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Reports say Smith expected to retire

Running back Emmitt Smith is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow, according to media reports.

Smith, a free agent, will make the announcement three days before the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., according to reports by, The Dallas Morning News, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. cited "confidants" of the star running back that it did not identify; the newspaper reports, posted on the papers' websites, cited unidentified sources.

Smith spent the last two seasons with Arizona after 13 years with Dallas.

He said Monday night he wanted to retire as a member of the Cowboys, the team with which he won three Super Bowls.

The 35-year-old earlier yesterday denied the report in comments to the Morning News.

"Did you see my year last year? Do you think I'm ready to retire?" Smith said.

He rushed for 937 yards and nine touchdowns this season, giving him 18,355 yards and 164 TDs overall.

Neither the Cardinals nor Cowboys had any announcements planned regarding Smith.

Fields fills hole
Panthers linebacker Mark Fields, who missed the 2003 season while battling Hodgkin's disease, has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Fields, a first alternate, replaces Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks (knee). Fields, who last made the Pro Bowl in 2000 with the Saints, finished the season with 60 tackles, four sacks, and an interception . . . Peyton Manning added another superlative to his record-breaking campaign as the Colts quarterback was named Sporting News Player of the Year for the second straight season. The Steelers' Bill Cowher was named Coach of the Year, and his quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was tabbed Rookie of the Year . . . Former Dolphins running back Ricky Williams was back in South Florida as the defendant in a paternity case, and said he's unsure whether he'll play football again. "I'm still in retirement. I'm enjoying retirement," said Williams following a court hearing. Cherie Nicole Clark filed papers in August asking Williams to pay child support for her baby son. Williams has acknowledged an intimate relationship with Clark when the child was conceived. He's contesting the amount of child support he must pay. The judge scheduled another hearing for March 30 . . . The Broncos hired former Green Bay defensive coordinator Bob Slowik as defensive backs coach. Slowik was the Packers' secondary coach from 2000-03 until becoming defensive coordinator last season.

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