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story.lead_photo.caption Sean McGrath (Henderson State) announced his retirement from the Kansas City chiefs Saturday. He caught 26 passes for 302 yards and 2 touchdowns a year ago. - Photo by AP / ED ZURGA


McGrath retires

SAINT JOSEPH, Mo. -- Tight end Sean McGrath of the Kansas City Chiefs has made his retirement official.

"McGrath is gonna retire, that's what we've been told by him," Coach Andy Reid said Saturday. "I wish him the best. He's a good kid. It's a personal decision he made."

McGrath, 26, was a backup last season and caught 26 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs claimed him off waivers before the season and he was pushed into service quickly, thanks to injuries suffered by Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano.

McGrath, who played his college ball at Henderson State, was present for the entirety of organized team activities in June and was expected to compete for a backup job in camp this year with Demetrius Harris.

The reason for his retirement is unclear, though Reid said Thursday that McGrath was working "some personal things" out.

McGrath reported to the team's dormitory at Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph on Wednesday, the day veterans were mandated to report. Unlike his teammates, however, he was not carrying any belongings and did not practice with the team.

Cornerbacks compete

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is serious about what he has said about competition at cornerback.

Sean Smith, last year's starter at right cornerback, moved to the second team for the last four days of organized team activities. His status hasn't changed three days into training camp.

"We look at Sean as a first-team player," Reid said. "We need all those guys and we need two-deep at the corner where we feel like that two-deep is equivalent to starting players. That's where we're looking."

The Chiefs are in transition following a 2013 season where the defense ranked 25th against the pass (247.6 yards per game).

Another factor for changes may have been the memory of blowing a 38-10 third-quarter lead en route to a 45-44 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.


Hunter tears ACL

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Kendall Hunter, the 49ers' No. 2 running back since 2011, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Friday at practice, the team confirmed Saturday morning.

Candidates to become Frank Gore's top understudy are LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde, Jewell Hampton and Marcus Lattimore, who's on the non-football-injury list but has been doing conditioning drills on a side field in training camp.

Hunter was entering the final season of his rookie contract. He was hurt catching a swing pass from Blaine Gabbert in 7-on-7, non-contact drills. Hunter's knee buckled as cornerback Perrish Cox closed in on the play.

Hunter ran for a career-low 358 yards last season. He had only 78 carries, just six more than his injury-shortened 2012 season. He had 112 carries for a career-high 473 yards as a rookie, then followed with 371 yards in 2012 before his injury.

He joins several teammates recovering from ACL tears: Lattimore (non-football-injury list), linebacker NaVorro Bowman (PUP), guard Brandon Thomas (NFI), cornerback Keith Reaser (NFI) and fullback Trey Millard (NFI).


Opportunities open

RENTON, Wash. -- The absence of Marshawn Lynch from Seattle Seahawks training camp means opportunity for Robert Turbin and Christine Michael.

Turbin and Michael were already going to get the bulk of the work during the preseason with Lynch being prepped for the grind of the regular season.

But with Lynch holding out, Turbin and Michael are getting a greater opportunity to show they can handle the load.

Seattle has a pretty good idea what Turbin can provide. He's entering his third year and has proven a capable spot backup for Lynch. Michael is the curiosity.

Entering his second season, Michael is a mix of power and speed that barely saw the field last season as a rookie as he struggled with the transition from college to the pros. But coaches can't stop raving about Michael's offseason work.


Clowney recovering

HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday.

But the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2½-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout.

The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice.

Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off and flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face.

He said he's feeling better, but isn't 100 percent yet. Despite that, Clowney didn't appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said it's up to the trainers if he'll be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days.

"I'm just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "I'm just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game."

The Texans open the preseason Aug. 9 at Arizona.


Contract no distraction

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says his contract situation won't be a distraction as he prepares for the 2014 season.

Roethlisberger told The Associated Press on Saturday he plans to play in Pittsburgh as long as team president Art Rooney II will have him.

Rooney announced Friday the Steelers were not going to pursue a new deal with Roethlisberger until 2015. Roethlisberger has two years remaining on the $102 million contract he signed in 2008.

The 32-year-old Roethlisberger has a base salary of $12.1 million this season, a relative bargain compared to some of his contemporaries.

Roethlisberger says he doesn't worry about the money and understands the Steelers have needs in other areas as they try to bounce back from consecutive 8-8 seasons.

Sports on 07/27/2014

Print Headline: NFL notes

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