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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Colts owner Jim Irsay, back from suspension, wants to ‘be a better person’

10.16.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Jets at Patriots, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Utah at Oregon State, 10 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NHL Network)
NBA preseason: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Jazz at Lakers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Giants, 8:07 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)
MLS: Revolution at Dynamo, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— With Jim Irsay set to return after serving a six-game suspension, the Colts owner met the media and said he’s looking forward to moving past his embarrassing DUI incident.

“I’ve always said I’ve felt the role of a steward here and that you learn from your mistakes,” Irsay said at a Wednesday press conference. “You move on, think you can be a better person and be better at everything you do.”

Irsay had been banned from having any contact on football matters with the team, and he said that hit home — despite criticism from some who felt that the league was harder on its players.

“I missed being there. It was tough not being with the guys before the game and praying with the guys before games. That was tough,” he said, although he added: “I really made up my mind to be positive about it.”

MASHUP POLL: Did Jim Irsay get too light a punishment from the NFL?

  • No, he didn't hurt anyone but himself, and he sought treatment (54%, 32 Votes)
  • Yes, if this were a player he would have received a longer suspension (46%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 59

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Irsay has had substance-abuse issues in the past, and the team said he voluntarily re-entered a treatment center after his March incident, when he was pulled over and various prescriptions drugs and more than $29,000 in cash were found in his vehicle.

Now he’s focused on guiding the team the rest of the season. The Colts, who lost their first two games, are 4-2 and host the AFC North-leading Bengals on Sunday.

“I really am motivated to show up and do well every day,” he said. “There’s no question great things are to be grabbed from the difficulties you go through.”

— The Cowboys will fine running back Joseph Randle but not suspend him after he acknowledged making a “huge mistake” related to his arrest on a shoplifting charge.

Randle, who stands accused of taking $123 worth of cologne and underwear from a Dillard’s department store at a suburban Dallas mall Monday, addressed his teammates before Wednesday’s practice and expressed appreciation for their support.

“They know people mess up,” Randle said. “I’m just trying to take full responsibility and really just move on from it.”

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Read More: bo jackson, Jameis Winston, Jim Irsay, Joseph Randle

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos new No. 1 in annual poll of most popular NFL teams

10.15.14 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA preseason: Raptors vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Kings vs. Nets, 7:30 a.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Pacers vs. Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLB playoffs: Orioles at Royals, 4:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Giants, 8:07 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

— According to a Harris Poll conducted last month, the Broncos have replaced the Cowboys as the most popular team in the NFL. The Patriots rank eighth.

Although the Cowboys are surging, improving to 5-1 with Sunday’s victory over the Seahawks in Seattle, they dropped from the top spot — which they held for six straight years — to No. 4. The Cowboys had finished first or second in 12 of the previous 13 annual polls.

The Broncos are the reigning AFC champions and have the league’s second-longest home sellout streak (behind Washington), having sold out every home game since the start of the 1970 season.

MASHUP POLL: Which of these Patriots rivals do you respect the most?

  • Broncos (43%, 237 Votes)
  • Jets (25%, 139 Votes)
  • Giants (11%, 58 Votes)
  • Colts (8%, 46 Votes)
  • Steelers (7%, 40 Votes)
  • Ravens (6%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 550

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The Giants are No. 2, followed by the Packers. After the Cowboys are the Steelers, Seahawks (jumping from 12th last year), 49ers, Patriots, Bears and Saints.

The company polled 2,543 adults (1,275 who identified themselves as people who followed pro football) from Sept. 10-17.

— Tuesday’s European Championship qualifying soccer match between Albania and host Serbia was testy from the start, due to ethnic and political tensions between the two nations.

Albanian fans were banned from the stadium, but apparently one Albanian found a way to stir up trouble, sending in a drone carrying a “Greater Albania” flag — with images that are offensive to Serbs — that flew low over the field, delaying the game in the 41st minute. When Serbian player Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag, Albanian players responded angrily and took the flag from him, That ignited a brawl as fans ran onto the field and attacked the Albanian players.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: FSU coach Jimbo Fisher says team believes in QB Jameis Winston’s innocence, ‘100 percent’

10.14.14 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Giants, 4:07 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)
MLB playoffs: Orioles at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NHL: Sabres at Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Honduras, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European Championship qualifying, Denmark vs. Portugal, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship qualifying, Germany vs. Ireland, 9 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher lauded the ability of reigning Hesiman Trophy winner Jameis Winston to “compartmentalize things,” keeping his focus on the field despite the controversy surrounding him. That’s good news for the Seminoles, because the off-field issues don’t appear to be ending anytime soon.

