College Blog Blog Network

Michael Phelps ‘humbled’ to be U.S. flag bearer during opening ceremonies in Rio

08.03.16 at 12:24 pm ET
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Michael Phelps has done a lot during the past four Olympic Games, but in his fifth and final Olympics in Rio he will do something he has never done before: participate in the opening ceremonies and be the bearer of the U.S. flag.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

“I’m honored to be chosen, proud to represent the U.S., and humbled by the significance of carrying the flag and all it stands for,” Phelps said.

Phelps, who is the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, is the second swimmer to be the U.S. flag bearer. Gary Hall was the first, at Montreal in 1976.

Phelps has never participated in the opening ceremonies because it requires athletes to spend large amounts of time on their feet. In the last three Olympics, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps’s first event, was the day after the ceremonies. This year Phelps will not be participating in the 400 IM.

“For Sydney, I just wanted to make the team. For Athens, I wanted to win gold for my country. For Beijing, I wanted to do something nobody else had done [breaking Mark Spitz’s record with eight gold medals]. In London, I wanted to make history,” Phelps said. “And now, I want to walk in the opening ceremony, take it all in, represent America in the best possible way and make my family proud.”

Following the London Games, Phelps said that he was retiring, but after a year away from the pool he decided he wanted to return for one final Olympics. Phelps, 31, will be competing in three individual events and might be a member of all three relay teams.

The opening ceremonies will take place Friday night at Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez ‘at peace with myself’ as rumors swirl about his possible release

08.03.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Diamondbacks, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Mets at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, United States vs. New Zealand, 6 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, Sweden vs. South Africa, 11:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, Canada vs. Australia, 2 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, Brazil vs. China, 3 p.m. (USA Network)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, Zimbabwe vs. Germany, 5 p.m. (USA Network)
Olympics: Women’s soccer, France vs. Colombia, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Champions Cup, Barcelona vs Leicester City, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions Cup, Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions Cup, AC Milan vs. Chelsea, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

— Following a report in the New York Daily News that the Yankees might soon release Alex Rodriguez, manager Joe Girardi said he doesn’t anticipate the seldom-used designated hitter getting additional playing time in the immediate future.

For his part, Rodriguez said he will accept whatever fate befalls him.

“No matter what happens, I’m at peace with myself,” Rodriguez said Tuesday, adding: “I think I can contribute. I think I can help out in the clubhouse, but if not, I have two beautiful daughters waiting for me in Miami.”

Rodriguez, 41, is four home runs shy of 700 and 18 behind Babe Ruth for third place on the all-time list, but he’s hitting just .204 and playing for a team that is embarking on a youth movement.

“In maybe the near future, do I see him getting a ton of at-bats?” Girardi said before Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field, which Rodriguez ended by flying out as a pinch-hitter. “No. I probably don’t, because of some of the changes that we’re possibly going to make here.”

Owed about $27 million for the rest of this season and next year, Rodriguez has started one game since July 22 — and he struck out four times that day. Tuesday’s fly out was the first time in six at-bats Rodriguez put a ball in play.

— Philadelphia has a reputation as a city with sports fans who speak their mind, and that behavior was costly for one such fan Tuesday night.

A man sitting 14 rows back of the visiting dugout at the Giants-Phillies game was ejected after riding umpire Bob Davidson.

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Yankees reportedly considering releasing Alex Rodriguez as part of rebuild

08.02.16 at 11:16 am ET
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Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

The Yankees soon could be parting ways with one of their most well-known hitters.

According to the New York Daily News, there is a chance the fourth-place Yankees release designated hitter Alex Rodriguez by the end of the season, as the team continues to overhaul its roster. New York, 6 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East, traded away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova in the past week as part of its rebuild.

It might make sense for the team to cut Rodriguez, 41, who clearly won’t be a part of the Yankee’s rebuilding plans. The three-time AL MVP is batting just .205 and has seen his playing time reduced. He’s had just 29 at-bats since the end of the All-Star break.

Asked about the possibility of no longer being with the team after Monday’s 6-5 win over the Mets, Rodriguez said he does not want to part ways with the organization.

“I hope not,” Rodriguez told the Daily News. “I want to play and think I can make a difference on the field and in the clubhouse.”

Rodriguez is owed the remainder of his $21 million salary this year and $21 million guaranteed in 2017, which complicates his situation. However, the Yankees releasing Rodriguez would prove that the team has set its sights on its improved farm system and the future. The Yankees have not won the AL East since 2012.

