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Cowboys' Williams Might Retire

Pro Bowl right tackle Erik Williams, who missed the first day of practice at the Dallas Cowboys' training camp, is considering retirement, The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday.

Michael Irvin, who retired earlier this month, said he had urged Williams to attend training camp and take a leadership role, a source told the newspaper.

But two sources indicated Williams has said he would like to be traded, but Dallas is not considering that option because all of his prorated bonus would count against this season's salary cap.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Williams has been weighing possible retirement among several other issues. Jones said he and Stephen Jones, team vice president, had several discussions with Williams' agent, Alan Herman, on Tuesday.

But if Williams decides to retire, he could be obligated to return a prorated portion of the signing bonus he received two years ago when his contract was restructured.

"We're disappointed he's not here," Jerry Jones said. "We'll treat this as we would an injury situation, which means we'll make the personnel adjustments and go on.

"I had a good visit with him last week and was aware of some issues and concerns he had," Jones said. "He's not here, and he's not on his way. We don't want to do anything with the roster spot situation right now."

Jones said he would not fine Williams. The Cowboys could fine the player $5,000 for each day he's not in camp, a spokesman for the NFL Players Association said.

Alan Herman, Williams' agent, was vacationing in Europe and did not return a message left Wednesday at his New York office by The Associated Press.

The player is due $1.85 million this season and next under a six-year deal he signed after the 1995 season. Cincinnati, by comparison, recently signed right tackle Willie Anderson to a six-year deal that averages $5.1 million, slightly more than the $5.08 million per year deal Philadelphia gave tackle Jon Runyan.

Williams is coming off his third Pro Bowl selection in four years and the fourth of his nine-year career.

Dallas will replace him with second-year lineman Solomon Page, who started one game in Williams' place last season and allowed no sacks in 21 pass plays. He started six games in all as a rookie and played in 14, working at both tackle and guard.

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