Alvin Harper, perhaps the most sought-after free-agent wide receiver, signed a four-year contract Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly worth $2.5 million a season.
The contract also included a $3-million signing bonus to woo Harper, 27, from the Dallas Cowboys, where he played four seasons, often in the shadow of receiver Michael Irvin.
Last season, Harper led the NFL in yards per catch--24.9 yards on 33 receptions, with eight touchdowns. His lifetime average is 20 yards per catch, best among active receivers.
The Washington Redskins signed Seattle Seahawk middle linebacker Rod Stephens to a three-year contract that is worth $1.6 million annually and includes a $1.5-million signing bonus. . . . Former Buffalo Bill tight end Pete Metzelaars, 34, has signed a three-year contract with the Carolina Panthers worth a reported $2.4 million. The Panthers also signed Cleveland linebacker Frank Stams and reportedly will sign linebacker Sam Mills, who made the Pro Bowl four times with New Orleans. . . . A group led by Chicago real estate investor Bruce Frey is seeking a Canadian Football League expansion team to play in Miami's Orange Bowl in 1996.
Defender Desmond Armstrong is expected to become the sixth player overall and the second U.S. national team player to sign with Major League Soccer, the U.S. professional league scheduled to begin play in April, 1996.
Steffi Graf beat Australia's Nicole Bradtke, 6-4, 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach (Fla.) Winter Championships. Bradtke led, 3-1, before the German star reeled off 10 of the next 11 games.
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash staved off two match points before beating Greg Rusedski, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3), in the second round of the $228,000 Copenhagen Open.
Lennox Lewis will fight Lionel Butler of Los Angeles May 13 at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. . . . Gerald McClellan was taken off sedation and was said to be "slowly but steadily improving" 12 days after surgeons removed a blood clot from his brain after a bout against Nigel Benn in London.
An NCAA investigation into Nevada Las Vegas' basketball program is not expected to bring about the so-called death penalty because it does not involve institutional control, Athletic Director Jim Weaver said. UNLV, serving a three-year probation for rules violations occurring during former coach Jerry Tarkanian's tenure, recently received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA involving players and agents. The incident occurred when Rollie Massimino was coach.
John Todryk, a University of Wisconsin defensive lineman, was acquitted of delivering cocaine to an undercover officer. . . . San Francisco State has disbanded its losing football team to free up funding for more women's athletics. . . . Doug Swingley checked into Ophir, Alaska, first to hold the lead, 90 miles from the halfway point of the 23rd Iditarod Dog Sled Race. . . . Ellen Breen of West Hills finished second to Elena Batalova in the ballet finale in Salen, Sweden, to win her third consecutive overall World Cup freestyle ski title.
A suit by former NBA player Dave Feitl, who claimed the Clippers promised to sign him in 1991 and then reneged, was rejected by a federal appeals court. . . . Mike Engleman of Team Shaklee and Susan Palmer of Van Wood R.T. finished first in the 2.1-mile prologue of the five-day Redlands Classic bicycle race.