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Carl Pickens Retires

May 30, 2001 GMT

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IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Carl Pickens did all he could to continue a once-sparkling NFL career. It wasn’t enough.

After extensive rehabilitation on a torn hamstring, repeated trips to doctors and a cut-rate contract with the Dallas Cowboys, Pickens has decided to give up his comeback and retire.

``He had no choice,″ agent Steve Zucker said Wednesday. ``He hasn’t been able to run more than 10 yards. He just can’t accelerate at all.″

Pickens, 31, had four 1,000-yard seasons in his first eight years, all with Cincinnati and is the leading receiver in Bengals’ history. His often strained relationship with the Bengals ended after the 1999 season and he signed with Tennessee.

He played only nine games for the Titans. Because of the hamstring injury, he had career-lows with 10 catches for 242 yards and no touchdowns.

He spent the offseason trying to get back in shape. Orthopedist James Andrews gave him a workout regimen and Pickens bought the equipment he needed so he could rehab at home.

In April, Dallas gave him a $500,000, one-year contract with no signing bonus. The Cowboys were hoping he could be a third option to complement Joey Galloway and Raghib Ismail.

``He rehabbed over the offseason and was good to go,″ Zucker said. ``He was well enough to play when he signed.″

Pickens never suited up for Dallas. He missed two minicamps and before a third one began Tuesday, he told Zucker to start filling out the paperwork to make his retirement official.

``He’d love to play and he’d love to play for the Cowboys if anything would heal at all,″ Zucker said. ``But right now he’s look at it as career-ending.″

Pickens was a second-round pick from Tennessee and was offensive rookie of the year in 1992.

He led AFC receivers with 11 touchdowns in ’94. He led the conference in receptions the next two years, making the Pro Bowl both times.

Those two seasons were easily his best. In ’95, he had 99 catches, 1,234 yards and 17 touchdowns. He caught 100 passes for 1,180 yards and 12 TDs in ’96.

For his career, Pickens had 540 receptions for 7,129 yards, an average of 13.2 yards per catch, with 63 touchdowns.