“A-Rod is a choice for our manager and coaching staff as they try to dissect every day what’s the best lineup to put out there,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said when asked what the team’s recent moves means for Rodriguez, who is four home runs shy of 700. “He’s going to do everything he continues to do to try to put himself in a position to succeed and then leave the decision making to the field staff if there’s opportunities to play or not.

“The answer to that’s easy, I guess. We evaluate everything on a daily and weekly basis. We’re always trying to do the right thing. We’re always trying to do the best thing. Nothing has changed there.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Oft-injured RB Reggie Bush ‘full strength,’ signs 1-year deal with Bills

08.02.16 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Athletics at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)


Reggie Bush

Reggie Bush

— Reggie Bush is looking forward to proving he has something left, signing a one-year contract with the Bills to help at running back and kick returner.

Bush, 31, tore his meniscus ligament while playing for the Rams last season, his 10th in the NFL, and acknowledged he was concerned “my career could be over.” Now the one-time Dolphin — who has appeared in just 29 games over the past three seasons due to injuries — is back in the AFC East, passing a physical Monday morning and meeting with Bills executives before making it official.

“I’m in shape. I’m full strength. I’m ready to go,” Bush told reporters Monday at Bills training camp in Rochester, New York. “It feels good to be back on a team and back to playing football.”

Buffalo will be missing backup running back Karlos Williams for the first four games of the season due to a suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Rex Ryan’s team also did not have a true return specialist last season.

“We are always looking to improve our roster,” general manager Doug Whaley said. “We had targeted Reggie because we feel a player of his caliber can help us in a variety of areas.”

Led by starting running back LeSean McCoy, the Bills led the league in rushing last season.

“I’m a fan,” Bush said of McCoy. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool to have both of us back there making some plays.”

— Outfielder Yasiel Puig’s future with the Dodgers is uncertain, as the former All-Star appeared targeted for the minors after Los Angeles failed to find another team willing to make a deal for him, while bringing in Josh Reddick from the Athletics at the trade deadline.

There were reports Monday that Puig was upset and refused to join the team for its trip to Colorado, but manager Dave Roberts said it was the team’s decision that Puig stay home. Puig’s agent said he was told the Cuban slugger likely would be sent down.

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Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Reggie Bush, Yasiel Puig,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Despite trade deadline sell-off, Yankees manager Joe Girardi insists, ‘This organization never waves a white flag’

08.01.16 at 8:21 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Basketball: Exhibition, United States vs. Nigeria, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Exhibition, Liverpool vs. AS Roma, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

— Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to insist his team has a chance this season, but the actions of the past few days have made it clear that the team has begun a rebuilding process with an eye toward the distant future.

Less than a week after shipping closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for four prospects, the Yankees continued to dismantle their heralded bullpen, sending Andrew Miller to the Indians for another four minor leaguers. And there are rumors that veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran is on the block (with the Red Sox among the teams said to have interest).

General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged that the days of loading up through free agency have passed, as MLB rules changes have made that strategy a less viable one.

“The chessboard that’s lined up that we’re playing is not the same chessboard that we were playing back when I just started in the late ’80s,” Cashman told reporters Sunday after the Miller trade. “It’s a recognition of how the industry’s completely different today and the operating standards are completely different today, and there’s just a sounder recognition of that. And if you want to become a super team, there’s certain ways to go about that that you have to strongly consider. And although they may be tough decisions, the one thing the Yankees have always stood for and do stand for is the effort in trying to become a super team.”

Added Cashman: “We’re trying to get back to a situation where we can build an uber team and a sustainable one. So we’ll see where it takes us, but that’s the effort that we’ve got going on here, and I think fans should be excited by that.”

After their second straight loss to the last-place Rays, the fourth-place Yankees are 52-52 and in danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time since 1992. But that’s not how Girardi views it.

“I don’t ever wave a white flag. This organization never waves a white flag,” the manager said. “I don’t view it as that, and they better not view it in that room as that.”

— Warriors forward Draymond Green’s eventful offseason continued Sunday when he posted a picture of his penis on Snapchat, then took it down and apologized.

“It was a situation where it was meant to be a private message and kind of hit the wrong button, you know?” Green said before the U.S. Olympic team’s practice in Houston. “Like I said, it was meant to be private, but we’re all one click away from placing something in the wrong place and I suffered from that this morning.”

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Read More: Andrew Miller, brian cashman, Draymond Green, Joe Girardi

Solving ‘The Night Of': Naz answers call of the wild

08.01.16 at 7:41 am ET
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Photo: Riz Ahmed (Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO).

