NFL: Tedy Bruschi began the first day of his post-football life by taking out the trash.
“I’m real life,” he said, “I’m just regular.”
Bruschi is that unique player who won three Super Bowls, spent a long career with just one team and got Bill Belichick to drop his stoic persona on Monday and, in a voice shaking with emotion, call Bruschi “a perfect player.”
And one more thing:
“The thought of playing professional football after experiencing a stroke. I mean, is that a statement you hear everyday?” Bruschi said. “It’s not.”
After all that, and more, the inside linebacker and father of three whose sons stayed home Monday because they “would rather play with their Transformers than come and sit in the front row” next to his wife, announced his retirement after 13 seasons with the New England Patriots.
Smiling and never expressing regrets or shedding a tear, the longtime leader of the Patriots defense had a simple explanation for retiring now.
Bruschi, who had missed much of training camp and one exhibition game with an undisclosed injury, said he was simply too old and found his “body doesn’t heal as quickly.”
•Favre leads Vikings over Texans: Adrian Peterson scored on the game’s first play, Brett Favre played three quarters despite saying he might have an injured rib, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Texans 17-10 in a preseason game in Houston.
Favre was 13 of 18 for 142 yards. He didn’t move the offense much following Peterson’s touchdown until a 28-yard catch and run by Chester Taylor just before halftime.
Favre told ESPN before the game that he thinks he has a cracked rib, but the 39-year-old didn’t look to be in pain while getting sacked twice and taking numerous hits.
•Kolb to start; Vick will play: On his weekly radio show, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid said quarterback Kevin Kolb will start Thursday’s preseason finale against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands and Michael Vick will play in the first half.
•Bulger out as precaution: The St. Louis Rams plan to sit quarterback Marc Bulger in the preseason finale to lessen the chance of him aggravating a broken right pinkie.
Rodriguez claims compliance
College football: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez says his football program has abided by the rules, despite allegations of NCAA violations.
At a news conference in Ann Arbor, Rodriguez became emotional and had to gather himself as he denied any wrongdoing.
Rodriguez said his staff knows the rules “and we comply by the rules.”
The school has launched an investigation into allegations that its football program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time players can spend on training and practice.
•UCLA plans to play opener: UCLA plans to play its season opener while monitoring the wildfires in the Los Angeles hills above the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
UCLA will host San Diego State on Saturday afternoon at the venerable stadium, which is less than 10 miles south of the fires currently burning in the Angeles National Forest.
Federer stretches U.S. Open streak
Tennis: Roger Federer has extended his U.S. Open winning streak to 35 matches with a 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 victory over NCAA champion Devin Britton in the first round in New York.
The 18-year-old Britton actually hit more winners than Federer, 32-31. But Britton also made more than twice as many unforced errors, 40-18.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams has begun the quest for her fourth U.S. Open title with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alexa Glatch.
Seeking her second straight U.S. Open championship, Williams hit 18 winners and had 19 unforced errors in an uneven start to the tournament.
Yates replaces Labonte for stretch
Auto racing: Former NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte won’t race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his best track, because of sponsorship issues at Yates Racing.
The team had seven races to sell this season for the No. 96 Ford, and the sponsorship it secured wanted Erik Darnell in the car. The 26-year-old will make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta, where Labonte has six career victories.
•9/11 memorial car unveiled: A custom-designed racecar bearing the phrase “Always Remember” was unveiled by NASCAR’s Benny Gordon across from the World Trade Center site.
Gordon will race the car on Sept. 11 at the Richmond International Speedway in Virginia.
Finland scores upset of U.S. women
Miscellany: Emma Laaksonen scored on a power play 2:10 into the third period to lift Finland to a 3-2 win over the United States in the opening game of the Hockey Canada Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia.
•Fedorov wins suit: A Michigan judge says former Detroit Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov is entitled to $60 million from a man accused of failing to meet a loan obligation to the hockey player.
Fedorov says Joseph Zada of Grosse Pointe Shores swindled him out $43 million during the past 11 years. He allegedly promised to repay the former player $60 million by April 20.
•Liukin needs more time: Olympic champion Nastia Liukin won’t be competing at the world gymnastics championships in October.
Liukin took herself out of the mix for the U.S. team, saying she needs more time to get in shape. The worlds are Oct. 12-18 in London.
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