Miami Dolphins rookie running back J.J. Johnson stared at his first NFL paycheck in disbelief.
"I've never seen that much money," Johnson said. "I said, You're going to hand that to me?"
The Dolphins' top draft pick received a $980,000 signing bonus Tuesday as part of a four-year, $2.65 million deal.
He was among six rookies signing contracts before reporting to training camp. The first practice for the newcomers is Wednesday, with the entire team taking the field for the first time Friday.
Fullback Rod Konrad also signed a four-year contract. Signing three-year deals were running back Cecil Collins, center Grey Ruegamer, punter Brent Bartholomew and guard Joe Wong.
All seven Miami draft choices are now under contract. They were aware that coach Jimmy Johnson has little patience for rookies who report late because of a negotiating stalemate.
"At this point in his career, he probably thinks it's kind of tedious to have to deal with," Konrad said. "He's worried about winning the Super Bowl, not about a couple of thousand dollars here or there."
"You don't want to make the boss angry, just like any other job. I think it was important to get here on time."
Johnson, for one, had no complaints about the deal he signed. His family spent time on welfare when he grew up in Alabama.
"The most money you ever talked about was $487 in a summer job, and that was when you let it double up for two weeks," he said.
Johnson, the 39th player taken in the draft, is expected to challenge incumbent Karim Abdul-Jabbar for a starting job.
Another candidate at running back, Collins, agreed to forgo the traditional lump-sum signing bonus. Instead he'll receive his $110,00 bonus in installments over the length of his three-year, $860,000 contract if he stays out of trouble.
Collins, a fifth-round draft pick, battled drug and legal problems that limited him to six games in college.
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