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Jaguars Sign Five Players, Waive Waerig and Young

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed linebacker Matt Finkes, guard Jason Gamble, wide receiver Damon Gibson, tight end Jerry Ross and guard Ethan Weidle. They also waived tight end John Waerig and guard Donnie Young.

Finkes, Gamble, Gibson and Ross recently completed the NFL Europe League season, while Weidle is a rookie free agent. Length and terms of the contracts are not disclosed.

Finkes, 6-3, 255, led the Scottish Claymores with 59 tackles in 2000 and added one interception. Originally drafted in the sixth round in 1997 by the Carolina Panthers, he was claimed off waivers at the end of the 1997 training camp by the New York Jets, for whom he played eight games, primarily on special teams. He was waived in training camp by the Jets in 1998 and in '99 by the Washington Redskins. Finkes, 24, started three straight seasons for Ohio State, finishing his career second all-time with 59 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Gamble, 6-3, 307, also played for the Scottish Claymores in 2000. He signed as a rookie free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 1999, however he was placed on injured reserve on September 5. Gamble, 24, was a two-year starter at center for Clemson.

Gibson, 5-9, 184, led the NFL Europe League in punt returns with 22 for 328 yards (14.9-yard average) for the Claymores. Signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent in 1998, he played in all 16 games, making 19 catches for 258 yards. He was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1999 Expansion Draft, however he was waived on September 28. Gibson, 25, led Iowa in 1997 with a 22.9 yard average per catch.

Ross, 6-4, 248, had 15 catches for 102 yards with the Amsterdam Admirals. He signed as a rookie free agent in 1998 with Buffalo, where he spent the season on the practice squad, and was waived in the Bills' 1999 training camp. Ross, 25, had nine touchdowns in his career at Pittsburg (Kan.) State.

Weidle, 6-6, 300, was a three-year starter at the University of Pittsburgh, playing every offensive line position other than center in his four seasons. As a senior in 1999, he started the opener at left guard but moved to left tackle where he started the remaining 10 games. Weidle, 23, was selected to play in the Blue-Gray Classic.

Waerig, who was released, was signed by the Jaguars as a rookie free agent on April 16. He was a four-year letterman who started two years at Maryland after transferring from Wisconsin.

Young, who was also released, was a first-year player who was signed by the Jaguars on March 22. He had spent the previous two years out of football after signing as a rookie free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 1997. Young was a three-year starter for Florida, where he was a member of the 1996 national championship team.

With the signings, the Jaguars now have 83 players under contract. Still to be signed are first-round draft choice R. Jay Soward, as well as defensive end Tony Brackens, who was designated as a franchise player.

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