From Comcast SportsNetENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- Veteran safety Brian Dawkins is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons.Dawkins posted the news on his Twitter account Monday, thanking the teams he played for, his coaches and teammates and fans. Dawkins spent his first 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last three with the Denver Broncos.He suffered a serious neck injury in December that sidelined him for the stretch run and the Broncos' two playoff games."I would like to thank the Eagles & the Broncos 4 believing in me," he tweeted. "I would like 2 thank all my teammates & coaches that I have been blessed 2 go to battle with. Along with u, the fans 4 helping make my career 1 that I have enjoyed tremendously. In other words. I am announcing my retirement from the NFL."Broncos boss John Elway replied via Twitter: "Congratulations on a Hall of Fame career, Dawk!!!"Nobody played safety longer in the NFL than Dawkins, 38. The only other safeties to log 16 seasons in the pros were Hall of Famer Paul Krause and Eugene Robinson.Longevity isn't normally associated with the position where the hardest hits are both received and delivered."If you look at the majority of the huge collisions, they come in that second level back there," Dawkins said last season. "Safeties are 15-20 yards deep sometimes, we're coming down running full speed at somebody that's running full speed at us a lot of times, so those collisions are very, very hard. And so to play the game the way that I play it for this long is an absolute blessing."Dawkins was a six-time All-Pro and made nine Pro Bowls, including last season as an alternate.As a member of the NFLPA executive committee, Dawkins pushed for new league rules that limited full contact during camp and also in the regular season. He credited those changes for keeping him fresh at the beginning of what turned out to be his final season, which he played a year after laboring through sprains to both knees.
BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:
* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.
Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.
But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.
After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.
It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.
* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.
In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 326 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.
Two cheap hits, two RBI.
At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.
Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.
* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.
Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.
He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.
Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.
It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.
At Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere event, tight end Rob Gronkowski was presented with the 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award.
Gronkowski is the 14th player to have received the award that is named for the late Ron Burton. The first player the Patriots organization ever drafted, Burton was well-known for his charitable work.
“Ever since I’ve been here, following the Krafts, the whole Kraft family, from Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft, all his sons, seeing everyone lead by example, how they give back to the community every single week was just an honor to see,” said Gronkowski, “I just wanted to be a part of it and give back to the community in a positive way.”
Those who have received the award in the past include Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).
"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."
Gronk, never shy about cracking a joke, entertained the crowd like only he can.
“Who would have ever thought five years ago when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk that I’d be accepting this award?”
BOSTON - On Thursday, rosters will expand for major league teams, enabling them to add as many as 15 more players -- if they so choose.
The Sox, of course, won't be adding nearly that many. In fact, they'll probably only promote three or so players by Sept. 1, with additional players added after minor league seasons end on Labor Day.
The Sox call-ups will come in two waves. A look at who might be called up and when.
FOR FRIDAY: (the Red Sox are off Thursday)
* catcher Ryan Hanigan
* reliever Joe Kelly
* outfielder Bryce Brentz.
Hanigan is finishing up a rehab assignment and will provide the Sox with a third catcher, enabling John Farrell to either pinch-hit or pinch-run for one of his two catchers (Bryan Holaday and Sandy Leon) without worrying that he's putting himself in a potential bind.
Kelly would give the Red Sox another swing-and-miss bullpen option, though he's yet to establish himself as big league reliever.
Meanwhile Brentz would give the Sox another outfield option with the injury to Andrew Benintendi and further free up Brock Holt for infield duties.
FOR TUESDAY: (Day after International League season ends):
* reliever Heath Hembree
* infielder Deven Marrero
* reliever Noe Ramirez
Hembree has been effective in spurts and could offer some match-up options against righthanded hitters.
Marrero was a September call-up last year and could be a late-inning defensive replacement for Travis Shaw at third, or spell Xander Bogaerts at short if the Sox want to rest Bogaerts in one-sided games.
In the bullpen, Ramirez would serve as a long man in games in which a starter is knocked out early.