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Ferguson inks deal with Jets

NEW YORK (July 26, 2006) -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson will be right on time when Jets players report to training camp July 27.

The No. 4 overall pick signed his contract, the Jets said. Fellow first-round selection Nick Mangold was close to signing his deal, and was expected to join Ferguson at team headquarters on reporting day. The Jets start practice July 28 under new coach Eric Mangini.

Ferguson, an imposing left tackle, is penciled in to start on the offensive line along with Mangold, a center from Ohio State.

Terms of both deals were unavailable.

Ferguson's agent, Don Yee, declined comment. Mangold's agent, Brad Leshnock, also declined comment.

Second-round pick Kellen Clemens should also be in camp on time, though his contract status was unclear.

The Jets asked rookies to report last week for classroom and conditioning work, but Ferguson, Mangold and Clemens were absent because they were unsigned.

The team has signed seven of its 10 draft picks. General manager Mike Tannenbaum has an excellent record of getting every draft pick into camp since he started negotiating contracts in 1997. He has signed every first-round pick on time, except for a brief absence from James Farrior in 1997.

The 6-foot-6, 312-pound Ferguson was considered the best pass blocker available in April's draft after starring at Virginia. He was the only player in school history to start four bowl games at left tackle, including a win in the 2005 Music City Bowl.

Mangold, taken No. 29 overall, will replace Kevin Mawae.

Clemens is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job with Patrick Ramsey and Chad Pennington.

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