Thursday, May 31, 2001

Injury forces Pickens' retirement

Bengals' leading receiver quits at 31

Enquirer news services

        IRVING, Texas — Carl Pickens did all he could to continue a once-sparkling NFL career. But after extensive rehabilitation on a torn hamstring, repeated trips to doctors and a cut-rate contract with the Dallas Cowboys, Pickens has decided to retire.

        “He had no choice,” agent Steve Zucker said Wednesday. “He hasn't been able to run more than 10 yards. He just can't accelerate at all.”

        Pickens, 31, had four 1,000-yard seasons in his first eight years, all with Cincinnati, and is the leading receiver in Bengals history. His often strained relationship with the Bengals ended after the 1999 season when he signed with Tennessee.

        He played only nine games for the Titans. Because of the hamstring injury, he had career-lows with 10 catches for 242 yards and no touchdowns.

        In April, Dallas gave him a $500,000, one-year contract with no signing bonus. The Cowboys were hoping he could be a third option to Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail.

        Pickens never suited up for Dallas. He missed two minicamps and, before a third one began Tuesday, he told Zucker to start filling out the paperwork to make his retirement official.

        For his career, Pickens had 540 receptions for 7,129 yards, an average of 13.2 yards per catch, with 63 touchdowns.


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