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Texans sweat out camp debut

David Carr took a snap from center and handed off to James Allen, officially beginning the first training camp of the expansion Texans on Monday.

The Texans walked slowly to the practice fields of their plush new training facility, ignoring the air-conditioned bubble behind them for the sweltering morning heat.

By the time practice ended two hours later, the first pick in the NFL draft and his teammates had an idea of what they face before their first preseason game Aug. 5 against the Giants in the Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio.

"I liked the effort, but I know how far we have to go," coach Dom Capers said. "If we had to play a game based on today, I wouldn't feel very good. But we'll look at the film, check our mistakes and come back."

Capers has scheduled all practices before the Sept. 8 regular-season opener outdoors despite the steaming summer heat because he wants his team accustomed to oven-like playing conditions.

The Texans will play their games in Reliant Stadium. It has a retractable roof, but Capers would like to use the elements to his team's benefit.

FRIENDLY BATTLE: Doug Flutie and Drew Brees play golf together. They eat together at training camp. Flutie was the first to learn that Brees planned to propose to his girlfriend.

As training camp opened for rookies and selected veterans, they started their battle to be the Chargers starting quarterback.

Flutie, who's 39 and heading into his 18th season of professional football, said there's no friction with Brees, 23, who has played just more than one half of one NFL game.

"We've talked about it," Flutie said. "No matter what happens we'll accept it and go forward. I really respect Drew. I love the way he works, and he is a hell of a quarterback."

ROOKIE MISSING: The only things missing from the first day of the 49ers training camp were the projected 100-degree temperatures and first-round draft pick Mike Rumph.

General manager Terry Donahue was in good spirits even without Rumph, one of two draft picks who haven't signed.

Unlike past seasons, when every top draft choice was expected to contribute immediately to a rebuilding club, these 49ers already are rebuilt.

"We've been looking forward to having increased expectations," coach Steve Mariucci said. "For two or three years, we were in such a rebuilding mode. We've gone through that, and now we have many pieces of the puzzle together."

CARRUTH APPEALS: Lawyers for former receiver Rae Carruth appealed his murder conspiracy conviction, saying a judge should not have allowed jurors to hear statements by Carruth's girlfriend Cherica Adams following her November 1999 shooting.

STADIUM FATALITY: The man killed when he plunged from a railing at the new Seahawks Stadium was identified. Investigators in the King County medical examiner's office said Michael Dow, 37, of Seattle died Saturday when he plunged 40 feet from onto a concrete plaza after climbing over a chest-high railing on a ramp during an open house at the stadium. Relatives told police he was mentally ill.

BROWNS: Second-round pick Andre Davis, a receiver from Virginia Tech, signed a four-year deal. Third-rounder Melvin Fowler, an offensive lineman from Maryland, signed a three-year deal.

CARDINALS: Second-round pick Levar Fisher, an outside linebacker from North Carolina State, agreed on a four-year contract.

COLTS: Third-round pick Joseph Jefferson, a defensive back from Western Kentucky, and sixth-rounder James Lewis, a defensive back from Miami, signed.

DOLPHINS: Defensive end Jay Williams signed a three-year extension through 2005.

JAGUARS: Free-agent receiver Darnay Scott, waived by the Bengals this month, agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract.

PANTHERS: North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, the second overall pick in the draft, agreed to terms.

PATRIOTS: First-round pick Daniel Graham, a tight end from Colorado, agreed to a five-year, $7-million deal, the Boston Globe reported. LSU quarterback Rohan Davey, a fourth-round pick, and Notre Dame receiver David Givens, a seventh-rounder, also agreed to terms.

TITANS: Second-round pick Tank Williams, a safety from Stanford, and third-rounder Rocky Calmus, a linebacker from Oklahoma, agreed to terms.

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