NASHVILLE — The president of the NFL Players Association said he got one offer to play this year. It came too late, and Kevin Mawae said Friday that he decided being with family was more important than playing another season.
The veteran offensive lineman announced his retirement after 16 seasons and eight Pro Bowls. He spoke in front of banners for the union and his alma mater, LSU, as he stood across the street from Vanderbilt University, where he has been working as a strength and conditioning intern.
"My brother reminded me I have nothing to prove nor do I have anything to lose in this decision," an emotional Mawae said. "I've done everything an NFL player can want to do except winning a championship. With that, I walk away from the NFL on my own terms and with the only regret that of not being a Super Bowl champion."
Mawae played for Tennessee last season, starting all 16 games and helping block for Chris Johnson as he ran for 2,006 yards. Mawae's 241 regular-season games were the most among active linemen.
But his contract was up, the Titans went younger with Leroy Harris, and no team called to sign the center, who turns 40 in January. He finished his career in his final Pro Bowl.
Mawae will serve out his term as union president, which ends in March 2012. He felt his role as union president, with the league and union in the final year of their labor deal, limited interest in him.
"I'm the only … Pro Bowler in the last two years not on a roster right now. It doesn't take a brainiac to figure that out," he said.
He got a call from a team he did not name but decided against taking it.
Brady payday okay with other Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady was back at practice a day after he followed an early morning car accident with a four-year contract extension that will make the Patriots quarterback the highest-paid player in the NFL.
When it begins in 2011, the deal will pay an average of $18 million per season with a guarantee of $48.5 million.
"Nobody deserves it more, and I'm happy for him," receiver Wes Welker said. "I'm happy he's here, and I hope he's here for a long time."
Brady, 33, will make $6.5 million this season, the last in a six-year deal. He declined to talk to reporters during media availability. The three-time Super Bowl winner has not commented publicly since Thursday's two-car collision near his Back Bay home in which the other driver was cited for failure to stop at a red light.
Also, authorities are backing off claims that the driver who hit Brady had previously been arrested for driving under the influence. A spokesman for Bristol County (Mass.) District Attorney Sam Sutter told the Boston Globe that someone else had impersonated Ludgero Rodrigues when he was arrested last year. Prosecutors dropped charges against the 21-year-old after he convinced authorities that he was not the person they detained.
Still, Rodrigues has an extensive history of traffic violations.
PAYTON PLEASED DESPITE ERRORS: After reviewing one of the ugliest, lowest-scoring victories in his four-plus seasons as a head coach, Sean Payton decided he liked what he saw.
"You go back to finding ways to win," Payton said after breaking down video of the Saints' season-opening 14-9 win over Minnesota on Thursday. "It's pleasing when you can win a game like that and finish the way we did. … We have a lot of respect for that opponent."
New Orleans made plenty of mistakes. There were dropped passes — including one by Robert Meachem in the end zone — and two missed field goals. Yet Drew Brees was sacked only once by a team that had a league-high 48 sacks in 2009.
Meanwhile, Vikings coach Brad Childress was philosophical: "There's no way we're up to the warp speed of an 18th game of the season. It's a work in progress on offense. … We need to get up to speed in a heck of a hurry. I believe we will."
EX-BULL OUT FOR YEAR: The Bills placed linebacker and former USF star Kawika Mitchell on injured reserve, ending the seven-year veteran's season two days after he hurt his foot in practice. Coach Chan Gailey said it was too early to tell if Mitchell would need surgery. The Bills picked up veteran linebacker Akin Ayodele.
BENGALS: Antwan Odom is expected to play Sunday as the defensive end appeals a suspension for using a banned substance.
BROWNS: The team re-signed offensive lineman Billy Yates, after having released him Tuesday, and waived linebacker Titus Brown.
COWBOYS: Injured offensive linemen Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier were ruled out for Sunday's game at Washington.
DOLPHINS: Bill Parcells, who ceded control of the football operations to Jeff Ireland this week, is not thrilled with starting quarterback Chad Henne, according to NFL.com's Vic Carucci: "I will say, for whatever weight this carries, that Bill Parcells is very disappointed in (Henne)," Carucci said on Boston's WEEI radio. "But that's not what made Bill resign his position or anything." … Two Pro Bowl players, tackle Jake Long (left knee) and receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), are probable for Sunday against Buffalo. Linebacker Channing Crowder (groin) is questionable.
GIANTS: Cornerback Aaron Ross (plantar fasciitis, right foot) is doubtful for Sunday's opener. … The team said the only seats available for the first regular-season NFL game in the $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium are club seat personal seat licenses, which don't count in determining whether a game is subject to local blackout rules.
RAIDERS: Running back Michael Bush (broken left thumb) is questionable for Sunday's opener at Tennessee.
SEAHAWKS: Coach Pete Carroll said the status of rookie left tackle Russell Okung (high ankle sprain) down the road is unknown; Okung is already out for Sunday's game.
RATINGS WINNER: Thursday's Vikings-Saints opener earned the highest preliminary rating for a regular-season, prime-time game in 13 years. NBC said New Orleans' win in a rematch of the NFC title game drew a 17.7 overnight rating (percentage of all TVs) and 28 share (percentage of TVs on at the time). The overnight number measures the biggest markets. That's the best in prime time in the regular season since the Broncos-49ers game in 1997. Nielsen reported 27.485 million viewed the game.