|Saturday, August 24
McDuffie decides to retire
MIAMI -- Former Miami Dolphins receiver O.J. McDuffie officially announced his retirement, ending a nine-year NFL career marred in recent years by a recurring toe injury.
"I have had a blessed and rewarding career, surrounded by great people, beginning with the legendary coach Don Shula,'' McDuffie said in a statement released Friday by agent Joel Segal.
McDuffie, a first-round draft pick in 1993 from Penn State, set the Dolphins' single-season receptions record with 90 in 1998. He finished his career with 415 catches, fourth on the team's all-time rankings behind Mark Clayton, Mark Duper and Nat Moore.
McDuffie also totaled 5,074 yards and 29 touchdowns.
"I want to thank all of my teammates for the memories. Foremost on that list is Dan Marino, who was an even better person than quarterback and is a continuing inspiration,'' McDuffie said in the statement.
McDuffie became one of the NFL's elite possession receivers and a favorite of Marino, who referred to McDuffie as "the toughest football player I ever played with.''
The Dolphins failed to reach an agreement on a new contract with McDuffie and released him earlier this year. McDuffie agreed to a restructured contract in February, but the deal fell apart over provisions about his health and any possible future lawsuits.
In June, McDuffie filed a malpractice suit claiming former team physician Dr. John Uribe and current team physician Dr. Dan Kanell, among others, were negligent in the treatment of a tendon injury to his left big toe in 1999.
McDuffie had two surgeries on the toe. He played hurt in 1999 and 2000. He was inactive for the 2001 season because of the injury, which he said in February still caused him pain.