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NFL Roundup: Ronde Barber retires, Gronkowski faces fourth surgery

The SportsXchange

Ronde Barber is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons and a franchise-record 241 games played, all with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer first reported Barber's retirement Wednesday.

Barber, a five-time Pro Bowl pick and three-time All-Pro, never missed a game in his final 16 seasons and was the only player in NFL history with at least 25 sacks and 40 interceptions.

Barber was drafted in 1997 as a third-round pick and became a staple of the Buccaneers' cover-2 defense along with Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch.

Barber was a member of the 2002 team that won Super Bowl XXXVII under coach Jon Gruden. He retires as the active leader in consecutive starts by a defensive back with 215, including 200 as a cornerback.

Barber was a cornerback on the NFL all-decade (2000s) team and has the league record for sacks by a cornerback.

Following offseason shoulder surgery to repair a broken arm, Barber chose to return for the 2012 season and play for first-year head coach Greg Schiano. But Barber moved to free safety and started alongside 2012 first-round pick Mark Barron. Barron was born in 1989, when Barber was going into high school.

--New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is going to need a fourth surgery to replace the plate in his left foreman, the Boston Herald reported.

Gronkowski has battled an infection in the arm since surgery in February and was put on a six-week antiobiotic regimen by doctors with the hope of avoiding another operation.

There were reports last week that Gronkowski had no setbacks during his offseason conditioning program, but the fourth surgery is considered inevitable to replace the plate and examine the tissue around it, a source told the Herald.

The fourth surgery isn't considered a major problem and was expected to replace the plate in the broken bone that he suffered during a game in November.

However, the bigger concern is the possibility of a fifth surgery if the infection has not disappeared. That would prolong his recovery and jeopardize Gronkowski's availability for the start of the 2013 season.

The 23-year-old Gronkowski returned from the initial fracture at the end of last season and then rebroke the arm during the playoffs. He underwent a third surgery on the arm in late February.

--Levi Strauss & Co. announced a proposed 20-year, $220 million naming rights agreement for the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara.

The apparel company will present its proposal to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority on Thursday. If approved, the team's future home will become Levi's Stadium.

The partnership also makes Levi's the official sponsor of the 49ers. Levi Strauss is a Bay Area-based company that made its first pair of jeans in 1873 and has become a worldwide brand.

The $1.2 billion stadium is expected to open in time for the 2014 football season. It will seat 68,500 and feature 165 luxury suites and 8,500 club seats. The facility also will be a multipurpose venue for concerts and athletic events.

The 49ers will play their final season in Candlestick Park in 2013.

---The San Francisco 49ers elevated Quentus Cumby to assistant director of pro personnel, the team announced.

Cumby joined the 49ers eight years ago and had worked as a scout since 2006. His previous duties included evaluating NFL talent and the team's roster before free agency, player tryouts, maintaining NFL roster boards and depth charts, and serving as a weekly advance scout for the personnel and coaching staffs,

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