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Taylor-made contract brings 49ers star back

The San Francisco 49ers on Thursday signed wide receiver John Taylor to a two-year contract based heavily on incentives.

The 49ers released Taylor the day before, opening room under the salary cap for first-round draft pick J. J. Stokes and restricted free agent Dana Stubblefield.

Under Taylor's new contract, he will have a base salary of $300,000 for the 1995 season and could make $1.7-million if he performs as well as he did last season (41 catches, 531 yards, 5 touchdowns). His base salary for 1996 is $1.3-million.

"Today's signing not only guarantees his services this year, but helps guarantee he will retire as a 49er," team president Carmen Policy said.

Storm: The Storm added former West Virginia University receiver Grantis Bell, who is entering his third Arena League season, to its active roster.

Bell played Arenaball last season for Massachusetts and in 1993 for Detroit, coached then by current Tampa Bay coach Tim Marcum. He was with Orlando of the World League in '92 and was on the NFL practice squads of Washington and the New York Jets from 1989 through '91.

Tampa Bay activated defensive back Tracy Sanders (shoulder) from injured reserve and put receiver/linebacker Bobby Byrd (ankle) on injured reserve.

What's in a name? A research assistant for the NFL Players Association pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $51,000 through a bank account listed under the union's acronym. John Walker Jr., 31, processed application fees from sports agents applying for accreditation. Many agents paid by checks made out to the NFLPA; Walker deposited 99 of those checks into an account representing the Negro Family Legion Protection Alliance.

Browns: In a step aimed at keeping the team from leaving Cleveland, the City Council approved a $154-million tax package to help finance the renovation of Depression-era Cleveland Stadium.

The tax package, which has the support of Mayor Michael White, was approved by a 16-4 vote. White said the vote would prove to team owner Art Modell and the NFL that "we intend to keep Cleveland's team in Cleveland."

Steelers: Pittsburgh, nearing the end of an off-season of roster upheaval, reached a three-year, $1.26-million agreement with veteran kicker Dean Biasucci.

_ Times staff writer Tim Buckley contributed to this report.