NEW YORK, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Patrick Ewing, the old warhorse who never won the NBA title expected of him when he came out of Georgetown 17 years ago, Tuesday announced his retirement from the game.
A plethora of injuries kept Ewing from making a decent contribution to any of the teams he played for in recent years.
He surprised even himself by accepting a job offer from the Washington Wizards, for whom he will be an assistant coach in the up coming season.
"When people used to ask me what I would do when I stopped playing, I never thought I would be a coach," Ewing, 40, told the Washington Post. "I thought maybe I would go into management or broadcast. This is a good opportunity. (Head coach) Doug (Collins) is a great coach and I'm really looking forward to it."
Ewing made his retirement public at a news conference in New York, where he was introduced by former Madison Square Garden president David Checketts, who called him "the greatest New York Knick in history. I felt it was time for me to move on. It was a great ride. It's time to go on to the next chapter of my life."
Voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, Ewing, a future Hall of Famer, played sparingly for the Orlando Magic last season and has been troubled by knee and foot problems in recent years.
He spent most of his pro career with the Knicks, but never had the personnel around him to make a successful championship run.
"There have been a lot of great players that have never won a championship," said Ewing, who spent 15 of his 17 NBA seasons with the Knicks. "I'm sorry I couldn't bring a championship here. All I can say is that every time me and my teammates stepped on the court we gave it 110 percent, but we fell short."
In Washington, Ewing's primary responsibility will be to work with young center Brendan Haywood.
"I think this will make the transition to not playing basketball a lot easier," Ewing said. "I might even teach M.J. (Michael Jordan) some postup moves."
When Jordan retired the first time, Ewing led the Knicks to the 1994 NBA Finals, but they lost in seven games to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
The Knicks advanced to the NBA Finals again in 1999, but Ewing tore his left Achilles tendon earlier in the playoffs and could only watch when they lost in five games to the San Antonio
The 11-time All-Star stands as the Knicks' all-time leader in points (24,815), rebounds (10,759), blocked shots (2,758), steals (1,061), games played (1,039), field goals (9,260) and
free throws (5,126).
A number of former teammates and coaches came to the news conference, including Jeff Van Gundy.
"Committed and loyal. Those are the two words that describe him best," Van Gundy said. "His commitment to winning and loyalty to his coaches and teammates was unparalleled."
Checketts traded Ewing to the Seattle SuperSonics two years ago, but promised him a job in the Knicks' organization upon his retirement. However, that was before Checketts resigned in May 2001.
Ewing, who averaged 22.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest as a Knick, had his best season in 1992-93, when he averaged 24.2 points and a career-high 12.1 rebounds. But the Knicks
lost in six games to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
He took on more of a complementary role in 1999, when he scored 17.3 points per game, the first time in his career he averaged fewer than 20 points.
He was never the same after suffering a devastating wrist injury during the 1997-98 campaign.
After finishing with Seattle and Orlando, Ewing had career averages of 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds. While in college, he and the Hoyas captured the NCAA championship in 1984, and
led the Hoyas to two other trips to the national title game. In one of those, Jordan hit a game-winning jumper for North Carolina in the 1982 title contest in New Orleans.
Redskins QB undergoing MRI
ASHBURN, Va., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Quarterback Shane Matthews, injured when the Washington Redskins got pasted by Philadelphia Monday night, was scheduled to undergo an MRI Tuesday afternoon to determine the extent of the damage done to his left shoulder.
Matthews suffered a bruised left shoulder late in the second quarter when hit by safety Brian Dawkins after a blitz and did not return, although he claimed he could have played.
"It's pretty sore," Matthews told reporters as he walked out of Redskins Park Tuesday morning. "I'm going to go get an MRI and see what's the matter. They [the doctors] really don't know what it is. That's why we're going to get the MRI. Hopefully, it's just a bruise. It doesn't feel like a bruise, but hopefully that's all it is."
Matthews threw for just 62 yards on 10-of-22 passing, with one interception through two quarters. Coach Steve Spurrier said after the humiliating defeat that Matthews would start at San Francisco Sunday if he is healthy.
The Philadelphia game was a far cry from the season opener, when Matthews passed for 27 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Arizona.
Dodgers P Brown done for 2002
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Jim Tracy Monday said veteran starting pitcher Kevin Brown, who has dealt with lower back soreness all year long and was forced to have surgery in June, will not pitch again this season.
Last Tuesday, Brown gave up five runs and six hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss in San Francisco. After informing team medical officials of the soreness, he received an epidural injection Thursday to relieve the pain.
Since the injection, Brown reported no improvement, forcing Tracy, General Manager Dan Evans and the team's medical staff to tell Brown Monday afternoon that he will be shelved for the balance of the campaign.
"I'm frustrated and disappointed that I haven't been able to help the team," Brown said. "They're having a great season, and I haven't been able to help the guys out. As far as right now, it doesn't feel good."
The 6-4, 195-pounder had been scheduled to pitch against San Francisco at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, but Tracy said Kevin Beirne will start that game against the Giants.
Brown, 37, has been sidelined by an array of injuries over the last two years, and he underwent surgery June 11 for a herniated disk. That's the area of his back in which he has been experiencing residual soreness.
Tracy said Brown will not throw, under any circumstances, for the rest of the season, even if the Dodgers wind up going deep into the playoffs.
"All I know is, I hope they get that far," said Brown, who was 3-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 17 games this season, seven out of the bullpen.
