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By: Ian Logue/
July 28, 2005

Alan Branch mum on suspension, happy to be back: 'I love it here'

Jabaal Sheard increases workload, Jonathan Cooper appears at practice

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Source: Terrance Knighton released by Patriots

Right Now At
Great Night
The Patriots defense stepped up in a big way during New England's 19-17 win over the Panthers on Friday night.

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It hasn't been a good offseason for the Patriots as far as their linebacking corps are concerned.

After Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke back in February which led to his decision to sit out this season, now linebacker Ted Johnson has decided to retire.

According to the Boston Globe the decision came after Johnson wasn't given medical clearance to play after apparently suffering numerous concussions throughout his career.

"I can no longer ignore the severe short- and long-term complications of the concussive head injuries I have sustained over the years," Johnson said in a statement released by the team.

Johnson was the Patriots second-round pick out of Colorado in the 1995 draft and started every game he played in as a rookie. He struggled with injuries during his career, missing 11 games in 1999 with a torn bicep, and eight games during the 2001 campaign because of a broken foot.

Head coach Bill Belichick said in the statement he respects Johnson's decision and wishes him the best.

"Although his retirement is unexpected, we thoroughly respect his decision and support him as he moves on," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It goes without saying, but Ted Johnson is a class act. He was a solid contributor to this defense and the New England Patriots organization his entire career. Ted's signature was a work ethic and toughness that were second to none. He retires a champion."

The veteran linebacker also said that he'll miss everything that comes with being a professional football player, along with playing in front of the fans who have supported him throughout his career.

"Coming to New England 10 years ago gave me a lot more than the three Super Bowl rings I now own," he said. "I also found my family here and a strong community that has welcomed me as one of its own.

"I have forged strong friendships with many teammates past and present. I have had the honor of playing for some of the greatest coaches this game has ever known. I have enjoyed incredible support from the most passionate fans and had the opportunity to play a kid's game, if only for a while. I will miss every bit of it."