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Raiders Sign Fredrickson, Cut Townsend : Pro football: Veteran defensive end is released to make room under salary cap for top draft pick.

July 20, 1994|From Associated Press

OXNARD — The Raiders signed first-round draft choice Rob Fredrickson on Tuesday and the linebacker went right to the practice field.

To make room for Fredrickson under the NFL salary cap, the Raiders released defensive end Greg Townsend, an 11-year veteran.

Fredrickson, the 22nd pick in the draft, was the last of the Raiders' six draft picks to come to terms.

Terms were not disclosed, but Fredrickson said he signed for five years.

Fredrickson played outside linebacker at Michigan State, but will work at middle linebacker with the Raiders.

"I've been chomping at the bit waiting to get here," said Fredrickson, who sat out eight days of training camp while his contract was settled. "It's great to finally make it in. I'm glad things did not drag out any longer."

Fredrickson spent the last week at the Redondo Beach home of his agent, Bruce Allen, while the contract was negotiated.

"It was frustrating because all football players want to do is play football," he said. "I didn't want to get too involved in the negotiations, other than to stay involved with where we were at."

Raider Coach Art Shell said he expected Fredrickson to immediately work toward having an impact.

"When you take a guy in the first round, you hope that some time in his first year, he can make a contribution," Shell said.

As for moving to middle linebacker, Frederickson shouldn't have a problem, Shell said.

"He's very intelligent and he's a good athlete and he started working at that position in the mini-camps (in May)," Shell said. "We know he can run and he can cover backs and tight ends."

Fredrickson will line up behind second-year man Greg Biekert, who inherited the starting middle linebacker spot when Joe Kelly left as a free agent and signed with the Rams.

The release of Townsend, 33, came as no surprise since the Raiders asked him not to report to training camp with the other veterans last Friday. The team attempted to trade Townsend and his $1.5-million salary before deciding they needed to release him to get Fredrickson into camp.

"It was time for Greg to move on and time for us to move on," Shell said. "Greg had a great career here and he was one of the best pass rushers I've ever seen."

The signing of Fredrickson and the release of Townsend means the Raiders have all of their players under contract and in training camp.

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