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Cleveland Browns

McGinest's farewell tour

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 8, 2008

Browns linebacker Willie McGinest told Tuesday he will retire after his 15th season in the NFL in 2008.

''The game's been good to me,'' McGinest told a reporter for the web site. ''It's been a lot of hard work, but I understand that there comes a certain time when you have to go out with a bang.''

To do that, McGinest wants to lead Cleveland on a playoff run.

''The guys on the team finally started believing in the team concept,'' he said about the Browns' 10-6 season in 2007. ''We started coming together and getting really close (after Week 1) ... and we started to jell. That was just the start for us.''

McGinest's remarks come as no surprise. He will turn 37 in December and is in the final year of a three-year contract he signed in 2006. The native of Long Beach, Calif. has several business endeavors. He is sharp and well-spoken, which makes a job in television seemingly a slam-dunk and even a shot at a big-screen career not so farfetched.

Although he started 11 games and played in 13 last season, he missed the first three following back surgery. When he returned, McGinest became more of a role player and recorded just three sacks, giving him 85 for his career.

At this point, McGinest seems most valuable for his locker room leadership. He won three Super Bowls in 12 seasons in New England and was the perfect choice to serve as one of the Browns' captains in '07. With five prime-time games on the 2008 schedule, he'll be needed even more to keep the team on an even keel.

McGinest could have more to say on his future next week. Cleveland begins OTAs Tuesday and the first session open to the media is Wednesday. But even if McGinest plays a lesser role on the field again in '08, he'll continue to be one of coach Romeo Crennel's go-to guys.


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