Sports

Raiders RB Rhodes suspended 4 games

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Oakland Raiders running back Dominic Rhodes was suspended Tuesday for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The league does not disclose reasons for substance abuse suspensions, but Rhodes pleaded guilty in the offseason to reckless driving charges in Indiana after prosecutors agreed to drop drunken driving charges against him.

Rhodes, who spent his six years in Indianapolis, signed a two-year contract in the offseason with the Raiders that could be worth up to $7.5 million. He is expected to split time with last year's starter LaMont Jordan as the Raiders try to improve a running game that averaged 3.9 yards per carry in 2006.

Rhodes started all 16 regular-season games last season, rushing for 641 yards and five touchdowns. After backing up Edgerrin James since entering the league, Rhodes shared the job last season with rookie Joseph Addai. He has 2,274 yards rushing in his career.

Rhodes will be able to participate in training camp and in all preseason games. His suspension will begin Aug. 31, the day after Oakland's final exhibition game, and he will be eligible to return Oct. 1, following the fourth game of the season against Miami. Rhodes will also miss games against Detroit, Denver and Cleveland.

Rhodes was pulled over by an Indiana state trooper in February for driving 81 mph in a 55-mph zone. He was originally charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

Rhodes pleaded guilty in March to reckless driving and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. But 178 were suspended and he received credit for two days.

n Bucs' Cox suspended 4 games: Special teams ace Torrie Cox of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was suspended Tuesday by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Cox's suspension begins Aug. 31. The defensive back and Pro Bowl special-teams alternate can participate in all preseason practices and games.

Cox is eligible to return to Tampa Bay's active roster on Oct. 1 after the team's fourth game against the Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers had re-signed Cox in March.

n Bears sign first-round pick Olsen: The Chicago Bears signed first-round draft pick Greg Olsen to a five-year contract on Tuesday, making the tight end from Miami the first player taken in the first two rounds to agree on a deal.

The 31st overall pick, Olsen was the first tight end taken in the opening round by the Bears since they chose Mike Ditka from Pittsburgh in 1961.

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