Photo: Riz Ahmed (Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO).

Sunday’s episode of “The Night Of,” entitled “The Call of the Wild,” marked the midway point of the show. Since the premiere episode — which right now is easily the best single episode of television you are going to see on any network — each week has slowed down further and further to focus on very specific details of the characters orbiting the murder of Andrea Cornish.

Episode 2 focused the man in charge with putting Naz behind bars, Detective Box, and the man who stumbled his way into defending him, John Stone. Episode 3 focused on the sharks circling Naz and his family — his new high-profile, Nancy Grace stand-in, Allison Crowe — and the resident kingpin of Rikers Island, “The King of Queens” Freddy Knight. Episode 4 was all about Naz navigating the waters in prison and his defense testing the waters too see if they were going to jump in and actually defend him or reach for the lowest hanging branch — a plea bargain good for a 15-year sentence — and get out of the river before they even get wet.

On the plus side, after this much time spent on character development the audience knows exactly with whom we are dealing. We should be able to guess moves our characters are going to make, which makes the subtle twists and turns the plot takes one of the more engaging hours on television. This show isn’t riding and dying with surprising the audience; it is cashing in on the richness of execution and anticipation.

On the minus side, we haven’t seen anything about with what we are dealing. We haven’t seen any evidence be analyzed, or the cops formulating theories outside of, “The dude with the knife in his pocket did it.” Our collective TV sleuth hats are sitting on the couch collecting dust. If this show were on NBC, Olivia Benson would have had this thing delivered to the D.A. with a bow on it and we’d be focused on a recap of “American Ninja Warrior” right now.

It would be easy to dismiss the last three episodes as being boring, but they weren’t. There is a big difference between “boring” TV and TV that “takes its time.” We’re dealing with the latter. If that’s not your bag, let me point you in the direction of the USA Network and their daytime block of procedural television; the new season of “Suits” looks LIT.

While Sunday night’s explorations of just how far beneath the earth’s crusts lay John Stone’s life prospects was fun and insanely dark, the episode was made by Naz and Freddy’s discussion of prison literature — specifically regarding “The Call of the Wild.” For those of you who haven’t had to bang out a book report on this junior high school summer reading list staple in a solid 20 years, this one is for you:

“The Call of the Wild” is the story of a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home and sold into service time and time again in the turn-of-the-century wilderness of Canada. Throughout the story, Buck becomes progressively more and more feral as his situation becomes more and more dire. The title, “The Call of the Wild,” refers to Buck’s necessity to abandon his behaviors learned as a domesticated dog and embrace his animal instincts to not only survive but become an alpha in the wild.

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Thinking Out Loud: Linebackers Patriots’ strongest position — for now

07.29.16 at 5:45 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Antowain Smith.

— Happy New Year! Well, it’s what we’ve been waiting for since, oh, last January, right? Football is back, but with a few twists and turns along the way to always keep things interesting.

— Attendance on opening day of Patriots training camp: 12,393. More than Tampa Bay can draw for most Rays baseball games. Twenty states and at least four foreign countries represented among the fandom. Nope, nothing to see here.

— There’s the always-alarming physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which really means guys like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will be OK — but the team is taking little chance to get them injured before playing in games that actually mean something. Injuries kept NE from a possible fifth Lombardi Trophy more than anything else last winter.

— And for the first time in 15 years, New England will head into a regular season preparing to start someone at quarterback not named Tom Brady. Brady’s falling on the sword in taking the four-game suspension from the NFL means Jimmy Garoppolo gets the spotlight, the attention and a lot of reps over the next month. It’s his chance to shine and to set himself up — if not in New England, certainly somewhere else — for a solid career.

— Evaluating the Pats’ strongest position heading into camp, there’s a lot of depth along the defensive front. Even with Chandler Jones’ departure for Arizona, there’s size in the middle and potentially more speed on the ends.

— But for pure talent? I’ll take the linebacking one-two punch of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. Both can be free agents after this year, so expect new contracts to be part of their storylines until deals get done. Or not. Collins wasn’t present for opening day Thursday, but CSNNE’s Tom Curran says it wasn’t contract-related. Bill Belichick says he was excused.

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Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Struggling Jonathan Papelbon pulled in 9th inning of Nationals’ win

07.29.16 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Royals at Rangers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
Basketball: Women’s exhibition, United States vs. Canada, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Basketball: Men’s exhibition, United States vs. Venezuela, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)


Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon

— Nationals manager Dusty Baker has run out of patience with Jonathan Papelbon, and on Thursday night he pulled the veteran closer in the ninth inning after Papelbon gave up a single and walk while trying to protect a three-run lead over the Giants.

