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Colts give TE Clark long-term deal

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tight end Dallas Clark, one of Peyton Manning's favorite receivers, signed a six-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, one day after the team placed the franchise tag on him.

Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is believed to have made Clark one of the league's highest-paid tight ends. It puts him in the Colts' expanding club of highly paid players, a list that already includes Manning, Pro Bowl receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, defensive end Dwight Freeney and safety Bob Sanders.

As the franchise player, he would have been guaranteed $4.55 million, the average of the top five tight end salaries in the NFL.

It also resolves the Colts' biggest question mark heading into free agency. On Wednesday, Indianapolis signed guard Ryan Lilja to a five-year deal worth about $19 million, team owner Jim Irsay said. That leaves starting guard Jake Scott and defensive end Josh Thomas as the biggest names who are still unsigned.

Clark, the team's first-round pick in the 2003 draft, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Clark caught a career-high 58 passes for 618 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. The receptions were second on the team to Reggie Wayne's 104.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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