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Dolphins' Taylor reaches end of the road

DAVIE, Fla. -- Linebacker Jason Taylor walked across the locker room brushing his teeth, then ducked into the equipment room to rinse and spit. Minutes later he tried to muster a smile for a cluster of TV cameras.

It was time to call it quits.

The NFL's active sacks leader said he'll retire after this season, his 15th in the NFL and his 13th with the Miami Dolphins. Taylor has contemplated retirement in years past only to be lured back, but now he insists his mind's made up.

"Sunday's my last game," he said. "I might even change my cell phone number so they can't reach me."

The 37-year-old Taylor, who made the announcement following practice Wednesday, ranks sixth all-time with 139 1/2 sacks. He has six fumble returns for touchdowns, an NFL record.

He'll conclude his career Sunday against the New York Jets. It'll be his 204th game with the Dolphins, which ranks second to Dan Marino's 242.

"His contributions on the field as one of the greatest players in team history will be remembered by Dolphins fans for years to come," owner Stephen Ross said in a statement. "He will always remain an integral part of the Dolphin family."

Taylor has had three stints with the Dolphins, who drafted him in the third round in 1997. He also played for the Redskins in 2008 and the Jets in 2010.

"In my opinion, that's a no-brainer Hall of Fame player," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "He was a phenomenal teammate here. We only had him the one year, yet he affected the team so positively. I'm proud that I had a chance to coach him."

Taylor helped the Jets reached the AFC championship game. He never made it to the Super Bowl, and his final playoff game with the Dolphins was way back in 2001.

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Newton OK with Pro Bowl snub

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Despite a record-setting rookie season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was not selected to the Pro Bowl.

He certainly isn't pouting over it.

"Who am I to be mad at the fact that I'm the first alternate?" Newton said with a wide smile Wednesday.

Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning were selected over Newton, even though Manning has seven fewer total touchdowns.

Newton says he was "honored" to be selected as a first alternate and knows there's a good chance he might wind up replacing one of the guys ahead of him if they pull out of the game or if the Packers, Saints or Giants wind up in the Super Bowl, which is now played one week after the Pro Bowl.

"Those three guys are at the peak of their game," Newton said.

Still, Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes Newton deserved to go, citing the rookie's ability to make plays with his feet. Newton has thrown for 20 touchdowns and run for 14, the most ever by a quarterback.

By comparison, Manning has 27 total touchdowns -- 26 passing and one rushing.

Manning, however, has more yards passing (4,587) than Newton (3,893) and has a slightly higher quarterback rating.

Both have thrown 16 interceptions.

"I'm disappointed," Rivera said. "He's first alternate, but still. People talk about the numbers weren't as good as some of the other guys'. But I disagree because of the combined numbers -- not just throwing the ball, but running the ball."

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Around the league

*Mike Munchak says he is not heading to Penn State as coach. The Titans' coach says Wednesday he's flattered to be mentioned for his alma mater, but insists he loves what he's doing in Tennessee. "Penn State [has] not contacted me in any way or talked to me about the possibility of working there," he said.

*Tony Romo expects to go in Sunday's night's showdown with the Giants for the NFC East title. The Cowboys' quarterback was limited in practice Wednesday because of his still-swollen bruised right hand, though he did throw several passes.

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