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Patriots linebacker considers sitting out 2005

By wire services
Published March 24, 2005


BOSTON - Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is considering sitting out next season for health reasons, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

Bruschi's new agent, Brad Blank, said the Pro Bowl player is contemplating if he can play after being treated for a mild stroke last month.

He did not give details, and New England coach Bill Belichick declined to comment.

Bruschi, 31 was admitted to a hospital Feb.16 and released a couple of days later. But an Arizona TV station reported Bruschi was readmitted so doctors could repair a hole in his heart.

Bruschi, a nine-year veteran, has been a key member of the defense that helped New England win three of the past four Super Bowls.

Bruschi has three years left on his contract. His deal would be voided if he retires, but he could earn his full salary if the team places him on its physically unable to perform list.

Saban, Williams talk

KAPALUA, Hawaii - New Dolphins coach Nick Saban said he told Ricky Williams the team would welcome him back, but it's unclear if that will happen.

Williams retired two weeks before training camp last season, saying he no longer enjoyed the sport.

"The guy has obviously been a very productive player and obviously has some issues surrounding him based on the past," said Saban, who did not provide details of his conversation with Williams.

"We would all have to work and improve those issues to see what his possibilities are. Whether he wants to do all those things, I think, are kind of his decision."

Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Some Dolphins resented the timing of Williams' retirement. But Saban, hired in December, said he believes players would be willing to take Williams back.

"People make emotional decisions and judgments about things," Saban said. "Sometimes, I think, time heals that.

"I think that the leadership on the team that I've spoken with has been more interested in the same thing that I'm interested in."

JAGUARS: Linebacker Tommy Hendricks was released a week after he was charged with violating a restraining order taken out by his ex-wife. Hendricks played 15 games last season and made 23 tackles and tied for the team lead with 16 special team tackles. Also, reserve safety Deke Cooper re-signed. He had 37 tackles in 16 games last season.

AWARD: Scott Pioli, the Patriots' vice president of player personnel, was named the league's Executive of the Year for the second straight season.

Pioli received 19 of 50 votes from league owners, general managers, personnel directors and other front-office personnel after New England won its third Super Bowl in four seasons.

Only Bobby Beathard and Bill Polian also have won in consecutive seasons.

GM A.J. Smith, whose Chargers improved from 4-12 to 12-4, took second with nine votes.