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COLTS CLOSE DOOR ON ISSUE, LET ALBERTS RETIRE

Linebacker Trev Alberts of the Indianapolis Colts retired Tuesday after three injury-plagued seasons and failing to fulfill the promise that made him the No. 5 pick in the 1994 NFL draft.

The Colts announced Alberts' retirement a day after he failed to show up for scheduled reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder.

"It was something that was hanging out there that needed to be closed," Colts vice president of football operations Bill Tobin said of the retirement.

"He is going to get on with his life, and we are going to get on with our football team."

Alberts had pondered retirement before training camp began, but he and the Colts failed to reach agreement over the team's bid to recoup a portion of his $3.275 million signing bonus.

How Favre can salaries go?

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre plans to put a quick end to Barry Sanders' reign as the NFL's highest-paid player.

James "Bus" Cook, Favre's Mississippi-based attorney, and Mike Reinfeldt, Green Bay's chief financial officer, are working out final details on a seven-year deal worth between $44 million and $49 million.

The contract extension, which includes a signing bonus of between $10 million and $11 million, would replace the last two years of the five-year, $19 million deal the quarterback signed in 1994. Sanders, Detroit's star running back, signed a reported six-year, $34 million deal Sunday.

On Tuesday, Favre said he hopes to have the extension done in time for the Super Bowl champions' exhibition opener Saturday night against Miami.

Sims demoted to second team

MIAMI -- With the exhibition season about to begin, three-time Pro Bowl guard Keith Sims finds himself on the second team and in coach Jimmy Johnson's doghouse.

The Miami Dolphins' preseason depth chart lists Jeff Buckey ahead of Sims at left guard. Sims' demotion this week is an attempt to motivate him.

"I told him we are making this decision to see how he responds," offensive line coach Larry Beightol said. "We know Sims is capable of being the best offensive lineman in the NFL. We just want him to show it."

Sims, an eight-year veteran, has started 81 consecutive games.

Around the camps

Don Beebe wants to become the first player to make it to six Super Bowls. However, he insists he won't care if the Green Bay Packers cut him. "Last year, I wanted the Super Bowl ring. That's the only thing that I really hadn't accomplished in my career," said the 32-year-old receiver, a member of the Buffalo Bills' four Super Bowl losses. "This year, my life in football's been so fulfilled that I'm just having fun."

Darrell Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the April draft, signed a seven-year, $22.05 million contract with Oakland.

Denver backup quarterback Bill Musgrave retired, virtually assuring Bubby Brister of making the roster. Musgrave, 30, played in six games last year. Meanwhile, defensive end Neil Smith's right knee injury appears to be minor. He was expected to practice today and might play in Saturday night's exhibition opener against Buffalo.

After three days wondering what forced Arizona Simeon Rice to miss five practices, the Cardinals said the 260-pound defensive end has a severe viral infection. Team physician Wayne Kuhl did not say what type of infection Rice contracted, but said it would have to run its course before he returns to the team.

Philadelphia signed Jimmie Jones, a 31-year-old free agent defensive linemen who started 14 games for St. Louis last season, to a one-year contract.

Washington defensive lineman Chris Mims underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and will be sidelined 2-3 weeks.

San Francisco offensive tackle Harris Barton will be sidelined indefinitely with recurring knee soreness.

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