NFL Notes: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Makes Madden Cover

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rob Gronkowski parties almost as well as he plays football, and now he's showing off both sides of his larger-than-life personality as a cover model.

Gronkowski was selected for the cover of the Madden NFL 17 on Thursday. At the same time, he'll be appearing on the front of GQ magazine along with model Hailey Clauson.

Gronkowski said that just making it into the video game his rookie year was a thrill.

"Now, going into my seventh year and being on the cover, it's surreal," he said, rattling off the names of previous cover selections from memory. "You're joining an elite category. Just joining that category, it's something you'll have the rest of your life," (see full story).

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Seahawks: Lockette steps away after injury
RENTON, Wash. -- Ricardo Lockette arrived in the NFL with zero fanfare, just another undrafted free agent with a specific skill who was being given a chance.

He stepped away from football Thursday, retiring from the Seattle Seahawks with a formal news conference in an auditorium packed with staff, former teammates and coaches.

The turnout spoke to the lasting impact Lockette had in Seattle -- a story that can't be told through statistics -- before retiring because of a severe neck injury suffered last season in a game against Dallas.

"My teammates helped me to be who I was and we inspire each other and we became a family," Lockette said. "So it's not that I'm surprised that they're here. I appreciate them being here, but that's what family does. Family sticks up for each other in times of need. This is a bittersweet day and I'm glad I can enjoy it with my family," (see full story).

Packers: 3rd-round pick Fackrell signed
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers third-round draft pick Kyler Fackrell has signed his rookie contract.

General manager Ted Thompson announced the linebacker's signing on Thursday. The 6-foot-5 Fackrell hopes to break into Green Bay's rotation on the edge, led by pass rusher Clay Matthews.

The drafting of Fackrell might make it less likely that the Packers bring back outside rusher Mike Neal. The six-year veteran started 15 games last season.

Fullback John Kuhn is another notable Packers veteran who became a free agent after the season. He has not yet signed with a team.

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