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Jackson retires a Packer

Admitting he had lost some of the skills that allowed him to dominate at tight end, Keith Jackson retired Monday after finally earning a Super Bowl ring.

Jackson, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, said he would have returned for another season with the Packers if the team had not won the title this year.

"Sometimes toward the end of the season, I could feel my body breaking down," Jackson said. "I don't have the explosion. I always said if I couldn't dominate the game at my position the way I had, it would be time to give it up."

"It's a sad day," he said during a news conference.

The 31-year-old Jackson spent nine years in the NFL, two with Green Bay. The Packers got Jackson from Miami in 1995, but he held out for the first three months, reluctant to come because of the weather, then signed for 1996.

ISMAIL VISITS BUCS: Minnesota wide receiver Qadry Ismail visited One Buc Place. Ismail, a four-year veteran from Syracuse, has 118 career receptions for 1,856 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"I think Minnesota is an opportunity to flourish as a third wide receiver, but I see myself more as a starting receiver all the time, a go-to guy," he said.

He's visited Kansas City and Arizona, and is making plans to go to Washington. "Well, I think they all have some good positive things to offer," he said. "Right now it's just a matter of _ what is the phrase everybody is using now _ show me the money. Basically, if Tampa shows me the right kind of money _ Buccaneers, here I am. That's the bottom line, that's just being realistic."

ASSISTANTS MEET TAGLIABUE: Nine black assistant coaches met with commissioner Paul Tagliabue to discuss the dearth of opportunities for advancement to head coaching jobs.

The assistants were disturbed that, despite 10 jobs changing hands in the off-season, only one black coach, Emmitt Thomas of Philadelphia, was interviewed.

"We feel we had a good start," said Art Shell, Atlanta offensive line coach and ex-Raider head coach.

DOLPHINS: Former Buccaneer wide receiver Lawrence Dawsey, an unrestricted free agent who played for the Giants last season, signed a two-year contract. Terms were not disclosed.

COWBOYS: Pass rush specialist and ex-Buc Broderick Thomas re-signed. He moved from linebacker to defensive end last season and had 4.5 sacks.

PATRIOTS: Cornerback Steve Israel has signed to play for his former defensive coordinator with the 49ers, Pete Carroll. Terms were not disclosed. Israel spent the past two seasons with San Francisco.

JETS: New York signed Rick Lyle, a defensive lineman from the Ravens. He started three games and appeared in 13 last season.

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