Saints Sign Sean DawkinsAP , Associated Press
May. 1, 1998 1:09 AM ET
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Disregarding advice from his agent and his mother to wait for a more lucrative deal, Indianapolis free agent wide receiver Sean Dawkins signed a one-year, $750,000 contract Thursday with the New Orleans Saints.
Dawkins' decision to join the Saints, who ranked last among NFL offenses in 1997, was influenced by a dominating factor: his desire to be ``the man.''
``That was the No. 1 reason,'' Dawkins said in a telephone interview from his mother's house in Sunnyvale, Calif., ``to come there and be a starter and possibly be the No. 1 guy. Definitely, I took that into account.''
Plus, Dawkins said, the Saints courted him strongly when he visited last week.
``My trip (to New Orleans) was really positive,'' said Dawkins, who spent five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. ``Mike Ditka was really positive. I had a good feeling when I got there. So it made for an easier decision.''
The acquisition of Dawkins means the Saints won't re-sign Randal Hill, a free agent who led New Orleans with 55 receptions for 761 yards last year.
``Randal is out the door,'' Saints general manager Bill Kuharich said. ``We won't pursue Randal.''
Dawkins' contract includes a $150,000 signing bonus, $400,000 base salary, $25,000 workout bonus and $175,000 roster bonus due Sept. 1, plus another $735,000 in incentives tied to his performance.
The contract also prohibits the Saints from designating the six-year veteran as a franchise or transition player when he becomes an unrestricted free agent again in 1999.
``I'm not too pleased we took it,'' said Angelo Wright, Dawkins' agent. ``I fought long and hard against it. His mother told him, `Don't take it.' ''
Wright said Dawkins just couldn't resist ``the fact that he'd be the No. 1 guy and have the opportunity to be `the man.' (Saints coaches) didn't have to tell him that. Look at what they have.''
Dawkins said he wrestled with his decision late into Wednesday night. He awoke Thursday convinced New Orleans offered the best fit for his talents, at which time he said his mother and Wright climbed on board in support.
``I felt in my heart it was the best thing for me,'' said Dawkins, who will report Sunday and begin participating in the offseason program Monday. ``When we collaborated, we all kind of felt that. We kind of agreed on that. I don't regret it. No picture is (entirely) pretty. This is the prettiest.''
Dawkins, 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, started the past four seasons for the Colts, but he was the No. 2 receiver behind Marvin Harrison the past two years. Dawkins set career highs with 68 receptions for 804 yards in 1997.
Dawkins had attracted interest from Baltimore, Oakland and Atlanta after rejecting a four-year, $10 million offer to re-sign with Indianapolis in February.