On the same day Fisher expressed confidence that Winston will not miss any games due to an ongoing sexual assault investigation, a report emerged that the school is looking into a link between Winston and the same autograph authentication business that led to the suspension of Georgia running back Todd Gurley.

The company, James Spence Authentication, posted on its website more than 950 items autographed by Winston. Fisher said he believed Winston when the QB told him he did not sign items for money.

MASHUP POLL: WIll Jameis Winston finish the season?

  • No, he clearly can't stay out of trouble and is headed for a suspension (86%, 222 Votes)
  • Yes, there's not enough new evidence to suspend him again (14%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 257

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Meanwhile, Winston reportedly has been notified that a formal hearing will be held to determine if he broke the school’s code of conduct related to an allegation of sexual assault in December 2012. The state already declined to press charges in that case due to inconsistencies and flaws in the evidence.

Sadi Fisher on Monday: “This country is based off being innocent until proven guilty, not guilty ’til you’re proven innocent. There is no victim because there was no crime. We’re convicting a guy over things that are not true, based on evidence.

“There’s facts of the case and what the reports are. Public opinion wants to do what they do. They don’t get what they want. … We believe in him, 100 percent.”

— Controversial Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is drawing the ire of Panthers players for his behavior in Sunday’s 37-37 tie, when he was penalized for two personal fouls and escaped punishment despite twisting the ankles of two Carolina players after tackles.

“There is no place in the game for a player doing extra stuff,” said Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who indicated he will send the league video of Burfict’s actions.

Burfict, who was not drafted last year out of Arizona State due in part to his history of behavioral issues but made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, twisted the ankles of quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen, both after Carolina touchdowns.

“I think the punishment needs to go beyond a fine,” Olsen said. “Guys like that don’t learn from that stuff.”

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Read More: Jameis Winston, Jimbo Fisher, Vontaze Burfict,

Prosecution calls possible house arrest for Oscar Pistorius ‘shockingly inappropriate’

10.13.14 at 11:16 am ET
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Former Olympian Oscar Pistorius, according to his defense, should not face any jail time for the killing of his girlfriend.

During his sentencing hearing in South Africa on Monday, probation officer Joel Maringa said Pistorius should not go to jail, but a punishment of house arrest and community service should suffice. Though he was not convicted of intentionally murdering Reeva Steenkamp, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide — a South African term for unintentionally but unlawfully killing a person.

“The accused will benefit from correctional supervision,” Maringa said. “We are basically not saying that he should be destroyed because he will still be coming back into the community.’€

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel called Maringa’€™s proposals “shockingly inappropriate.”€ The prosecution also did not agree with psychologist Dr. Lore Hartzenberg’€™s assessment of Pistorius that he is a so-called “€œbroken man”€ since Steenkamp’€™s death.

“We’re dealing with a broken man, but he’s still alive,” Nel said of Pistorius. “He has lost his love relationship … but he will be able to love somebody else like that.”

The proceedings could take a few days to finish, and when it comes to a close, Judge Thokozile Masipa will have the final say. Masipa is the judge who presided over Pistorius’€™ original case. Pistorius could spend up to 15 years in prison, though others have been sentenced to as little as five years for a similar crime.

Read More: Oscar Pistorius,

Kobe Bryant says Kevin Durant’s injury could help MVP with ‘mental aspect’ of game

10.13.14 at 10:05 am ET
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Seeing Kevin Durant fall victim to an injury reminded one player of his own issues from a season ago.

Kobe Bryant missed most of last season due to an injured Achilles tendon, while Durant will not play in at least the first 6-8 weeks with the Thunder this year because a fractured bone in his foot. Durant will miss the early portion of the season, but Bryant said the time away from the court could benefit the 2014 NBA MVP.

“It’s tough,” Bryant said. “He’s just got to be patient and do what he can in the interim. Study the game and try to improve the mental aspect, which is always what I tried to do when I was out.”

After he fractured his leg with Team USA this summer, Pacers forward Paul George wished Durant the best of luck with his injury.

Tweeted George: Get well KD! Speedy recovery.

The fracture will force Durant out of the lineup for a significant amount of time for the first time in his career. Before this injury, the most time he ever missed in any one season was eight games. In total, he has not competed in just 16 games through eight NBA seasons.

