Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, giving no reasons, has decided to drop out of bidding for the New England Patriots franchise, a Trump spokesman said.

Trump entered the tangled negotiations for the financially troubled football team Feb. 17 when he met with representatives of the team's current ownership, the family of William H. Sullivan, and a Philadelphia group that has gone to court in an attempt to take control of the team.

Trump, 41, was the owner of the New Jersey Generals in the defunct USFL, and the spearhead of a $1.69 billion antitrust suit against the NFL. The USFL eventually was awarded $3 in damages, and it disbanded, although the case is under appeal.

Any agreement would have been subject to the approval of NFL owners, some of whom were hostile toward Trump. But several, including Tex Schramm of the Dallas Cowboys and Art Modell of the Cleveland Browns, have said they would not block a deal.

Reportedly, the sale price for the Patriots is $78 million . . .

Center Mike Webster, who surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday by announcing his retirement, surprised them again by saying he will return next season.

"I hadn't really planned to retire in the first place. If I was really going to retire I would have done it after the season," said Webster, a 14-year veteran and the last remaining Steeler with four Super Bowl rings.

The nine-time Pro Bowler said he came to an "understanding" with Steelers President Dan Rooney following talks over the weekend.