Linehan staying in touch with holdout Jackson

MEQUON, Wis. -- Holdout running back Steven Jackson missed his seventh day and 10th practice of St. Louis Rams training camp Thursday, with no apparent movement in the impasse.

Jackson, entering the final season of a four-year contract he signed after the Rams drafted him in the first round in 2004, is seeking a multiyear deal. The Rams are fining Jackson, who has three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, $15,000 a day and have told his agent, Eugene Parker, that there will be no more negotiations until Jackson reports to camp.

Parker has not responded to a telephone message from the AP.

Coach Scott Linehan was late to the field for practice Thursday, prompting curiosity, but said that was because he was meeting with some players. He and Jackson have been text-messaging back and forth, and Linehan said he spoke to the running back on the telephone "the other night."

"I called him, talked to him briefly, to see how he was doing," Linehan said. "It has nothing to do with anything other than letting him know that everything's going to be OK."

Linehan, who briefly halted the second practice on Wednesday to harangue players for not pushing through fatigue, said the effort throughout was much better during Thursday's single workout. While going 3-13 last year, the Rams were outscored 258-96 in the second half and 147-40 in the fourth quarter.

"There's a time where you've got to look and say we could be just starting the fourth quarter of a game and we may not feel as good about ourselves, where you've got to push guys through it," the coach said. "We didn't do it very well last year.

"It's no secret the fourth quarter was what it was."

Linehan knows when to let up, too, canceling meetings Wednesday night that gave players a mental break. Overall, he's happy after the first week.

"We've improved in a lot of ways," he said. "I wanted to be better than we were when we got here, and we are."

Wide receiver Drew Bennett (knee swelling) and cornerback Tye Hill (quad) both returned after missing one day.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

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