The St. Louis Rams and holdout running back Marshall Faulk agreed to a seven-year deal worth about $45 million. Faulk, flanked by agent Rocky Arceneaux, signed the contract at a news conference.

"This is by far the biggest contract in Rams history, and we really expect Marshall to make a significant contribution," team president John Shaw said.

Faulk, who has rushed for 5,320 yards in five NFL seasons, will be paid $19 million the first four seasons. He'll get $9.6 million this year, with a $7 million signing bonus and $2.6 million base salary.

He said he was looking forward to earning his pay and planned to attend training camp practice today in Macomb, Ill.

"I want to be there with them, I want to sweat with them," Faulk said. "That's part of it."

NFL: Before awarding the 32nd NFL franchise to Los Angeles, the league's owners have insisted on a stadium deal with more public financing, which the state and city have adamantly refused to do. The impasse prompted the state's negotiator to quit and sent competing ownership groups and local officials scrambling yesterday to plot their next move.

DOLPHINS: Veteran linebacker Dixon Edwards left the team and may sit out the season because of an irregular heartbeat. Edwards signed with Miami as a free agent in June.

VIKINGS: Dimitrius Underwood might have cost himself a job with Minnesota by failing to return to training camp yesterday as promised. Underwood, a first-round draft pick, went AWOL after his first pro practice on Monday but apologetically called his agent 24 hours later saying he'd needed to tend to a family crisis and was on his way back to camp. Underwood signed a five-year, $5.3 million contract on Sunday.

RAVENS: Owner Art Modell said he won't attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies this weekend, but will watch the induction of former tight end Ozzie Newsome on television. Modell would like to be in Canton, Ohio, for the event, he told the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in Ohio. Newsome played for the Cleveland Browns and is now the Ravens' director of football operations. Many fans in Cleveland remain upset that Modell moved his team from their city to Baltimore after the 1995 season. Cleveland has won an expansion team that will be named the Browns. Modell said the controversy is in the past. The Ravens will be represented by five or six people, he said.

STEELERS: One day after Dermontti Dawson was hampered by a bulky cast amid predictions that he wouldn't practice for weeks, Pittsburgh's top offensive lineman strapped on a knee brace and snapped during blocking drills.

TITANS: Defensive end Pratt Lyons injured his neck in a car accident and likely will miss the season. The single-car accident happened Tuesday night, and the team said there is no paralysis.

COWBOYS: Raghib "Rocket" Ismail's debut with Dallas is on hold because the wide receiver slightly separated his left shoulder.

RAIDERS: Andre Ware, the 1989 Heisman Trophy winner, has retired from the NFL, the team said. Meanwhile, Oakland signed fullback Ray Zellars and running back Tyrone Wheatley, who was cut by Miami on Tuesday.

BRONCOS: Tight end Shannon Sharpe, a vocal critic of the NFL's decision to take the American Bowl to Australia, suffered an ankle strain yesterday and is in doubt for the exhibition game against San Diego on Sunday.