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Chatty Crowder calls it quits

MIAMI -- The NFL will be a bit quieter this season: Channing Crowder says he's retiring.

Crowder, one of the league's most notorious trash-talkers, said Tuesday he has decided to call it a career less than two weeks after being cut by the Miami Dolphins. The veteran linebacker made the announcement on WQAM radio, where he has been a talk-show host.

"I know I can still play football," said Crowder, 27. "But I decided to hang it up. Now I'm not worried about icing my knees anymore or getting stingers or concussions. I did it long enough. I played football since I was 9 years old."

That included six NFL seasons, all in Miami, where Crowder developed a reputation as a jester and motormouth. For that reason, he conceded, his announcement might be met with skepticism.

"I'm not making a comeback," he said. "If somebody tells me I don't have to go through training camp and I can come in Week One and play but I don't see it."

After being released by the Dolphins, Crowder said, he tried out with the New England Patriots.

"It was just so weird," he said. "I went to their practice facility to work out, and I ran over the red dummies instead of the orange ones. I was so used to Miami, and I loved Miami so much."

Crowder said several other teams also expressed an interest in signing him, but he and his wife are expecting a baby, and he wants to remain in South Florida.

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Rodgers unfazed

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Asked about a sloppy showing by the Green Bay Packers' offense the night before, Aaron Rodgers channeled his inner Allen Iverson.

"Practice?" Rodgers said Tuesday in a deadpanned tribute to the NBA star's oft-imitated rant. "We're talking about practice? Not talking about the game, talking about practice, right?"

Rodgers acknowledged that the offense made too many mistakes Monday night, but didn't see any sense in dwelling on it.

And the quarterback firmly dismissed the notion that the reigning Super Bowl champions made a mistake by not getting together for informal practice sessions during the lockout, offering only a one-word answer: "No."

Rodgers will be talking about a game -- well, sort of -- instead of practice soon enough as the Packers open preseason play at Cleveland on Saturday after visiting the White House on Friday.

"I'm not sure how much we're going to play," Rodgers said. "Usually it's not a whole lot. Just get that timing back, maybe take a couple hits. Maybe one. And just get back into the swing of things."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy had harsh words for his team Monday night, saying they were "not close to where we need to be as a football team" after a practice filled with mental mistakes, penalties, and fumbles by running backs James Starks and Ryan Grant.

McCarthy said at the beginning of camp that he didn't have an issue with the fact that his players didn't organize informal offseason workouts. Several teams did -- including the team the Packers will play in their regular season opener, the New Orleans Saints.

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L.A. takes big step

LOS ANGELES -- The developers seeking to build an NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles were granted a City Council endorsement that they had long stressed was necessary to prove to league officials that their plan has public support.

Anschutz Entertainment Group president and chief executive Tim Leiweke said that the council's 12-0 vote in favor of a framework deal on the project's funding and timeline sends a strong message to the NFL that the city is behind the proposal for a 72,000-seat stadium on the convention center campus.

The agreement anticipates the issuance of $275 million in tax-exempt bonds for the relocation of a convention center hall to accommodate the proposed $1.2 billion football venue known as Farmers Field.

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Around the league

*The NFL is adding game-day testing for performance-enhancing substances -- but not recreational drugs -- this season under the new collective bargaining agreement. The league's senior VP of law and labor policy, Adolpho Birch, said the league has developed a way to test that "is not overly disruptive to the clubs and that respects the game-day process."

*Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton will start the Cincinnati Bengals' preseason opener on Friday night in Detroit, his first chance to show he can handle the job.

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