BEREA, Ohio -- Veteran guard Robert Jackson, lauded by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell as an inspiration to others who have the desire to beat the odds, ended an 11-year career Friday by announcing his retirement.
Jackson, who was not drafted in 1975 but made the Browns as a free agent, held a news conference at Baldwin-Wallace College and was accompanied by offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
'I've enjoyed tremendously my association with the Cleveland Browns,' he said. 'I will always cherish the memories. It's a hard decision to make, but it's time. I'll always follow the Browns and root for the team.'
The 33-year-old Jackson, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound product of Duke, lost his starting job to George Lilja last season. In addition, both Dan Fike and Rickey Bolden moved ahead of Jackson at right guard.
The Browns picked two offensive linemen -- tackle Jim Meyer of Illinois State in the seventh round and guard Randy Dausin of Texas A&M in the 11th round -- in Tuesday's draft.
'Every veteran reaches a point where he knows a younger player takes over,' Jackson said. 'It's not always an easy realization.'
Modell said: 'Robert played to the best of his ability, and that's the best compliment you can give an athlete. He proved all the personnel people wrong.
'We didn't think he could make our team, but he's been a team leader and a reliable, tough player,' Modell said.
Jackson becomes the third veteran offensive linemen to depart the Browns since the end of the 1984 season. Tackle Doug Dieken retired after that campaign and guard Joe DeLamielleure was released last summer.
The Browns also announced the signing of 13 free agents, nine of whom have experience in either the Canadian Football League or the U.S. Football League.
The players are: wide receiver Alton Alexis, Tulane; wide receiver Greg Anderson, Alabama State; tackle Scott Bolzan, Northern Illinois; running back Mark Brooks, Notre Dame; quarterback Jeff Christensen, Eastern Illinois; linebacker Joe Costello, Central Connecticut; kicker Ricky Gann, Texas Tech; cornerback Mark Harper, Alcorn State; running back Marck Harrison, Wisconsin; cornerback Harry Skipper, Southern Cal; punter Stan Talley, Texas Christian; defensive end James White, Lousiana State; and guard Jeff Wiska, Michigan State.
Skipper was a three-time CFL all-star and Tally twice led the USFL in punting.