Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Ravens sign kicker Tucker to record extension
The Baltimore Ravens signed Justin Tucker to a four-year extension Wednesday that makes him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history. The contract keeps Tucker in Baltimore through the 2023 season and is worth $23.05 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed in the first two years and an $8 million signing bonus, ESPN reported.
Columbus eager to get back to business after stunning hockey world
The Columbus Blue Jackets are through marveling at their stunning sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning as they set their sights on a second-round Stanley Cup Playoffs clash with the Boston Bruins. Columbus stunned the hockey world by eliminating Tampa Bay in what was the franchise's maiden playoff series win and also the first four-game sweep of a regular-season National Hockey League champion in an opening-round series.
Notebook: Fifth-year options picked up on Elliott, Buckner
The Dallas Cowboys exercised the fifth-year option on running back Ezekiel Elliott's contract, keeping him in place through the 2020 season. Elliott is set to make $3.85 million in 2019. He figures to receive around $10 million in the option season though the Cowboys have stated they intend to negotiate a rich extension with him.
NBA roundup: Lillard's 50 points, buzzer-beater bounce Thunder
Damian Lillard capped a 50-point game by sinking a long 3-pointer as time expired to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 118-115 victory over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night and a five-game series win. Lillard set a franchise single-game playoff scoring record as the third-seeded Trail Blazers clinched the first-round Western Conference playoff series despite trailing by 15 points with 7:45 to play. They will next play the winner of the Denver-San Antonio series.
Raiders running back Lynch to retire again
Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch plans to retire for a second time, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lynch, who turned 33 on Monday, played the past two seasons for his hometown Raiders after sitting out the 2016 season. He rushed for 376 yards on 90 carries in six games in 2018 before suffering a groin/core muscle injury in Week 6 against the Seattle Seahawks that would prove to be his final game of the season.
Formula One gives up on race in downtown Miami: Herald
Formula One and local organizers have given up on plans to hold a race in downtown Miami because of the disruption for businesses and residents, the Miami Herald reported on Wednesday. It said they were now looking into an alternative race location on land next to the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team, to the north of the Florida city.
Jet lagged Azarenka ousts Zvonareva, Kvitova through to Stuttgart quarters
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka made a winning return to Stuttgart with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Russia's Vera Zvonareva in what was an engrossing battle in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Wednesday. Azarenka, a former world number one, was pushed in the opening set, especially by Zvonareva's first serve, but fought back to break her four times in the match. The last time the pair met was in 2011 when they were both ranked in the top 10.
Nadal advances in Barcelona after dropping set to Mayer
World number two Rafael Nadal dropped a set at the Barcelona Open for the first time in four years before advancing to the last 16, beating Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday. The Spaniard surrendered a 5-3 lead in the first set and then spurned two set points in the tiebreak, which Mayer, ranked 63 in the world, edged thanks to an impressive crosscourt forehand winner.
WADA applauds unprecedented CAS ruling on Ukrainian sprinters
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Wednesday welcomed a recent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision on two Ukrainian sprinters that it said sets a new precedent for catching athletes who choose to cheat. Olympic bronze medal winner Olesia Povh and Olha Zemliak were both convicted of using a prohibited substance based on the detection of non-physiological levels of testosterone in their blood serum samples.
Combined NCAA championships planned for 2020, 2023
The NCAA will crown the men's basketball champions from Divisions I, II and III in Atlanta in 2020, with the women to follow the same combined format in Dallas in 2023. The 2020 NCAA Men's Final Four will be April 4 and 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, with the Division II and Division III championships decided April 5 at State Farm Arena.