Donovan McNabb spent his first day as the highest-paid player in Philadelphia Eagles history in much the same fashion as the previous week or so.

No helmet. No pads. No football.

More waiting.

McNabb's seven-year, $54 million contract was so long and complicated that by the time the NFL let him sign it, it was too late to join his new team on the field at Lehigh University in Bethelem, Pa.

McNabb finally put his signature on the 32-page contract yesterday afternoon, but not until his teammates had finished two grueling workouts in near 100-degree heat.

After missing the first several days of workouts because of a contract squabble, McNabb then looked on helplessly as his agent lit a firecracker of controversy under the talks with an assertion that race was playing a role.

McNabb sat in a plane at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta for three hours, then arrived at Veterans Stadium after midnight.

McNabb was excused from the morning workout, staying at his Cherry Hill, N.J., home until mid-morning while several teammates left practice with heat exhaustion.

Of course, there was little time for McNabb to have a physical, and there were plenty of details to work out with the NFL. Joe Banner, the Eagles' executive vice president, said NFL lawyers required some contract language be reworded.

"Donovan is not allowed to sign the contract until it's all okay, and he is not allowed to practice until he signs the contract," Banner said.

* GIANTS: Wide receiver Amani Toomer signed a new four-year, $11.2 million contract. He received a $3.5 million signing bonus under terms of the deal signed late Friday. He will earn $350,000 in salary this season, $1.2 million in 2000, with the other $6.1 million divided over the last two seasons.

* BILLS: After threatening to retire, wide receiver Andre Reed agreed to a one-year extension through the 2001 season that will add about $1 million in total salary to the $1.3 million his contract was due to pay him in 1999.

* STEELERS: Center Dermontti Dawson was injured during a pileup in an afternoon practice session.

Dawson was taken off the field at St. Vincent College in the back of a pickup truck. The preliminary diagnosis was a medial collateral ligament sprain in his right knee.

* JAGUARS: Jacksonville signed free agent linebacker Lonnie Marts to take the place of injured Bryce Paup. Marts, a nine-year veteran, started 15 games with the Oilers last season. Paup (torn pectoral muscle) is expected to miss at least the first preseason game.

* JETS: Tight end Johnny Mitchell's comeback lasted one day. The team's first-round draft pick in 1992, who was out of football for the last two seasons, turned in his equipment yesterday morning and left without speaking to anyone.

Later, veteran offensive lineman Erik Norgard, expected to back up Kevin Mawae at center, also left camp for undisclosed reasons.

* CHARGERS: Free safety Darren Perry retired, the day before the team flew to Australia for its exhibition opener. Coach Mike Riley said the seven-year veteran knocked on his door at 7:30 a.m. and told him he was retiring because of an ailment in his right shoulder.

* BRONCOS: Punter Jeff Baker and quarterback Chuck Clements were waived.