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Kevin Martin, a Canadian curling star whose career highlights include an Olympic gold medal and a world championship, will soon throw his last rock. Cheap Yankees Jerseys . The Edmonton skip announced his retirement Friday at the Grand Slam of Curlings Players Championship in Summerside, P.E.I. Martin plans to finish the event before becoming a spokesman for the series. The decision to retire came after the Canadian Olympic curling trials in December when Martins rink failed to book a ticket to the Sochi Games. Martin had make an official announcement when the season was over, but that changed when news surfaced last month that second Marc Kennedy and lead Ben Hebert were joining national champion Kevin Koes rink. But retirement has been on the 47-year-olds mind since winning gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. "I guess when it comes to sports you kind of know when its time," said Martin. "I thought about retiring after Vancouver and we ended up deciding to play and try to get to Sochi and trained extremely hard in the last year and came close. But (Brad) Jacobs ended up winning, which is great, but that was it. "Im not trying for another four-year term. Right after the trials, thats when I told the team and I phoned my sponsors. Everyone knew, I just didnt want to announce anything at the time. Thats not really proper." The affable Martin, nicknamed "The Bear," has been a powerhouse in Canadian curling since making his junior debut in 1984. He won a Canadian junior curling championship with Alberta in 1985 and never looked back. He leaves the sport with a glittering resume that includes a world championship in 2008, a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and four gold medals at the Brier. He also holds the record for Grand Slam titles with 17, including seven Players Championships. Martins departure from the sport wont coincide with a drop in results. He said it was important to end his career at a high point. "Absolutely. Its really important to me that I wasnt one of those guys that, you know, youre sliding down the hill there. I just dont want to be that guy," he said. "You know the trials, I felt so good after the trials. Its about the best Ive ever played I think. About a 93 per cent average for the week. "So I was really good. So I was happy, not happy to not win, but that it was a good strong effort because Im certainly not waiting around four more years for sure." Martin conceded his career highlight was his perfect run to gold in Vancouver. But a 20-year-old memory also stood out for Martin, who recalled rallying to beat Ed Werenich in the 1994 Players Championship. He remembers the losses, too. Losing out in the 2002 Olympic final stung, but Martin considers the bronze-medal match against the United States at the 1992 Albertville Games as his biggest defeat. "I dont really think we should have lost that game," he said. "And now of course, all these years later, which is many years, and I think to myself, geez, win that game and I would have had won one of each -- a gold, a silver and a bronze. Theres not many people who have that." Martin, who began playing at age seven, also has the benefit of being able to reflect on a sport that has evolved significantly during his career. Television time and corporate sponsorship have increased, ice conditions have improved, the international game is far more competitive and the players, according to Martin, look more like athletes. "The conditions have changed dramatically, and therefore the training and the precision of the athlete is completely changed as well. Its just not the same," he said. "Its so much better now because the precisions there. The athletes are in phenomenal shape." The demands of the ice are almost over for Martin. Hes looking forward to the broadcast booth, representing the sport and taking a break from practising two or three hours every day. Getting to spend more time with his three children will also be a welcome change. "It was pretty interesting for them today, because with the announcement coming tonight they dont usually phone and talk to me during curling events of course. It was a pretty big day for the Martin family, for sure." David Wells Jersey . While he was away, it was the division-rival Baltimore Orioles conducting a little business of their own, scooping up Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday evening to a reported four-year, $50-million contract. Austin Romine Jersey . -- The road to the Masters got off to a bumpy start Sunday for Tiger Woods when he withdrew from the Honda Classic with what he said was a lower back injury.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded Thursday night to criticisms by NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who contended a double standard exists when it comes to the league doling out punishments. In comments to ESPN earlier Thursday, Smith specifically addressed the delayed discipline of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has yet to be punished by Goodell after being arrested in March for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated and while in the possession of prescription drugs and $29,000 in cash. Irsay was formally charged Friday. "The personal conduct policy applies to commissioners, owners, players, coaches," Goodell told reporters at the New England Patriots team facility. "It applies to all of us. We all have a responsibility to do things the right way. There are several players that we havent taken any action on, either. "We like to get the facts, we like to be thorough and we like to understand them. Charges were just filed last week. I dont believe theres a credibility gap." Goodell was at Foxborough to speak at a football safety clinic for mothers, a program aimed at furthering safer play at all levels of the game. Smith pointed toward Goodells swift and sometimes harsh action when dealing with troubled players in the past. "The commissioner understands that there is a significant credibility gap that exists in the National Football League," Smith said. "What troubles our players is the speed and the deliberateness of the punishment that they have seen in the past when it comes to a player. "There isnt the same speed or deliberate action when it comes to an owner, and thats a problem." Goodell said the league has yet to collect all the facts on Irsays case. "You can judge us when we make our final determinations, which you undoubtedly will, and so will everybody else," he said. "Thats fair. But dont make judgments until weve had an opportunity to do whats in the best interest of everyone, which is getting the facts. Everybody wants process. DeMaurice Smmith talks about process all the time. Bobby Murcer Jersey. "The process is important." The safety program organized by the Patriots comes more than a week after a group of retired players filed another lawsuit against the league, accusing team doctors and trainers of supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that allowed them to keep playing despite injuries, but led to serious complications later in life. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 500 former players, charges the NFL with placing profits ahead of players health. Goodell addressed the leagues continued role in the education and pursuit of safer play. "We want you to learn the right techniques from the moment you play, regardless if you play one year, two years, or if you play flag football," he said. "I think our popularity, the platform we have, gives us an opportunity and its part of our responsibility to make the game safer, not only at the NFL level to protect our players, but also at every other level of football, and frankly, sports in general." Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the health and safety of his players have never been greater in his 20-plus years of owning the team. "I know Im a better human being from having played the game, and when I played, it wasnt as safe as it is now," he said. "So, Im a big believer in the lessons you learn in football." Kraft also was asked about the arraignment Wednesday of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty to two more counts of first-degree murder stemming from a 2012 double homicide. Hernandez already is facing charges for the 2013 slaying of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was released by the team following his arrest last summer. "A year ago when he was arrested, we cut him from the team, I made a statement," said Kraft, who at the time said the organization was "duped" if the accusations were true. "I was very clear about it, and you can go back and read what I said then, and thats the way that I continuously feel." ' ' '

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