NFL ROUNDUP News and notes
Seahawks: Jerry Rice's incredible career finally might be at an end. The best receiver in NFL history was released Friday and while his agent, Jim Steiner, said he would seek to continue playing, finding a spot might be hard for a 42-year-old who has played 20 seasons in the NFL. Rice's release was announced in a short statement from the team, which acquired the 42-year-old from Oakland in a trade last season. "We are grateful to Jerry and the role he was willing to fill for the Seahawks last year," coach Mike Holmgren said. "He is one of the greatest players in the history of our game and we wish him nothing but the best." Rice is the career leader in receptions with 1,549; total yards with 22,895; and touchdowns receiving with 197, all far ahead of the closest pursuer. He also leads in total touchdowns with 207, 32 more than Emmitt Smith, who announced his retirement earlier this month.
Patriots: Ty Law was released, the victim of the salary cap. The 31-year-old Law missed the second half of this season with a broken foot and his $12.5 million salary cap figure made him expendable, especially because the Patriots won a title without him. Law had been the anchor of the secondary since he was taken in the first round of the 1995 draft. But his huge salary made him expendable.
Panthers: Another salary cap casualty is wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad. Muhammad, who made his first All-Pro team last season, had 93 catches for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns, but couldn't agree to renegotiate a contract that would have paid him a $10 million roster bonus on March 1. Muhammad, who will turn 32 in May, remains one of the league's best receivers. Other than kicker John Kasay, he was the senior member of the team and holds its receiving records with 578 catches for 7,751 yards receiving. He played in 115 games with Carolina, joining the Panthers in 1996 as a second-round draft choice.
Rams: One player staying put is running back Marshall Faulk, who restructured his contract. Faulk is resigned to backing up Steven Jackson and has agreed to a pay cut that will essentially guarantee he'll end his career in St. Louis. Faulk, an 11-year veteran who turns 32 Saturday, just finished the third year of a seven-year contract. He would have made $6 million in salary and workout bonuses in 2005. Under the new four-year deal, Faulk gets a $2 million signing bonus and will earn $2 million in both 2005 and 2006, said his agent, Rocky Arceneaux. "His motive was not wanting to leave," Arceneaux said. "Obviously with a backup, it's hard to justify making $7 million a year.
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