New England linebacker Ted Johnson announced his retirement yesterday after a 10-year NFL career, saying he decided to retire rather than risk further injury following a series of concussions.

A member of three Super Bowl champion teams in New England, Johnson notified the Patriots of his decision a day before veterans were scheduled to begin training camp.

His retirement further weakens the inside linebacker position. Tedy Bruschi, the other starter there, has said he will sit out this season after suffering a minor stroke last winter.

* SAINTS: Running back Deuce McAllister agreed to a seven-year contract extension with New Orleans, avoiding a feared holdout for the centerpiece of the team's offense.

Saints officials did not say how much McAllister would be paid, but McAllister had said earlier that he expected it to be the second-largest contract awarded to an NFL running back.

* COLTS: Defensive end Dwight Freeney, the NFL's 2004 sacks leader, missed Indianapolis's morning practice with a shoulder injury. Colts officials said Freeney had minor offseason surgery.

* BRONCOS: Denver signed third-round pick Maurice Clarett, assuring all of the team's draft picks will be present at the Broncos' first practice today.

* DOLPHINS: A stomach virus that may have helped send Miami guard Jeno James to the hospital has now affected other players, including quarterback A.J. Feeley.

Feeley missed yesterday's practice to see a doctor, and Coach Nick Saban said a couple of other players were affected by the virus.

The 320-pound James was in stable condition yesterday after becoming woozy during a two-hour workout in muggy, 80-degree weather on Wednesday.

* 49ERS: San Francisco signed running back Frank Gore to a three-year contract.