NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thanks fans for support

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NEW YORK — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is thanking fans for their support in a postseason letter and promises the league will pursue ways to enhance the game on and off the field.

Two days after the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI, Goodell said Tuesday the league is proud of the quality of the sport that attracted record crowds this season.

An estimated 111.3 million people watched the Giants’ victory, making it the most-watched television show in U.S. history.

Goodell says the NFL will continue to evolve and invites people to look at its new Web site, www.NFL.com/evolution, which highlights the history of how the game has changed.

Goodell says, “Our commitment to improve everything we do is ongoing.”

WILLIAMS RETIRING: Ricky Williams is retiring from the NFL.

Again.

The 34-year-old Williams told the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday he won’t be back to fulfill the second year of a contract he signed in August. Playing as a backup to Ray Rice this year, Williams ran for 444 yards and scored two touchdowns.

He also became the 26th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards rushing, reaching the plateau in the season finale at Cincinnati.

“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life,” Williams said. “I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly, fun. …

“As for what’s next, I am excited about all the opportunities ahead – continuing my education, running The Ricky Williams Foundation and whatever other opportunities present themselves.”

Williams retired previously before the 2004 season when facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. He returned in 2005, then left to spend the 2006 season with Toronto of the Canadian Football League.

GIANTS: Tight end Jake Ballard tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during the second half of Super Bowl, the team announced on Tuesday.

An MRI discovered Ballard’s injury, and with the help of crutches, he was able to participate in Tuesday’s parade and ceremonies in New York and New Jersey.

BILLS: Kicker Rian Lindell avoided free agency by re-signing with Buffalo.

Lindell will return for a 10th season in Buffalo after signing a four-year contract worth about $11 million.

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