National sports briefs: Chargers to keep L.T.
SAN DIEGO ó LaDainian Tomlinson is staying with the San Diego Chargers.
L.T. and the Chargers agreed to a renegotiated deal that gives the team salary cap relief. The Chargers confirmed the agreement Tuesday night. Financial terms weren’t immediately available.
The deal ends a two-month saga during which it looked like Tomlinson, the 2006 NFL MVP, could be finished with the Chargers.
Tomlinson had been due $24 million over the next three seasons, including $6,725,000 in 2009. His salary cap number would have been $8.8 million in 2009, including a prorated share of the signing bonus from his 2004 contract.
Also, linebacker Kevin Burnett agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Chargers. He leaves the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he played the past four seasons after being drafted in the second round in 2005 out of Tennessee.
* OWINGS MILLS, Md. ó Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis signed his seven-year contract, making official the agreement he struck last Wednesday with team officials. The contract is an incentive-laden deal, according to NFL Players Association records. Lewis will be paid $10 million in the first year.
* IRVING, Texas ó Dallas signed former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Gerald Sensabaugh to a one-year deal. He started 13 games last season and had a team-leading four picks.
* SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Quarterback Alex Smith is staying with the 49ers after agreeing to a restructured contract sharply reducing his base salary.
Smith was due to make nearly $10 million in the upcoming season under the deal he signed in 2005. The 49ers now have Smith under contract for the next two years at a salary more commensurate with his four up-and-down years with the club.
The 49ers signed free agent defensive lineman Demetric Evans and re-signed return specialist Allen Rossum.
* ST. LOUIS ó Orlando Pace has been released by the Rams in a move that cleared $6 million in cap space.
The Rams also are considering releasing receiver Torry Holt. That move that would save them an additional $8 million in cap space.
* FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó The Atlanta Falcons bulked up their depleted linebacker corps, signing free agent Mike Peterson. He played the last six seasons with the Jaguars.
* ASHBURN, Va. ó Linebacker Alfred Fincher re-signed with the Washington Redskins.
* KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó The Chiefs have come to terms with free agent cornerback Travis Daniels, who played in Cleveland last year.
* FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ó Long snapper Nathan Hodel has signed with New England, a move that fills a vacancy created when Lonie Paxton signed with Denver.
Cornerback Leigh Bodden agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots.
* EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó The Vikings have re-signed cornerback Benny Sapp to a one-year contract.
* ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz says the team is a long way from making a decision about the first overall pick in April’s draft.
The Lions are preparing to attend Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford’s pro day. Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith recently visited Lions headquarters, and Schwartz raved about the versatility of Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. Another possibility is Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.
* ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó A Florida newspaper reports the search for two NFL players and two other men missing in the Gulf of Mexico cost the U.S. Coast Guard $1.6 million.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that the three-day search covered more than 20,000 square miles and required 230 combined hours of Coast Guard aircraft and boats.
Searchers never found Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith, who played for the Detroit Lions last season and was standout at N.C. State, and former USF player William Bleakley.
* BUFORD, Ga. ó Anyone in the market for an eight-bedroom, 11-bath home owned by one of the most notorious quarterbacks in NFL history?
Well, it’s still available.
Michael Vick’s gated-community home in suburban Atlanta went up for auction with a minimum price of $3.2 million ó a half-million dollars less than Vick paid before he moved into the luxurious dwelling in 2005. But no one showed with the qualifying payment of $160,000, which was required just to start the bidding.
* RICHMOND, Va. ó Federal authorities are opposing a plan to bring Vick from a Kansas prison to testify at his bankruptcy hearing in Virginia.
The U.S. attorney’s office says the suspended NFL star can be made available to testify by video from the federal prison.
* POMONA, Calif. ó Former NFL place-kicker Tony Zendejas was acquitted Tuesday of drugging a woman at his San Dimas restaurant and raping her.
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said quarterback Jon Richt, the son of Georgia coach Mark, has left the team and intends to transfer.
While Clemson has a vacancy at quarterback with the departure of two-year starter Cullen Harper, Richt was not expected to be in contention with front-runners Willy Korn and Kyle Parker.
* KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Lane Kiffin feels like he’s waited forever to see what his Tennessee Volunteers can do on the field.
After more than three months of recruiting, meeting with fans and donors and waiting, the new coach opened spring practice Tuesday.
“This is what it’s about,” said Kiffin, who’s been on the job since Dec. 1. “This is when it gets really exciting and really fun because we get to really do what we’re here to do, which is coach. The recruiting is fun, and the going speaking everywhere and meeting everybody, that’s fun, but this is a whole other level. This is what I love to do.”
* SYRACUSE, N.Y. ó A statue of former Syracuse running back Ernie Davis is back on campus five months after it was removed to correct historical inaccuracies. The permanent memorial to the first black Heisman Trophy recipient was reinstalled Tuesday morning.
The original, unveiled in September, mistakenly showed Davis in Nike cleats and carrying a modern football and helmet.
* COLUMBIA, Mo. ó Missouri has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of former linebacker Aaron O’Neal, who collapsed on the field during a 2005 preseason workout.
* COLUMBIA, Mo. ó Missouri linebackers coach Dave Steckel has been promoted to defensive coordinator.
NYON, Switzerland ó Fox will replace ESPN as the European Champions League pay broadcaster in Central and South America next season under a three-season agreement.
* MILAN ó David Beckham hurt his right ankle during practice with AC Milan, although the injury does not appear serious.
The injury comes three days after Beckham extended his loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy through the end of the Serie A season. AC Milan said it will evaluate Beckham over the next few days.