Patriots’ lineman Light calls it a career

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady tried to persuade Matt Light to return for another season by offering him a year’s supply of his favorite candy bar. Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia reminded Light that he’s still in the prime of his career.

But Light, one of a handful of NFL players to have started in five Super Bowls, said Monday he is retiring at the age of 33 to have a chance “to leave this game upright and feeling good.”

“When it’s your time, you just know,” the New England Patriots offensive lineman said Monday in a retirement ceremony at the team’s Hall of Fame.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time Super Bowl champ, Light retired after 11 seasons. Coach Bill Belichick, owner Bob Kraft and much of the Patriots‘ offensive line attended to support Light, along with his family, friends and fans.

• The Patriots re-signed receiver Jabar Gaffney, who 10-year veteran who played with the Patriots from 2006 through ‘08. In New England, he caught 84 passes for 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns. He also has played for Houston, Denver and Washington.

Suspended players challenge rulings

NEW ORLEANS — Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and three other players suspended in the NFL’s investigation of New Orleans’ cash-for-hits bounty system challenged their punishments.

Vilma, named by the NFL as a ringleader of the operation, appealed his season-long suspension while the NFL Players Association notified the league it was reserving the appeal rights of Saints defensive end Will Smith and those of ex-Saints Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.

All four players and the union argue that no appeal should be heard before NFLPA grievances are resolved questioning NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s authority to discipline the players and to hear their appeals.

Around the league

BILLS: Buffalo signed running back Fred Jackson to a two-year contract extension that’s potentially worth $9 million. Jackson has led the Bills in rushing in each of the past three seasons. He finished with six touchdowns and a team-best 934 yards rushing despite breaking a bone in his right leg in Mid-November.

VIKINGS: Minnesota released 16-year veteran kicker Ryan Longwell, who signed a four-year contract last summer that called for a $1.75 million salary this season. In more than just six years with the Vikings, Longwell recorded 633 points, third in franchise history.

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