More of the burden will be placed on Russell Westbrook since Durant will be out of the Thunder lineup. The guard has played just five games of his career without Durant by his side.

Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said it will be a team effort to step up in Durant’€™s absence, and the load of the offense will not just fall on Westbrook.

“In regard to replacing a player like Kevin Durant, you don’t replace Kevin Durant. It’s not going to be one person. It’s going to be a collective mindset,” Presti said. “We know we’re a better basketball team with Kevin Durant on the floor. But we can have some influence on how good we are in the meantime.”

Read More: Kevin Durant, kobe bryant,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Giants WR Victor Cruz suffers serious knee injury in team’s embarrassing loss

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

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Avalanche at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB playoffs: Orioles at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: 49ers at Rams, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Iceland vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— An embarrassing night for the Giants got even worse when wide receiver Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while trying catch a pass in the third quarter of a 27-0 loss to the Eagles. And then it became even more embarrassing for a Philadelphia sports radio host.

Cruz, the former UMass star who became a 2012 Pro Bowler, cried as he was carted off the field with what is expected to be a season-ending injury.

“Huge loss,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “It wasn’t a good situation, a grim scene.”

Said Giants safety Antrel Rolle: “You just wish him the best. He’s a fighter.”

Cruz was attempting to catch a pass in the end zone when he went down.

“Something wasn’t good,” fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “He was in a lot of pain. As hard as it was, you have to go on and move on to the next play. ‘€¦ It was heart wrenching. Not much needs to be said. ‘€¦ It’s Victor Cruz, period.”

Following Cruz’s injury, controversial Philadelphia sports talk radio host Mike Missanelli sent out a classless tweet that read: Hey Giants fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.

After immediate criticism from both New York and Philadelphia, Missanelli deleted the tweet and tried to claim he only was referring to Cruz failing to catch the pass.

Tweeted Missanelli: I apologize for the Cruz tweet. I didn’t see that he got hurt on play. Was outside the stadium and saw [on the big screen outside] he dropped it walking to my car. ‘€¦ I would never have tweeted that had I known he got injured. Please know that.

— Actor and director Spike Lee, known for his allegiance to the Knicks via his frequent appearances in his courtside seat, apparently has not made a good impression on Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Lee announced that he plans to make a documentary about the triangle offense, which Jackson used when he won 11 championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Asked about Lee, Jackson said: “Spike is an avid Knicks fan who doesn’t know anything about basketball.”

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Read More: Chandler Parsons, Mike Missanelli, Phil Jackson, Rick Carlisle

Orioles sign SS J.J. Hardy to 3-year extension before ALCS begins

10.10.14 at 11:58 am ET
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With their sweep of the Tigers earlier this week, the Orioles locked up a spot in the ALCS for the first time in 17 years. Before they begin their series with the Royals, they also locked up their shortstop for at least three more seasons.

The Orioles inked two-time Gold Glove winner J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $40 million extension Thursday night. The deal also includes an option for the 2018 season.

This comes in a year in which Hardy hit just nine home runs, collected 37 total extra-base hits and batted .268. However in three prior seasons in Baltimore, the shortstop crushed a combined 67 long balls.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the timing was right to make sure the team’s top shortstop remained in Baltimore for the foreseeable future.

“Why not now, really?” Duquette said. “When we looked at the market, we thought the best chance to sign J.J. was before he went to free agency because he’s distinguished himself as one of the top shortstops in the league. And J.J. let us know that he wanted to continue his career here in Baltimore.”

While Hardy will be part of Baltimore’€™s long and short term plans, one notable player will not be with the Orioles in this upcoming ALCS. First baseman Chris Davis was left off of the roster for the best-of-seven series.

Davis was suspended 25 games on Sept. 12 when he tested positive for Adderall. He has five games remaining on the suspension, which means he theoretically could rejoin the team in Game 6 if a player gets hurt.

Manager Buck Showalter said the team will look into the first baseman getting his spot back if the Orioles reach the World Series.

“If we’re fortunate enough to continue to play, then we’ll revisit it,” Showalter said.

Read More: Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy,

Heisman candidate Todd Gurley suspended indefinitely by Georgia

10.10.14 at 10:57 am ET
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What started as a promising year for University of Georgia running back Todd Gurley might now be over halfway through the season.

