Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, August 18, 2002

Broncos' Davis to retire after latest knee injury

DENVER -- Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis has decided to retire after seven seasons because there's little chance that his chronically injured left knee will get any better, his agent said Saturday night.

Agent Neil Schwartz said doctors told Davis they could not guarantee that his latest ailment -- a degenerative condition in his left knee -- would get better. Schwartz also said Davis wanted to be able to end his career in Denver, on his own terms.

Davis will be placed on injured reserve Tuesday, allowing fans to see him in uniform one last time Monday night, when the Denver Broncos play the San Francisco 49ers in an exhibition.

''Terrell is at peace with himself. He knows that he did everything that he possibly could to play again, but his knee just would not cooperate,'' Schwartz said. ''There were no guarantees that his knee would get better with treatment, and he wanted to be able to go out on his own terms.''

Schwartz said Davis met with Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on Saturday to discuss his future for the first time since experiencing swelling in his left knee last Saturday. He said Shanahan talked about putting Davis on injured reserve Sunday, but Davis wanted to wait until Tuesday, so he could walk out of the tunnel one final time.

Davis finished his career with 7,607 yards on 1,655 carries and 60 touchdowns. He holds or shares 56 teams records -- 21 in the postseason -- including most rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns.

Rhodes will miss season with torn ACL

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dominic Rhodes, the Indianapolis Colts' leading rusher last year, will miss this season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Rhodes was injured while running a sideline pass route during the final 30 minutes of practice Thursday night.

An MRI taken Friday night revealed the injury, and an announcement was made Saturday, shortly before the start of the Colts' first home exhibition game against Cincinnati.

Following the injury, Rhodes lay on his back as team doctors tested the knee. He then limped, without assistance, to the locker room and did not return. He also was not at practice Friday, when the Colts finished their three-week training camp at Terre Haute, Ind.

Last season, Rhodes set an NFL rushing record for undrafted rookies with 1,104 yards after he replaced two-time rushing champ Edgerrin James.

Rhodes broke into the Colts starting lineup seven games into last season after James tore the ACL in his left knee and missed the rest of the year.

The Colts had considered going from their normal one-back formation to some two-back formations, using James and Rhodes together. Rhodes also expected to see some time at wide receiver and return kickoffs.

Earnhardt Jr. powers to first pole of the season

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- After falling to 17th in Winston Cup points, Dale Earnhardt Jr. decided to make a change. Whatever he did worked.

Earnhardt led Chevrolet to a sweep of the top five spots in qualifying for the Pepsi 400 on Friday, winning his fifth career pole with a lap of 189.668 mph.

''I made a commitment this week to try to do what I can to help this team do better, to try to get ourselves back to Victory Lane where I think we should be,'' Earnhardt said. ''This is a good step in that direction.''

Rain delayed the start of the session by nearly four hours, and visibility was waning as the last of the 44 cars took a time at about 8:30 p.m. EDT.

It's Earnhardt's first pole since last November, and his second at Michigan. He holds the track record of 191.149, set two years ago.

Kevin Harvick, the final car to go Friday, ran 189.026.

''This track is pretty weather sensitive,'' he said. ''We had a good draw today and we'll take it. We'll take the good and roll along with it.''

Earnhardt teammates Michael Waltrip and Steve Park were next, followed by Robby Gordon.

Dodge teammates Bill Elliott and Jeremy Mayfield nailed down the next two positions. Dale Jarrett, Ryan Newman and John Andretti rounded out the top 10.

Browns, Johnson agree to terms

CLEVELAND -- Wide receiver Kevin Johnson agreed to terms on a four-year, $13.85 million contract extension Saturday with the Cleveland Browns, just days after the team gave his agent permission to shop for a new deal. Johnson, who was eligible to become a free agent after this season, agreed to the new deal just before the Browns' preseason home opener against the Detroit Lions.

As part of the deal, Johnson will receive a $3.5 million signing bonus.

''We have our best receiver in place for the next five years,'' Browns president Carmen Policy said. ''I think he (Johnson) realized that Cleveland is the best place for him. He feels good about it, Tim Couch feels good about it, and I think the rest of players can breathe a sigh of relief.''

Johnson has been the favorite target of quarterback Tim Couch in his first three seasons. He ignored trade rumors last season and became the Browns' top offensive weapon with 84 receptions for 1,097 yards and nine touchdowns.

Johnson had turned down a three-year, $10 million deal from the Browns earlier this summer, and although the team recently upped its offer, negotiations reached a stalemate earlier this week. On Wednesday, the Browns granted Johnson's agent, Tom Condon, permission to talk with other teams about a deal for Johnson, who has 207 catches for 2,752 yards and 17 TDs in three seasons.

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