"He doesn't feel well enough to play catch," Tracy said. "The way he feels right now, I won't compromise him or the rest of his teammates. He's aware of that. I won't send a guy out there who is less than what he's capable of being."
Brown, one of five players in major league history to represent four different teams in the All-Star Game (Texas Rangers, 1992, Florida Marlins, 1996-97, San Diego Padres, 1998 and the Dodgers, 2000), has a career record of 183-122 with a ERA of 3.22 and 2,079 strikeouts. In the 2000 and 2001 seasons, he combined for a record of 23-10.
Brown, who was in the fourth year of a seven-year, $105 million contract, also underwent elbow surgery last September.
Seahawks finally sign OL Jones
SEATTLE, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Veteran offensive tackle Walter Jones, one of the NFL's best, finally came to contract terms with the Seattle Seahawks late Monday after holding out through the preseason and the first two games of the regular campaign.
The absence of Jones, 28, who has six years of pro experience, was telling.
In losing their first two games, the lack of a rushing attack was one of the team's biggest problems. The 6-5, 326-pound Jones should help immediately in that area.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle has been given a two-week roster exemption to allow Jones to get himself back into playing shape. He told reporters that, if he had to, he would play this Sunday in the encounter at East Rutherford, N.J., against the New York Giants.
"I just wanted to come back and help the team get a victory anyway I can," Jones said. "That was my only reason for coming back, and I missed the guys. This is what I do and I just wanted to come back. I feel good and I'm glad to be back and hopefully we can get something done here."
Jones said the holdout upset him.
"It was very tough, but that's the business side of it and hopefully things will get settled," he said. "But right now I'm just focused on coming out this week and helping the team get ready for the Giants. That is the way the business is and while it was going on I was just getting ready for the season."
The newspaper said that Jones signed the $4.92 million offer the club made in February, when it designated him the team's franchise player. Now that he has signed the offer, the club and Jones can negotiate a long-term contract. Time will tell whether (holding out) was good or bad."
Seattle Coach and General Manager Mike Holmgren said the Seahawks simply could not offer more money, but had no explanation for why the holdout ended so abruptly.
"Our rules are set," Holmgren said. "Why he decided to come in and sign the tender now, instead of two weeks ago, I don't know. I'm glad he's in. We missed him. He's a great football player. We need him, and this is the first step."
Quarterback Trent Dilfer, who still is in recovery from a preseason knee injury, said he was elated to have Jones back with the team.
"He's a very good player, obviously," said Dilfer. "He's part of the puzzle and you want to have all your guns blazing when you go into battle, and we just got one of them back. Obviously you want a running game and a great player is going to have an impact on the running game. I hope we can gain some rhythm like we talked about in the running game and Walter may make that happen, but we will see, we have a lot of work to do before Sunday."
The former Florida State All-American started all 16 games at left tackle last season, and has started 69 consecutive regular-season games. He was the sixth overall pick in the 1997 draft.
Vikings to make offer to PK Anderson
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Vikings, who basically lost to Buffalo because of failures in the kicking game, Monday made a contract offer to former placekicker Gary Anderson.
Head coach Mike Tice told reporters Monday that he has spoken with Anderson about coming out of retirement, but would only say that the team is "trying to get that situation worked out."
Tice also intimated that Anderson would be brought back for placekicking chores, which includes field goals and points after touchdown. Last season, the team's coaching staff felt Anderson no longer had the leg for effective kickoffs.
"If Gary comes back, he comes back for good," Tice said. "Gary Anderson is certainly no stop gap."
The Vikings' regular placekicker, Doug Brien, who replaced Anderson after former punter Mitch Berger, refused to take a pay cut, missed a pair of extra points in the 45-39 overtime loss to the Bills that proved to be costly.
"High school kids make those," Brien said after the game. "I'm so disgusted with myself."
"You can't miss PATs in this league and we missed two," said Tice. That shouldn't happen to anybody."
Tice said that if Anderson comes back, Brien would continue to handle kickoff chores, even though others have been given tryouts.
"Anytime you have to carry two kickers you have to release somebody and that's the nature of the business," Tice said. "We could keep both kickers, we could go out and get another kickoff guy. We brought everybody in two weeks ago that was on the street, (but) we didn't find a guy that could kickoff better than Doug Brien at that point. Unless somebody cuts somebody or unless something drops out of the ceiling, I don't know that there is a better guy right now then Doug for kicking off. If Gary Anderson is on this team, I will carry two kickers unless one of the guys in the team meeting tells me that they can kickoff and I don't think that's going to happen."
The Vikings also found out Monday that tight ends Jim Kleinsasser and Byron Chamberlin will be out for some time. Both players suffered knee injuries in the Buffalo game.
Hawks sign free agent F Darvin Ham
ATLANTA, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Hawks Tuesday dipped into the free agent market and signed forward Darvin Ham, who spent his previous three seasons with the Bucks.
Contract terms were not disclosed.
"Darvin's a player we've always had interest in because of his high-energy and competitive toughness," said Hawks General Manager Pete Babcock. "And we're looking forward to bringing those elements, in addition to his basketball abilities to our franchise."
The 6-7 Ham is the second Buck to make his way to Atlanta in the offseason, joining forward Glenn Robinson, who was acquired in a deal for Toni Kukoc.
The Hawks were put been in the market for a forward after DerMarr Johnson was involved in a serious auto accident last Friday. The incident left his playing status for the upcoming season in question.
Last season, Ham, who went to Texas Tech, played in a career-high 70 games and averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest.
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