Eric Dickerson moved closer to returning to the Colts yesterday and Chris Chandler was back at square one with Indianapolis.

Holdout running back Dickerson apologized to teammates for offseason criticism and changed agents, and disgruntled quarterback Chandler's trade to Tampa Bay fell through.

Colts spokesman Craig Kelley said Chandler refused to report to the Buccaneers after negotiations over money went nowhere.

Dickerson hired Leigh Steinberg, who is on friendly terms with Colts General Manager Jim Irsay.

Dickerson said he is willing to return to what he once called "a terrible football team." He told the Indianapolis News: "I want things resolved. I want to play football.

Dickerson said that when he left the team in December, vowing never to return, he didn't want to play football anymore.

"Now I'm definitely ready. I've had a good offseason. I'm refreshed and I'm in great shape. I'm ready to go."

Meanwhile, the Colts said quarterback Jeff George pulled a groin muscle. It does not appear serious.

Broncos: An agent for Clarence Kay says the tight end's troubles may be wearing down the tolerance of team management.

"I don't know if this is the last straw or not," Bruce Brown said. "I haven't spoken to {Coach} Dan Reeves. I don't think Clarence thinks his future is in jeopardy as an NFL player, but as a Denver Bronco, that's crossed our minds."

Kay is a two-time offender of the NFL drug policy. His latest attention-getting incident happened Monday, when he was charged with trespassing, destruction of private property and disturbing the peace after visiting a female acquaintance.

Bears: Kicker Kevin Butler and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dan Pompeii got into a shoving match in the cafeteria.

Witnesses said the two had exchanged heated words at lunch, apparently over something the reporter wrote. Each tossed juice on the other, then they pushed each other, but another player moved in before blows were thrown, the observers said.

Steelers: Running back Tim Worley will undergo surgery today on partially torn cartilage in his left knee. Worley, who last year as a rookie led the Steelers with 770 yards rushing, was hurt in a srimmage with the Redskins last week and is expected to miss three weeks.

Rams:

Former linebacker Carl Ekern was killed in a one-car accident in the Mojave Desert, the California Highway Patrol reported. A passerby found Ekern's vehicle overturned alongside U.S. 395 before dawn, CHP Officer Chris Geiger said.

Ekern, 36, had been thrown from the car and apparently died of head injuries, Geiger added. The accident occurred about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Ekern played with the Rams for 13 years starting in 1976.