ALAMEDA, Calif. Warren Sapp told the Oakland Raiders on Thursday that he was retiring, ending the career of one of the best defensive tackles to play in the NFL.
Sapp told the Contra Costa Times that he phoned Raiders owner Al Davis with the news Thursday. The Raiders had no official comment, but coach Lane Kiffin hinted at Sapp's decision earlier this week.
Sapp, 35, was the quintessential "three technique" tackle during his 13-year career, lining up between the guard and tackle and splitting that gap. Few did it better than Sapp, who made seven Pro Bowls, won the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 1999, and was a key cog in Tampa Bay's Super Bowl winning defense in the 2002 season.
"Every defensive tackle that's drafted in the top five is supposed to be the next (me)," Sapp said earlier this season. "All of them have that tag. ... I've played the game pretty well, so if I'm the standard by which (they'll) be judged, that's tough, because I'd like to relive that guy, too. He's a bad boy. He's dead now. I give you flashes of him every now and then but, nah, that guy was sick."After having 10 sacks in 2006, Sapp wasn't as successful this season when he finished with only two. He was also part of a Raiders defense that struggled against the run, allowing a league-worst 4.8 yards per carry.
LIONS PROMOTE COLLETTO: The Detroit Lions promoted Jim Colletto to offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Martz. "Jim is an excellent football coach," Lions coach Rod Marinelli said Thursday. "He knows what it takes to win in this league and I am confident that he will do a tremendous job leading our offense." Colletto was Detroit's offensive line coach this past season.
ATTENDANCE MARK BROKEN: NFL fans came out in record numbers this season. The league set a regular-season attendance mark for the fifth year in a row, drawing 17,341,012 fans and averaging more than 67,000 at its 256 games for the second consecutive year.
The total paid attendance topped last season's mark of 17,340,879, and the average of 67,738 fans per game matched the record. The NFL has set records for average attendance every season since 2003.
"Our teams and players are most appreciative of the large and fervent crowds that make NFL games so unique," commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday. "We again thank the most dedicated fans in sports for their continued support."