TAMPA, Fla. — Alabama All-American linebacker Keith McCants signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today that included a $2.5-million cash signing bonus, a newspaper reported.
McCants and the Buccaneers agreed to a five-year, $7.4-million deal, The Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register reported. The paper attributed its information to an unidentified source close to negotiations.
Tampa Bay officials would not immediately confirm the report.
McCants, a Mobile native who was taken fourth in last April's NFL draft, received a more lucrative contract than the second, third, fourth and fifth players drafted in 1989. That group includes Tony Mandarich and Barry Sanders.
McCants was elated over the contract, negotiated for him by his agent, Lance Luchnick.
"Everybody was saying I was going to hold out but I never thought about doing that. I want to play in the NFL," he said.
McCants has been a subject of controversy in the months following his decision to leave Alabama a year early. After he hired Luchnick, the Alabama attorney general investigated a published report that the agent had given money to a relative of McCants. A Mobile County grand jury found no evidence of that, but did indict Luchnick for failing to register with the state.