"I spoke with Mike earlier today," Mariucci said Sunday evening after the first team meeting of summer camp. "He wants to be here desperately. We're trying to hammer that one out. I'm confident Mike will be in here very soon."
Rumph and fifth-round pick Josh Shaw - who also remains unsigned - were the only players on the team's training camp roster who were not present at Sunday's 5 p.m. meeting. The team's other eight draft picks - several of whom had agreed to terms earlier in the week - all signed their contracts on Sunday, except for seventh-round pick Eric Heitmann, who had signed on Thursday.
Rumph likely will sign sooner rather than later for several reasons. First, his recent arrest on DUI charges did not endear him to team officials and he'll want to get back on good standing. Second, nickel and dime coverages are included in some of the team's first defensive installations, and it is imperative Rumph - who is projected as the team's nickel back and third cornerback - not fall behind.
"The important stuff is taught early in camp," Mariucci said. "And so, you miss that. We expect him to be hopefully playing in those (nickel and dime) personnel groups. He's had the playbook and the minicamps and he's been preparing all spring. Now you put it in early so it becomes review, review as you continue through the preseason. We need to get him in here for he doesn't have much catching up to do."
Rumph cannot practice, participate in team meetings or be involved with any team functions until he signs. As of late Sunday evening, only four 2002 first-round draft choices had signed - and none of them with NFC teams. That may be the biggest obstacle to getting Rumph into camp in speedy fashion, since both sides appear determined to make that happen.
"I'll tell you why it's difficult," Mariucci said. "We're early. There's not a lot of teams in camp right now. And typically, guys will sign when they know what the guy in front of them and the guy behind them signed for, and then you slot them in there and they're going to make X amount of dollars based on where you're drafted and that sort of thing. Well, very few guys are signed in the first round right now. So it's difficult to get our first guy signed. But they're in discussions while we speak."