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Volume 24 No. 116
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     Two days before the Saints and 49ers meet, "guys are talking
trash -- only this time it's not just the players."  In one of
the "more unusual pregame exchanges," Saints owner Tom Benson and
49ers President Carmen Policy "traded long-distance fire" over
the signing of Deion Sanders.  Benson accused the 49ers of acting
improperly in signing Sanders: "This is a farce.  The New Orleans
Saints live by the book, and everyone else should live by the
book, including the San Francisco 49ers.  What kind of Mickey
Mouse organization are they running out there?"  Policy suggested
that Benson might want to "brush up on his facts, especially
since the league approved Sanders' contract this week": "Keeping
in mind that we are under surveillance 24 hours a day, and the
authorities in New York have us watched, are following us and
probably [are] tapping our phones.  If you're going to commit a
crime, these are not the most ideal circumstances under which to
plot."  At issue was the revelation that Sanders' contract
includes a $5M option that the club can exercise at its
discretion.  To do so, the 49ers would have to pay Sanders $3M by
February 28 -- "improbable, if not impossible, under the
constraints" of the salary cap (Clark Judge, SAN JOSE MERCURY
NEWS, 9/23).