New England Patriots  

 

Pats OL Neal retires after 10 seasons; RB Green-Ellis tendered

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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New England Patriots guard Stephen Neal, who wrestled in college but didn't play football, is retiring after a 10-year NFL career.

A two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Cal State-Bakersfield, Neal won the Dan Hodge Award that is known as the Heisman Trophy of collegiate wrestling.

Neal signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent in 2001 and, after being released, re-signed and injured, finally broke into the starting lineup for good in 2004 when the team won the Super Bowl for the third time in a four-year span.

Neal started the first eight games of the 2010 season before being placed on injured reserve with a shoulder ailment.

The Patriots also extended a restricted free-agent tender (second-round level) to running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Wednesday, his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, told the Boston Herald.

The move places Green-Ellis under contract for 2011 before the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire Thursday night. It's possible many of these tenders won't be valid when a new labor deal is reached.

Green-Ellis, a three-year pro, ran for 1,008 yards on 229 carries last season, with 13 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 85 yards.

The former Ole Miss standout signed with the Patriots in 2008 as an undrafted free agent. He has racked up 1,397 rushing yards and 18 TDs in three NFL seasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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