Abraham wants to spend more time with family

Updated: July 18, 2005, 9:59 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

New York Jets: Donnie Abraham decided he had given all he could.

Abraham retired Monday after nine seasons in the NFL, the Jets announced.

Abraham, 31, had considered retiring after the 2004 season but decided to participate in offseason training activities to determine just how much desire he had to remain in football. Apparently, it was not enough.

"My decision to retire from the game that I've enjoyed playing for nine seasons is in the best interest of my family and our future," he said. "This is an opportunity for me to spend more time with my children and pursue personal business interests.

"This was a tough call to make because of how well the Jets' organization has treated me as a player and a person and how much I enjoy playing with the guys on this team," he said.

After signing with New York as an unrestricted free agent in 2002, Abraham appeared in 40 of 48 games. Last season, the cornerback started every game, recording 53 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown.

"We wanted Donnie to follow his heart and this is best for him and his family," Jets coach Herm Edwards said. "He provided us with three solid seasons and he's a class act on and off the field."

A 1996 third-round pick of Tampa Bay, Abraham played six seasons with the Buccaneers, capturing Pro Bowl honors in 2000.

In 132 career games, the former East Tennessee State star had 475 tackles, 38 interceptions and eight recovered fumbles.

St. Louis Rams: Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, a seventh-round pick, has agreed to terms on a three-year contract.

Fitzpatrick is the fourth player from this year's 11-player draft class to come to terms, following fourth-round safety Jerome Carter, seventh-round running back Madison Hedgecock and fourth-round offensive lineman Claude Terrell.

Fitzpatrick threw for 5,234 yards with 39 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions during his college career. He is second on Harvard's career lists in completions, touchdowns, yards passing and completion percentage and was the first quarterback in school history to rush for 1,000 yards.

Fitzpatrick will compete for a backup job with Jeff Smoker and Jamie Martin when training camp opens July 28.

Shuler's political ambitions

Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler plans to run for Congress.

Shuler, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday that he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that clear the way for him to run next year in the 11th Congressional District for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Charles Taylor.

Shuler didn't name Taylor in a press release that emphasized pocketbook issues.

"Far too many families in western North Carolina are struggling to earn a decent living, educate their children and pay for health care," Shuler said. "Congress is spending too much time playing partisan politics, instead of working to find solutions to the real problems facing our families."

Shuler was traveling on business Monday and was unavailable for comment, campaign spokesman Randy Flack said.

Shuler played football at Swain County High School, where he ranked among North Carolina's all-time passing leaders and led his team to three straight state championships. At Tennessee, he was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.

Drafted in the first round by the Washington Redskins in 1994, Shuler's pro career never took off. In four-plus NFL seasons with the Redskins and New Orleans Saints, Shuler started just 22 games, throwing for only 15 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

Since retiring from football, Shuler and his brother Benjie have run Heath Shuler Real Estate.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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