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Chargers keep Sproles, release DL Williams

Speedy little Darren Sproles is staying with the San Diego Chargers after all. The Chargers placed the maximum first- and third-round tender on Sproles yesterday, one of two surprise moves in the hours before free agency began.

The Chargers also released tackle Jamal Williams, a 12-year veteran who has been the run-stuffing anchor of the defensive line.

Williams suffered an arm injury in the 2009 season opener and missed the rest of the year. He'll turn 34 next month and also has a history of knee injuries.

Sproles was offered a contract for $7,283,000. If the five-year veteran signs an offer sheet with another team, San Diego will have the right to match the offer or receive first- and third-round draft picks as compensation for losing him.

Austin likely to return

The Dallas Cowboys gave restricted free agent Miles Austin the highest possible tender offer, requiring any team that signs the Pro Bowl receiver to give up a first- and third-round pick as compensation. The move likely means Austin will return to Dallas next season.

Bengals release ColesReceiver Laveranues Coles, a former Jet, is a free agent again after one disappointing season with the Cincinnati Bengals, who released the 32-year-old receiver exactly one year after he signed a four-year deal . . . In the first major moves under the new brain trust of coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen, the Redskins released seven players 30 or older, including receiver Antwaan Randle El.

- AP


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