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Storm begins arduous task of paring roster

Storm coach/general manager Tim Marcum will have plenty of difficult decisions to make in the next 36 hours as the team attempts to get below the league's compensation cap of $1.8-million, a figure that includes both player salaries and benefits such as health insurance and 401k.

The first two cuts, defensive back Clarence LeBlanc and defensive lineman Rod Wright, were announced Wednesday. Final personnel decisions will be made after a scrimmage Friday morning. A roster should be in place by Friday night. The deadline to file an official roster with the league is Saturday.

Marcum said he expects to carry up to 20 players, though teams can carry 24. He estimates the team is about $90,000 over the league salary cap.

BUCS ADD COACH: Tampa Bay hired former North Dakota State assistant Todd Wash as defensive quality control coach. Wash coached the Bison's defensive line for four seasons.

NICHOLSON CHARGE: Bengals linebacker A.J. Nicholson, a former Florida State standout, pleaded no contest to grand theft, burglary of a dwelling and criminal mischief in the theft of more than $1,700 worth of electronic equipment from the Tallahassee apartment of former teammate Lorenzo Booker in May. Nicholson, 23, who just finished his rookie season with Cincinnati, is scheduled to be sentenced March 5. He faces 22 months to 15 years in prison.

MORE BENGALS: Linebacker Odell Thurman pleaded no contest to driving drunk and said he was being treated for alcohol abuse.

COLTS: Quarterback Peyton Manning agreed to restructure his contract to save the team nearly $8-million in cap space.

DOLPHINS: Defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday signed a $20-million, four-year contract.

RAVENS: The team confirmed it has given coach Brian Billick a four-year contract through 2010, believed to be worth about $5-million per season.

Times staff writers David Murphy and Brian Landman contributed to this report.