Ex-Maryland quarterback Neil O'Donnell ended his holdout by agreeing to terms on a three-year contract worth about $270,000 a season yesterday, a day after Steelers Coach Chuck Noll said it was "almost impossible" for him to make the team.

O'Donnell said Noll's comments didn't influence him. "I love a challenge," he said. "I'm ready to go."

"He's got a lot of catching up to do," said assistant Joe Walton, the former Jets coach.

Noll had said O'Donnell missed too much camp to contribute this season and shouldn't even bother signing.

49ers: Joe Montana could become the highest-paid player in NFL history today. Slated to earn $2.5 million this year, he has said he wants a new contract before the season.

Montana, 34, reportedly has agreed to a four-year, $13 million deal. It would pay him $4 million this season, $3.5 in 1991, $3 million in 1992 and $2.5 million in 1993.

Eagles: Kevin Allen, a former Eagles tackle who served 33 months in prison for a sexual assault conviction, has lost a bid to be reinstated by the NFL, which said he may reapply in March 1991.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said he wants Allen to obey his parole rules, get therapy for coping with life outside prison and submit to random NFL drug tests. Allen tested positive for cocaine when he reported to the Eagles camp in 1986 and later was released.

Allen, 27, was released from prison in March. He is a Cincinnati native and the Bengals said they would have signed him. . . .

Wide receiver Marvin Hargrove has walked into camp and into a starting job, at least for now.

He approached Coach Buddy Ryan last month about getting a tryout. Now, the free agent from Richmond will start in Saturday's preseason opener against the Jets. He has temporarily replaced five-time Pro Bowler Mike Quick, who is recovering from surgery on both knees.

That the Eagles chose three wide recievers early in the draft -- including Calvin Williams, who signed a two-year deal yesterday -- didn't stop Hargrove.

"I just walked right up to Buddy and asked for a tryout," he said. "I had nothing to lose. I was going to the Giants to try out next week anyway."

Falcons: Defensive lineman Tony Casillas, amid a contract dispute, says he is willing to sit out the season. He has said he wants out of Atlanta so he could play with a Super Bowl contender.

But he likes what he sees in new coach Jerry Glanville, who has brought "pride and tenacity" to training camp, Casillas said.

"I need to be there," he said. "It's something I want to be associated with. But financially, I don't have to play this year. I'm willing to wait as long as it takes to be paid what I think I'm worth."

Colts: Eric Dickerson could be out a month with his hamstring injury, trainer Tom Williams said, and thereby miss the preseason and put his status for the Sept. 9 opener in doubt.

Dolphins: Wide receiver Scott Schwedes ended his holdout. Running back George Swarn (ankle injury) was placed on injured reserve.

Oilers: Safety Terry Kinard, signed via Plan B from the Giants, will miss the preseason opener vs. Detroit because of a broken hand.

Colts: Ex-Maryland linebacker O'Brien Alston agreed to a contract.