Papelbon has 19 saves but suffered two losses in the last week, giving up a combined six runs in those games. With the Nationals battling the Cubs for the best record in the National League, Baker did not want to risk another setback.

“I’m sure he felt badly, but I had to do what I had to do to win the ballgame,” Baker said. “I’m sure that Pap didn’t like it, but I’m sure that he understands.”

Oliver Perez took over and allowed a walk to load the bases. That was followed by a grounder to third that looked like it could be a game-ending double play, but a defensive miscue at second allowed all runners to advance without an out. Perez then struck out Denard Span, and Shawn Kelley was called on for the final out, which he got by striking out Angel Pagan.

Papelbon, whose fastball topped out at 91 mph once, took the team-first approach after the 4-2 win.

“The object is to win the game,” the former Red Sox closer said. “Do what you can do to win the game.”

Added Papelbon: “Turn the page and prepare like you always have every day and go out and be successful. You can’t help the outcome or worry about it, you just go like you do every day.”

— Speaking publicly for the first time since his NFL suspension for substance abuse was lifted this week, Browns receiver Josh Gordon insisted he’s learned from his mistakes.

“I definitely think I’m a different person,” he told reporters in Berea, Ohio, where the team’s training camp began. “If you haven’t changed over a period of time, it’s definitely a bad thing. I think me standing here is a testament to that.”

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Gordon, Rolando McClain,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly agrees to 1-year deal to return to Jets

07.28.16 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Cubs, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLS: All-Stars vs. Arsenal, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)


— The Ryan Fitzpatrick drama finally appears to be over, as the Jets reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth between $12 million and $15 million with the 33-year-old Harvard product as the team prepares for Thursday’s first practice of training camp.

Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, perhaps Fitzpatrick’s most ardent supporter this offseason, tweeted a photo of him smiling along with two teammates at the team’s facility. Wrote Marshall: Well deserved and great move by @nyjets Congrats bro.. Now go win some dang games..#newyork #fitzmagic

Fitzpatrick posted career highs in passing yards (3,905) and passing touchdowns (31, a franchise record) last year, his first season in New York. He led the Jets to the brink of the playoffs, but he threw interceptions on the final three drives in a season-ending 22-17 loss to the Bills that left the Jets at 10-6 and without a postseason bid. Fitzpatrick has never appeared in the playoffs in his 11 NFL seasons.

Considering the Jets’ first option behind Fitzpatrick is the uninspiring Geno Smith, it seemed likely the team would prioritize re-signing him. However, negotiations dragged out, leaving Fitzpatrick frustrated — but with few other options, as other teams apparently weren’t convinced by the veteran’s breakout season.

A seventh-round draft pick by the Rams in 2005, Fitzpatrick also has played for the Bengals, Bills, Titans and Texans.

— One year after acquiring Nick Foles from the Eagles, the Rams gave the quarterback his release.

Foles has not participated in team activities since the Rams drafted Jared Goff with the No. 1 overall pick in April.

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Read More: Aroldis Chapman, Nike Foles, Ryan Fitzpatrick,

Seahawks extend coach Pete Carroll for 3 years

07.27.16 at 12:59 pm ET
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Days after signing general manager John Schneider to a contract extension, the Seahawks extended the contract of coach Pete Carroll. Carroll’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but he’s now signed through the 2019 season. ESPN was the first to report Carroll’s extension, and owner Paul Allen later confirmed it via Twitter. At 64, Carroll is the oldest coach in the league.

Carroll is 60-36 in six seasons at the helm of the Seahawks. Before Carroll arrived in Seattle, the Seahawks had five 10-win seasons in franchise history. Under Carroll, the Seahawks are tied with the Packers for the most regular-season wins in the NFC. They have made the playoffs in five of Carroll’s six seasons, including two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win, the first in franchise history.

In the Seahawks’ latest Super Bowl appearance in 2014 against the Patriots, Carroll made the infamous call to pass the ball on the 1-yard line that ended up in a Malcolm Butler interception, ultimately costing Seattle the game.

In 1997, Carroll took over the coaching duties of the Patriots from Bill Parcells. During his three-year tenure in New England, Carroll went 27-21, including one AFC East title. Carroll was fired following the 1999 season and was replaced by Bill Belichick. He went on to a highly successful stint coaching USC before returning to the NFL.

Read More: Pete Carroll,