Atlanta Falcons center Todd McClure, a seventh-round draft pick in 1999 who started 195 games for the team, announced his retirement.
Atlanta center McClure retires
Retiring center Todd McClure will have a new home in the team’s Ring of Honor, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Monday.
McClure, 36, officially announced his retirement in a ceremony attended by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and offensive linemen Tyson Clabo, Sam Baker and Justin Blalock.
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Blank said McClure’s career merits him joining former standouts such as Deion Sanders, Tommy Nobis and Steve Bartkowski in the team’s Ring of Honor.
“You deserve to be in that Ring of Honor, and we will get you there as soon as we can,” Blank said while pointing out another longtime center, Jeff Van Note, also earned the Falcons’ highest honor for a former player.
McClure, a seventh-round draft pick from Louisiana State in 1999, didn’t play that year but started 195 games for the Falcons from 2000 through the 2012 season.
McClure was emotional at times, including when he looked at teammates.
“That’s what I’m going to miss the most about this game, guys like those sitting right here,” McClure said. “The friendships we’ve had, the conversations we’ve had, the joy we’ve had in the locker room on Sunday after a big win, the struggles we’ve gone through and gotten each other through. … I cherish every moment that we’ve spent together.”
Barnes signs with Browns
The Cleveland Browns signed defensive back Kevin Barnes, 26, to a one-year contract.
Barnes was traded from Washington to Detroit last year and played in two games for the Lions before he was waived Sept. 18.
FIFA receives Costa Rica protest
FIFA officials are studying a protest from the Costa Rica federation, which wants a World Cup qualifier against the U.S. men’s team replayed after losing 1-0 in a snowstorm Friday in Commerce City, Colo.
“FIFA will now analyze the content of the letter and next steps will be determined in due course,” the governing body said Monday in a statement.
The Costa Rican federation said the “physical integrity” of players and officials was affected, “ball movement became impossible” and field markings were not visible. The federation also urged FIFA to punish match officials, including referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador, for allowing the match to proceed.
Adu, Union franchise part ways
The Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer franchise, has reached a contract termination by mutual consent with midfielder Freddy Adu.
Adu, 23, has signed with Esporte Clube Bahia, a Brazilian team. The Union, in turn, acquired veteran Brazilian midfielder Jose Kleberson on loan from the same team.
Kleberson, 33, was on Brazil’s winning team in the 2002 World Cup and has appeared in 32 matches for his country.
Adu joined the Union in 2011, played in 35 regular-season matches and scored seven goals.
Semin gets contract extension
Alexander Semin has agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract extension with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Semin, 29, leads the team with 22 assists. He signed with the Hurricanes in July after spending his first seven NHL seasons with the Washington Capitals.
Cooper to coach Tampa Bay
The Tampa Bay Lightning has hired Jon Cooper as its coach. Cooper, 45, had been coaching Syracuse of the American Hockey League, Tampa Bay’s top minor-league affiliate.
Cooper replaces Guy Boucher, 41, who was fired Sunday after 2 ½ seasons with the team.
Kings edge host Blackhawks
Dustin Brown turned a rebound of his own shot into a goal with 1:27 remaining, lifting the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings to a 5-4 victory over host Chicago.
The Kings were shut out in their previous two games.
The Blackhawks have lost their last two but continue to lead the league.
Serena Williams advances
Serena Williams’ match was more than an hour old before she began providing a soundtrack for her comeback.
“Come on!” she shouted at her fist through gritted teeth. Her demeanor transformed, the top-ranked Williams rallied past Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the fourth round of the Sony Open in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Williams, seeking her sixth Key Biscayne title, was down 4-1 in the second before winning the final five games of the set.
“I just felt slow and sluggish,” she said. “Then I started hitting errors, and I was getting frustrated. Then I tried not to be frustrated.
“I was just proud of myself because I didn’t throw any rackets.”
• Ramon Dominguez, voted the top jockey in North America in each of the past three years, says he has been told by his doctor he must continue therapy on his fractured skull. Dominguez, 36, has no timetable for a return to racing.
Dominguez met with his neurosurgeon, who the jockey said is “very pleased” with his progress. Dominguez was injured in a Jan. 18 spill at Aqueduct in Jamaica, N.Y.
• Xavier has hired Bowling Green’s Greg Christopher as its next athletic director, responsible for guiding the school into the reconfigured Big East Conference next season.
Christopher replaces Mike Bobinski, who is moving on to Georgia Tech next month.
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