Ex-Steeler Webster quits after 17 yearsMike Webster,...


Ex-Steeler Webster quits after 17 years

Mike Webster, a perennial Pro Bowl center and a mainstay on the Pittsburgh Steelers' four Super Bowl champions, retired yesterday after a 17-year career that almost certainly will carry him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"It's been 17 wonderful years, but one thing you learn in this game is reality," said Webster, who will turn 39 Monday. "It's time."

Webster, who played in 245 games, fifth-most by a National Football League player and the most ever by an NFL center, spent the past two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs after changing his plans to retire in 1989 and become a coach for the Chiefs. His immediate plans are uncertain, he said. Chiefs president Carl Peterson said there is an assistant's job in Kansas City if Webster wants it.

Webster joined the Steelers as a fifth-round draft choice out of Wisconsin in 1974, the 125th player selected. A backup for two years, he held down the center position for the next 13 seasons. Always in top condition at 6 feet 2 and 260 pounds, he was called "Iron Mike" for playing in 177 consecutive regular-season games before a dislocated elbow sidelined him for four games at the start of the 1986 season. He was named the center last year on the Super Bowl's 25th anniversary team.

* Former Detroit Lions head coach Darryl Rogers was named yesterday as coach of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Rogers was hired to replace Mike Riley, who left the Grey Cup champion team in January to become head coach of the San Antonio Riders of the new World League of American Football.

"It's a pleasure to be taking over a program that's been successful," said Rogers, who coached the Lions for four seasons. "What you want to do is try to maintain that level and improve it if possible."

* The trial of Washington Redskins wide receiver Ricky Sanders on assault charges in Houston was postponed yesterday until April 15. Mark Brown, the assistant district attorney, requested the postponement and Sanders' attorney, Wendell Odom, didn't object because his earlier motion for a trial after the end of the football season had been granted.

Sanders is accused of running over a parking-lot attendant outside a topless bar last May after an argument over missing hubcaps on his car.


The World Boxing Organization has ordered a rematch of the junior welterweight title fight between Greg Haugen and Hector Camacho because a post-fight drug test revealed traces of marijuana in Haugen's system. Haugen won on a decision.

Ed Levine, the president of the WBO's championship committee, said his organization has declared vacant the title that Haugen ,, won from Camacho last month.

Camacho's lawyer, Jim Levien, said negotiations were under way for a May 18 bout in Las Vegas or Reno, Nev., that would be televised by Home Box Office.

Figure skating

Tonya Harding is eager to show the world she's a real triple threat. After landing a triple axel to win the U.S. figure skating championship, Harding is ready to take on Japan's Midori Ito at the world championships, which begin today in Munich, Germany, with the dance compulsories and the pairs original program.

"I know I'm the best in the U.S." Harding said. "I know that I can be the best in the world and am going to be given the opportunity to prove it."

Harding and Ito, the world champion in 1989, are the only women to execute execute skating's most difficult triple jump.

Balancing act

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