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Sports briefs for Dec. 30, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Tebow hired as analyst for ESPN

ESPN announced on Monday that former Florida and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was hired as a TV studio analyst for the SEC Network.

Tebow will make his ESPN debut on Jan. 6 for the BCS National Championship Game.

Tebow’s primary responsibility will be as an analyst for SEC Nation, which will debut Aug. 28, 2014 and will resemble the ESPN’s College Gameday format, except with a focus on the Southeastern Conference.

ESPN noted in its announcement that Tebow’s role with ESPN will not preclude him from continuing to pursue playing opportunities in the NFL.

Tebow last played in an NFL game in 2012, when he got into 12 games for the New York Jets.

Falcons TE Gonzalez retires

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez officially retired Monday after 17 seasons in the NFL.

Gonzalez spent the majority of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, who made the announcement.

Gonzalez played in 270 regular-season games with 254 starts with the Chiefs (1997-08) and Falcons (2009-13). The 13-time Pro Bowler owns NFL career records for tight ends with 1,325 receptions, 15,127 receiving yards, 111 receiving touchdowns and 31 100-yard receiving games.

Gonzalez made 916 catches for 10,940 yards with 76 touchdowns and 26 100-yard games with the Chiefs, the highest totals of any player in franchise history.

Only guard Will Shields (224), kicker Nick Lowery (212) and punter Jerrel Wilson (203) played more games for the Chiefs than Gonzalez (188). He started 174 games, which ranks second in franchise history behind only Shields (223).

Gonzalez caught at least one pass in a franchise-record 131 consecutive games and finished with 211 consecutive games with a reception.

Broncos WR Welker cleared to play

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker was cleared to play after missing the last four regular-season games, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

Welker sustained concussions in Weeks 10 and 13 this season.

The Broncos (13-3) have a bye and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. They play the lowest-remaining seed in the divisional round Jan. 12.

Welker made 77 catches for 778 yards with 10 touchdowns in 13 games this season. He returned to practice on a limited basis last week but was not activated for the regular-season finale against the Oakland Raiders.

Spurs’ Parker apologizes for making anti-Semitic gesture

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker apologized on Monday after a three-year-old photo surfaced of him making the same anti-Semitic gesture that has landed former France striker Nicolas Anelka in trouble.

Known in France as a “quenelle,” the gesture is said to be a reverse Nazi salute and has been made famous by French comedian Dieudonne, who started using it in 2005.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Frenchman Parker said in a statement released by National Basketball Association’s Spurs.

“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful.

“Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions.”

Tuiasosopo to coach USC’s tight ends

Marques Tuiasosopo accepted an offer to become Southern Cal’s tight ends coach, the Seattle Times reported Sunday.

The former Washington quarterback was the Huskies’ interim coach after Steve Sarkisian left to coach the Trojans on Dec. 2. Tuiasosopo guided Washington to a 31-16 win over BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl on Friday.

Southern Cal was scheduled to formally announce Tuiasosopo’s hiring on Monday. The school is also expected to name former Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to serve in the same role.

Washington went 9-4 this season, its most wins since Tuiasosopo quarterbacked the Huskies to an 11-1 mark in 2000 and a win in the Rose Bowl.

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