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EX-PAT VIDEO MAN WANTS DEAL FOR TALE

Commissioner Roger Goodell hopes the NFL is close to an agreement that will allow former Patriots employee Matt Walsh to tell the league about the tapes he is said to have made of the Rams' walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI.

"The lawyers are still talking, and we're anxious to speak to him. We're anxious to get an agreement to get him to come forth," Goodell said.

Walsh, now a golf pro in Maui, did video work for the Patriots when they won the Super Bowl after the 2001 season. Three weeks ago, the Boston Herald reported that Walsh claimed he had taped the practice before the Patriots' 20-17 upset of the Rams.

NFL lawyers have been meeting with Michael Levy, Walsh's Washington-based lawyer, who is seeking further protection for his client if he tells what he knows.

Goodell has said that Walsh was not interviewed as part of the NFL's investigation into "Spygate."

Coughlin near deal: Coach Tom Coughlin, 61, is close to receiving a contract extension from the Giants, according to several media reports. Coughlin, 61, will receive a bump to about $5-million a year for four years. He had signed a four-year, $12-million deal when he was hired in 2004.

Franchise Tags: The following players were designated with the franchise tag by their teams: Packers defensive tackle Corey Williams, Panthers tackle Jordan Gross, Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

The move amounts to a one-year contract worth the average of the league's top five players at that position in 2007. Other teams may present offers. The current team can either match or it receives two first-round picks from the team that signs the player. Teams have until today to place the tag on unrestricted free agents, after which they can negotiate long-term deals until July 15.

Released: Safety Dwight Smith, who had two interceptions for the Bucs in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, was released by the Vikings. Smith, 29, had four interceptions in each of his two seasons in Minnesota. Others cut: Packers tight end Bubba Franks; Texans centers Mike Flanagan and Drew Hodgdon, linebacker Shawn Barber and tight end Jeb Putzier.

Colts: Tight end Dallas Clark signed a six-year deal, one day after getting the franchise tag. Terms were not disclosed, but as a franchise player, he would have been guaranteed $4.55-million.

HGH talk: The use of human growth hormone is more of a problem in baseball than in football, says Troy Vincent, president of the players association. "We feel it's not something that's common in our space," the former defensive back said. Vincent said baseball's minor leaguers or players in their 40s trying to stay in the majors are more likely to try to gain an edge. "I'm dealing with 20-year-olds popping with God-given ability," he said.

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