SIGNINGS: Running back Mario Bates, who played the last four seasons with the New Orleans Saints, agreed Friday to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Terms of the deal were not announced.
- Clyde Simmons, who ranks 11th in career sacks and has made the biggest defensive plays in Jacksonville's short history, was released Friday by the Jaguars. The move comes a month after the Jaguars signed pass-rush specialist Bryce Paup, a free agent from Buffalo.- Eddie Robinson, 34, who spent the past two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, signed a two-year, $3.55 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons Friday.
- San Francisco 49ers free agent fullback William Floyd signed a four-year contract with the Carolina Panthers on Friday worth $6.2 million, said Mike Sullivan, Floyd's agent. The deal also includes a signing bonus of $1.6 million, Sullivan said.
- Andre Hastings, an unrestricted free-agent wide receiver, reached agreement Friday on a three-year, no-option contract with the New Orleans Saints, team officials said.
- The Seattle Seahawks needed an offensive lineman. So owner Paul Allen opened his wallet again on Friday and shelled out a $2.5 million signing bonus to land 10-year veteran Brian Habib.
- In their most fruitful day in several months, the San Diego Chargers welcomed back Natrone Means on Friday and then a few hours later signed another guy to block for him, Aaron Taylor.
Taylor, a left guard who spent the last four years with the Green Bay Packers, signed a four-year deal believed to be worth $11 million.
PATS MULL MEGGETT'S CASE: New England coach Pete Carroll has broken his silence on the arrest of running back Dave Meggett, saying one incident should not necessarily cause a team to sever ties with a player.
"They can still be part of your club," Carroll said Thursday. "But if you see a pattern developing, at some point you have to decide if that pattern is taking you down the wrong road."
Meggett was arrested Feb. 27 after a Toronto call girl told police that he punched her and took his money back when she told him to stop having sex with her when his condom broke.
The NFL's career punt return leader was charged with sexual assault and robbery and released on $5,250 bond.
BUFFS NOW 0-11: The NCAA has ruled that Colorado must forfeit all five 1997 football victories because an ineligible player participated, the Rocky Mountain News reported today.
The NCAA sanction was not as harsh as it could have been because Colorado reported the ineligible player, fullback-linebacker Darren Fisk, and said his use was unintentional.
The newspaper attributed the report to a source it did not identify.
As a result of the decision, Colorado's 1997 record dropped from 5-6 to 0-11.