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Cowboys sign free agent tackle Glover

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IRVING, Texas (AP) _ When defensive tackle La'Roi Glover told the Dallas Cowboys he was interested in visiting them, team owner Jerry Jones said it would have to be on one condition. He had to be ready to make a deal.

Glover agreed and it took little more than 24 hours for him to go from walking into team headquarters to being the guest of honor at a news conference Tuesday announcing a $22 million, five-year deal that included a $6 million bonus. It's the most Dallas has spent on a player from outside the organization since signing Deion Sanders in 1995.

``I went to Cleveland and Arizona and I didn't feel the same feeling as when I walked through the doors here,'' Glover said. ``There's something about the tradition, the organization. I can go on and on about men who I've met who had nothing but positive, winning experiences in this organization.''

Glover, the NFL sack leader two years ago, was among the top players in free agency. He was available because the New Orleans Saints released him for salary cap reasons.

The Cowboys initially thought Glover would be too expensive. But when he didn't sign elsewhere right away, they called Thursday and set up the visit for Monday. It didn't take long for Jones to ask whether Glover wanted to stay.

``Let's make it happen,'' Glover told him.

Glover met with coaches and underwent a physical, then Jones and Glover's agent Tom Condon worked out the numbers while Glover ate dinner with several of his new teammates.

``I wanted it done as soon as possible because I wanted to get into an organization, meet the guys and start building that chemistry it takes to be successful,'' said Glover, who has spent offseasons working out with former Cowboys great Randy White and was teammates on the Raiders with Russell Maryland, another Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle for Dallas.

The Cowboys could afford Glover because they're a year removed from paying for their woes with the salary cap.

Jones had been saying he was going to avoid high-priced free agents for fear of getting in that bind again. He said he made an exception for Glover because the deal fits the team's salary structure, leaves them plenty of room to sign other free agents and by addressing this position now they have more flexibility in the draft. Dallas has the sixth overall pick.

Jones also said Glover is one of about seven players on a ``wish list'' he actively maintains.

``It was just too much of an opportunity for us to pass up,'' Jones said. ``He's got Michael Irvin's motor, an elite skill level, he's smart, a student of the game and he takes care of business. In our mind, he's the entire package.''

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Glover had 17 sacks in 2000, but dropped to eight last season when the Saints missed the playoffs. That still would have been enough to lead the Cowboys.

Glover, who turns 28 this summer, will play alongside end Greg Ellis and tackle Brandon Noble. He replaces Michael Myers, who is a free agent.

Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said Glover will plug in perfectly because the Dallas scheme is very similar to what New Orleans uses.

``We're going to make sure he does what he does best,'' Zimmer said. ``He'll stop the run on first and second downs, then we'll turn him loose on third downs.''
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