whose right ankle was diagnosed as being chip-fractured, not sprained. as was originally thought.

Lyles will miss the rest of training camp and, most likely, the Jets' season opener Sept. 13 in Buffalo.