Indianapolis Colts Coach Ron Meyer said yesterday the team is planning to play the season without running back Eric Dickerson.

"We'd love to have him, but the fact is that with his hamstring injury there's a cloud of uncertainty and we have to go on," Meyer said. "That's the hand we're dealt, so we've got to go on and win games without him.

"I feel good about the four backs we have; really good. I don't think any of them are great backs, but I think they epitomize the work ethic. I think they epitomize unselfishness. They each block for one another, they're fairly good runners and fairly good receivers."

Dickerson, a six-time Pro Bowler, is seventh on the NFL's all-time rushing list. He reported to the Colts Aug. 6 after being fined $16,500 as the result of an 11-day absence.

However, he failed his physical and has been rehabilitating the injury at a Houston clinic. The Colts asked Dickerson to return Thursday for another physical, but they don't know if he will comply.

Bears: Rookie running back Johnny Bailey paid a fine of about $1,400 shortly after a prosecutor said he might go to jail.

The outstanding fine was the result of a 1986 drug conviction, Harris County (Tex.) Assistant District Attorney Bob Stabe said in Houston. Bailey paid the fine Tuesday.

On Monday, Stabe told Bailey's attorney, Robert Bennett, that if Bailey didn't appear in court by Friday, he would be arrested. Although Bailey has paid the fine, Stabe said he is still due in court on Aug. 31.

Bailey, college football's all-time leading rusher from Texas A&I, also has failed to report to a probation officer seven times in the past three years, Stabe said.

Also, the Bears gave Steve McMichael permission to talk to the Houston Oilers about a trade after negotiations with the holdout defensive lineman broke off.

Agent Larry Bales said McMichael, 32, would be willing to play for the Oilers for his current $500,000 salary. He had been asking $800,000 from Chicago, but the Bears were willing to pay him only $775,000. The club, however, withdrew its offer July 26 and insisted McMichael play for $500,000.

The Bears had offered to sweeten the deal with incentives but refused to drop the $42,000 in fines they assessed McMichael for missing practice since training camp opened July 26.

Packers: Bob Woolf, the agent for holdout quarterback Don Majkowski, said he has presented a reduced contract request to the team in an effort to "bridge our differences."

Woolf said the proposed multiyear contract would pay Majkowski, who was named to the Pro Bowl last season after guiding the Packers to a 10-6 record, about $2 million a year.

The new proposal is substantially lower than a five-year deal Majkowski's agents first proposed that would have paid the fourth-year quarterback about $2.8 million a year.

Chargers: General Manager Bobby Beathard gave top draft choice Junior Seau an ultimatum yesterday: Accept the team's sweetened contract within 24 hours or face progressive cuts in its value.

San Diego's previous offer called for an average annual salary of $850,000 over five years. Seau, the fifth player selected in the draft, was seeking an annual salary of $1,199,999, or $1 less than the yearly pay of Tampa Bay's Keith McCants, who was selected immediately ahead of Seau.

Phoenix Cardinals: Signed their last holdout, second-round draft choice RB Anthony Thompson, to a contract. Terms were not disclosed. The team also claimed DE Ralph Jarvis off waivers.

New York Giants: Signed CB Mark Collins and NT Erik Howard, two of four starting defenders who had held out. All-Pro LB Lawrence Taylor and DE Leonard Marshall still are not in camp. Both are in the final year of their contracts, and are seeking to renegotiate.

Los Angeles Rams: OT Jackie Slater ended his 28-day holdout and reported to camp. Still holding out are LB Kevin Greene, TE Damone Johnson, S Michael Stewart and DT Doug Reed.

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Tim McGee began working out with the team after ending a 26-day holdout. Terms of his contract were not disclosed.