Packers make Clay Matthews the NFL’s highest-paid linebacker

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews talks to reporters in the team's locker room after signing his new contract Wednesday.
(Jim Matthews / Associated Press)

The Green Bay Packers locked up star linebacker Clay Matthews with a long-term extension Wednesday as the team took care of one of its top two stars in need of new deals. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is also in negotiations for an extension.

Matthews posted a picture of himself on Twitter signing the deal, saying, “Trivial amongst the recent tragic news, but happy to continue my career in Green Bay!” The Packers did not announce terms of the extension, but’s Albert Breer reported the deal as a five-year extension worth $66 million. That’s just over $13 million per year. The NFL Network reported, via a person who had seen the deal, that Matthews received a $20.5-million signing bonus. The contract extension makes Matthews the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

With Matthews’ deal done, the Packers now can turn all of their attention to Rodgers, whose extension is expected to make him the highest-paid player in the league. Agent David Dunn represents Matthews and Rodgers, as well as defensive tackle B.J. Raji.


NASCAR punishes Penske Racing

NASCAR came down hard with far-reaching penalties against Penske Racing on Wednesday, with six-race suspensions for seven crew members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano along with $200,000 in fines for bringing unapproved parts to Texas Motor Speedway for last weekend’s race.

Each driver and car owner was docked 25 championship points, dropping Keselowski from second to fourth in the Cup standings and Logano from ninth 14th.

Along with the steep fines, Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe and Logano crew chief Todd Gordon were suspended for the next six championship points races and placed on probation for the rest of the calendar year. Also suspended and put on probation were Travis Geisler, who serves as team manager for both cars, and the individual car chiefs and team engineers for the two cars.


NASCAR also announced penalties for Martin Truex Jr. and Ron Hornaday Jr., but the Penske suspensions were by far the biggest news of the day. Penske Racing vowed to appeal, a move that would put any suspensions on hold.

NASCAR inspectors confiscated the original rear-end housing with suspension parts from Keselowski’s No. 2 Ford and Logano’s No. 22 before Saturday night’s race, causing a pre-race scramble for both teams. Logano was late to the starting grid because of additional inspections and had to start at the back of the field. He recovered to finish fifth and Keselowski was ninth.

NASCAR said both Penske cars used parts that had not been approved before getting to Texas.

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal extended his Monte Carlo Masters winning streak to 43 matches and top-ranked Novak Djokovic won despite a balky ankle at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco.

Nadal cruised past Marinko Matosevic, 6-1, 6-2. Djokovic defeated Mikhail Youzhny, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Djokovic twisted his ankle while playing for Serbia in the Davis Cup on April 7. He looked a bit tentative in the first set, but it didn’t appear to impede his movement.

Nadal will face Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the third round, and Djokovic will play Juan Monaco. Last year, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final.

New York Knicks forward Rasheed Wallace retired again from the NBA on Wednesday after he was unable to recover from a left foot injury.

It’s a damaging blow for the Knicks, who loaded up on veteran big men this season but have now lost two of them for good in Kurt Thomas and Wallace, and have gotten almost nothing from Marcus Camby.

Also, Amare Stoudemire’s status for the postseason is unclear as he recovers from right knee surgery.

The Knicks added another big man Wednesday by signing Earl Barron.

Wallace, 38, ended a two-year retirement this season to join the Knicks and play for Woodson, who was an assistant in Detroit when Wallace helped the Pistons win the 2004 NBA title.

Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. will leave the Wolverines early for the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-6 junior is the second Michigan player to declare for early entry to the draft this year. National player of the year Trey Burke announced his departure Sunday.

Florida Gulf Coast hired a men’s basketball coach to replace Andy Enfield, who left this month to become coach at USC. Joe Dooley was an assistant coach at Kansas.