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pakowitz 04-30-2003 10:08 PM

Horn's agent wants deal

Receiver shows displeasure by skipping team workouts

Wednesday April 30, 2003

By Jeff Duncan
Staff writer

If Ralph Vitolo has his way, Joe Horn will attend the Saints' minicamp this weekend -- with a new contract in hand.

Vitolo, Horn's agent, hopes to finalize a multiyear contract for the Pro Bowl wide receiver this week. He said he plans to submit a pair of proposals to Saints general manager Mickey Loomis today -- one for a three-year deal and one for a two-year deal. Either contract would replace Horn's current deal that has two years remaining.

Vitolo met with Loomis on April 16 in New Orleans. They agreed to the rough parameters of a three-year deal that averaged between $4.5 million and $5 million per season and includes a signing bonus in the $6 million to $7 million range.

"We're not that far apart," Vitolo said. "Some parts were agreeable to us, and some weren't. Hopefully something can get done this week."

In a display of his unhappiness with the contract negotiation, Horn has not participated in the Saints' offseason conditioning program. He also has threatened to skip the team's first minicamp, which begins Friday.

Horn, the Saints' leading receiver the past three seasons, is the only player under contract expected to miss the five practice sessions, Saints coach Jim Haslett said Monday.

Vitolo said he would be willing to make another trip to New Orleans if necessary.

"Joe wants to be there," Vitolo said. "Our hope is that we can get this thing done soon, because we've been talking about it for a long time."

GREEN UPDATE: Free agent safety Victor Green remains interested in signing a contract with the Saints, said his agent, Nate Lampley.

Green visited the Saints on April 11. He has also received interest from Dallas and Oakland, Lampley said.

"We agreed to hold off on negotiations until after the draft," Lampley said. "Victor had a very good visit to New Orleans and was very impressed with the Saints."

Green, 33, started six games for the New England Patriots last season. The 10-year veteran has 25 interceptions in his career.

The Patriots have a right of first refusal clause in Green's contract, meaning they have seven days to match any offer Green receives.

"My sense is that won't be a problem," Lampley said.

ROOKIE FREE AGENTS: The Saints have agreed to terms with four rookie free agents: Montana tight end/fullback Spencer Frederick; North Carolina tight end Zach Hilton; Colorado punter Mark Mariscal; and Colorado linebacker Kory Mossoni. All four players are expected to participate in this weekend's minicamp.

Frederick caught 31 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in 2001 before suffering a knee injury. He was out of football last season while rehabilitating the injury.

Hilton caught 19 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown in 12 starts last season. Hilton was rated as a mid-round draft pick by several draft analysts.

Mariscal was the 2002 Ray Guy Award winner, honoring the nation's top punter. He led the nation in punting with a 48.2-yard average.

Mossoni is a versatile player who played inside linebacker and outside linebacker last season.

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