The Buccaneers' Leonard Fournette runs past the Colts' Bobby Okereke during...

The Buccaneers' Leonard Fournette runs past the Colts' Bobby Okereke during the second half of an NFL game on Nov. 28, 2021, in Indianapolis. Credit: AP/Michael Conroy


Fournette back with Bucs

Shortly after completing a visit with the New England Patriots on Monday night, running back Leonard Fournette agreed to terms with the Bucs on a three-year, $21 million contract.

Fournette, 27, had the best overall season of his career in 2021, rushing for 812 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 69 passes for 454 yards and and two scores.

Fournette tweeted last week that he deserved to be paid among the top five running backs in the NFL.

“I know what I want it’s going to take time but I also believe for these last 2 years I’ve played like a top 5 back, so I’m just trusting God and enjoying this time grinding and with my family,” Fournette wrote.

The five highest-paid running backs are the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey ($16 million average), Saints’ Alvin Kamara ($15 million) Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million), Vikings’ Dalvin Cook ($12.6 million) and Titans’ Derrick Henry ($12.5 million).

Vikings get Smith

The Minnesota Vikings and free agent outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith agreed to terms on a three-year, $42 million contract , giving the team a pass-rushing boost from a player recently let go by their biggest rival.

Smith, who spent the last three seasons with Green Bay, has incentives to earn up to $47 million. Smith, 29, was a Pro Bowl pick in 2019 and 2020 with a combined 26 sacks in 32 games, but he had a major back injury last season and appeared in only one game for the NFC North champions.


Nadak out four-to-six weeks

Rafael Nadal will be sidelined for four to six weeks because of a rib injury, putting in jeopardy his preparations for the French Open in two months.

Nadal said Tuesday he underwent exams after arriving in Spain from the United States and results showed he has a stress fracture on one of his left ribs.

The injury was sustained in the semifinals at Indian Wells against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal then lost in the final to Taylor Fritz in two sets on Sunday.

“This is not good news and I didn’t expect it,” Nadal wrote on Twitter. “I’m devastated and sad because it comes after a great start to the season.”

Nadal was 20-0 to begin the season, including winning the Australian Open, before losing to Fritz, 6-3, 7-6 (5), at the hard-court tournament in California. It was the third-best start to a season since 1990 on the ATP Tour. Nadal also won titles in Melbourne and Acapulco.


Oakland Hills CC lands 2034 U.S. Open

Oakland Hills Country Club, reeling from a fire that destroyed its century-old clubhouse last month, has landed the U.S. Open in 2034 and 2051. “It’s a great day,“ said Rick Palmer, president of the Oakland Hills. The USGA made the announcement at the Detroit Athletic Club. The governing body also said Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, previously scheduled to have the U.S. Open in 2034, will host the major in 2033. Oakland Hills has hosted six U.S. Opens and has been trying for years to attract a seventh, and first since 1996. The club has hosted a slew of other significant professional and amateur golf events, including three PGA Championships and the 2004 Ryder Cup.

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