"I realized that I've exhausted my ability to play the game," he said. "I'm not able to be a productive player in the NFL any longer. I didn't want to hang on."
Lott, 36, spent 15 years in the NFL. He went to four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers and also played for the Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. He was on the Chiefs' injured reserve last year after breaking his left leg in an exhibition game.
Patriots: Wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, released last month by the Chargers, agreed to a four-year, $6 million contract, WBZ Radio in Boston reported. Jefferson, 27, who would get about $1.5 million over four years, had 48 catches for 621 yards and two touchdowns in 1995.
Sims missing: Billy Sims, the 1978 Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma who starred in the NFL for the Lions, was reported missing by his wife. Edna Sims told police in Norman that he has been missing since Feb. 13.
Obituary: Bob Forte, a defensive back for the Packers for eight seasons and a member of the team's Hall of Fame, died in Dallas. He was 73.
King is champion in second-fastest time
Jeff King won his second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race,--coasting into Nome, Alaska, more than two hours ahead of defending champion Doug Swingley.
King, 39, finished the 1,151-mile mushing marathon in 9 days, 5 hours, 43 minutes. Only Swingley has done better in the Iditarod's 24-year history: 9 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes.
King finished with six of his original 16 dogs.
(For details, call Sundial at  783-1800 and enter the four-digit code 6146.)
Holy cow! Rizzuto back part-time in Yanks' booth
New York Yankees legend Phil Rizzuto, who retired abruptly last August after 39 years in the WPIX booth, said he will return for the Opening Day telecast from Cleveland on April 1 and for 30 other Yankees regular-season games.
"I'm deeply touched by the outpouring from the fans," the 78-year-old Scooter said. "Holy cow, I've never seen anything like it. And I wouldn't dream of disappointing these people."
The Hall of Fame shortstop, who was angry and guilt-ridden after his decision to work a game in Boston and miss Mickey Mantle's funeral in Dallas last August, walked away despite appeals from WPIX to finish the season.
Spencer-Devlin LPGA's first to declare homosexuality
Muffin Spencer-Devlin reveals she is a lesbian in the new issue of Sports Illustrated, becoming the first player in the 46-year history of the LPGA to publicly declare her
Spencer-Devlin, 42, who has three wins in 18 years, says lesbians are a small minority on the tour. Homosexuality in women's golf became a prominent topic last year after CBS announcer Ben Wright was quoted as saying lesbians hurt the LPGA's image. He denied making the comments but later was dropped from the network's golf coverage.
Tennis: Fourth seed Boris Becker lost, 6-3, 7-5, to Carlos Costa at the Newsweek Champions Cup in Indian Wells, Calif. . . . Top seed Steffi Graf of Germany, playing her first tournament of 1996, beat ninth seed Amanda Coetzer, 6-4, 6-1, at the Evert Cup quarterfinals in Indian Wells.
Football: There will be a coaches clinic Saturday, sponsored by the Baltimore Touchdown Club at Mount St. Joseph at 10 a.m. Call Roger Wrenn at (410) 396-9274.
Bowling: Tim Criss of Bel Air is 61st after the second round of the PBA Showboat Invitational in Las Vegas. From staff and wire reports
North Carolina is making its record 22nd consecutive appearance in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. What school is appearing in its 12th straight, the second-longest active streak? (Answer, 8C)
Pub Date: 3/13/96