The NFL notebook …
NEW ORLEANS ó The New Orleans Saints announced Monday that free agent linebacker Dan Morgan has retired from football.
Morgan, who signed with the Saints March 11, played in the NFL for seven seasons, all with the Carolina Panthers. The injury-plagued veteran was drafted in the first round out of the University of Miami.
Morgan, who never missed a game in high school or college, sat out five games as a rookie with a broken leg. He missed eight games a year later with groin and shoulder injuries. He hurt his hamstring in 2003, and later sustained the first of at least five concussions.
Entering the 2007 season, the biggest concern was Morgan’s head. He missed the final 15 games of 2006 after sustaining two concussions in a month. After a year off and countless tests, Morgan was cleared to return. But he missed the final 13 games of 2007 with a partial tear of an Achilles tendon.
PANTHERSCHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent quarterback Lester Ricard, giving the team an extra arm a week before the beginning of optional workouts.
The 24-year-old Ricard spent his rookie season in 2007 on Jacksonville’s practice squad. He went undrafted after being a three-year starter at Tulane.At 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, Ricard became the biggest quarterback on Carolina’s roster with his signing on Monday.
The Panthers begin workouts next week, and starting QB Jake Delhomme is expected to be limited as he continues his recovery from elbow surgery.
ATLANTA ó The NFL’s labor situation could get more complicated this week.
The league’s owners meet Tuesday and could vote to opt out of the labor contract. Such a move could signal a protracted period of labor tension and lead to a 2010 season without a salary cap and a potential work stoppage the following year.
The owners have until Nov. 8 to terminate the contract. Some would prefer to do so now and hasten the way for talks toward a new agreement to replace the 2-year old contract that most owners feel has tilted too far toward the players, who get 60 percent of total revenues.
That the owners will opt out is basically a foregone conclusion.
Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has been predicting a lockout. League and union officials note that is standard rhetoric in labor disputes.