The Heisman Trophy candidate was suspended indefinitely by the school Thursday as administrators investigate the possibility that Gurley violated NCAA rules. Georgia did not specify what Gurley did to get suspended, but a SI.com report, using an anonymous source, said Gurley reportedly took $400 to sign various pieces of memorabilia.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he is trying to be focused on the team’s upcoming game.

“I’m obviously very disappointed,” Richt said in a statement. “The important thing for our team is to turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri.”

Though NCAA says players must be declared ineligible if they have committed any type of rule violation, there is a possibility that Gurley could return this year. It is not unprecedented for a school to apply for a player’s reinstatement after an investigation is concluded. In 2010, Cam Newton was deemed ineligible and then reinstated after an investigation concluded he was unaware his father solicited money from Mississippi State University.

Regardless if Gurley does come back this year, he will not be in the lineup against Missouri. Freshman Nick Chubb is expected to be the primary tailback in his place.

Read More: Todd Gurley,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Prosecutors seek new arrest warrant for Adrian Peterson after admission of marijuana use

10.10.14 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Royals at Orioles, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-FM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Thunder at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College football: Washington State at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: San Diego State at New Mexico, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Fresno State at UNLV, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: Boston College at UMass-Lowell, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
MLS: Whitecaps at Sounders, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Ecuador, 6:40 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: European, Netherlands vs. Kazakhstan, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Texas prosecutors are seeking an arrest warrant for Adrian Peterson based on his admission that he smoked marijuana while out on bond. Peterson allegedly confessed to a drug tester that he “smoked a little weed” before he was tested during Wednesday’s court appearance to address a child abuse charge.

Peterson has been free on $15,000 bond since being charged with felony child abuse. Using illegal drugs usually is a condition for revocation of bond.

“In light of this statement, and the fact that it was made during the urinalysis testing process, and the term ‘weed’ is a common slang term for marijuana, the state argues that the defendant has smoked marijuana while on bond,” the district attorney’s office wrote.

MASHUP POLL: Should Adrian Peterson go to jail for using marijuana while on bond?

  • Yes, if he breaks the rules he should be treated like everyone else (66%, 121 Votes)
  • No, he's not a threat to anyone and it would be unnecessary and unreasonable to imprison him (34%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 183

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No action can be taken on the matter until a hearing is held on whether a new judge should be appointed in the child abuse case. Prosecutors asked that the judge be replaced after a comment he made about the lead attorneys playing to the media.

A trial date tentatively was set for Dec. 1 for Peterson, who did not enter a plea during Wednesday’s hearing.

The 29-year-old running back remains on paid leave from the Vikings, who placed him on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list last month. He is not allowed to participate in any activities, although he continues to draw his $11.75 million salary.

— Colin Kaepernick revealed Thursday that he was fined $10,000 for wearing Beats by Dre headphones after the 49ers‘ victory Sunday.

The NFL has a contract with Bose. Kaepernick, who has an endorsement deal with Beats, knew he could be punished for wearing the Beats headphones — a pink version in honor of breast cancer awareness month in October.

Tweeted Kaepernick: I support breast cancer awareness! My grandma is a survivor!

Asked if Beats would pay his fine, Kaepernick said, “We’ll let that be unanswered.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Beats by Dre, Colin Kaepernick,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Adrian Peterson gets court date, eager to defend himself

10.09.14 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Avalanche at Wild, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
NFL: Colts at Texans, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: BYU at Central Florida, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Hampton at North Carolina A&T, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Euro 2016 qualifier, Slovakia vs. Spain, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Honduras, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, eager to go to trial as soon as possible on child abuse charges, will head to court Dec. 1, as a Texas judge set the tentative trial date Wednesday

Peterson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said his client is “chomping at the bit” to get the chance to explain his decision to punish his 4-year-old son by whipping him with a tree branch and leaving marks that lasted for more than a week. Peterson, who said he was disciplined the same way when he was growing up, faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of causing injury to a child.

Peterson, who is on paid leave from the Vikings while the charges are pending, did not speak during his court appearance.

“He just keeps getting hammered without the ability to respond,” Hardin told Judge Kelly Case. “This is the place to resolve all those allegations.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you think Adrian Peterson be convicted of abusing his son?

  • Yes, anyone can see that he went way too far and deserves to be punished (63%, 66 Votes)
  • No, there will be support for him as a parent who has the right to discipline his child (37%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 105

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Added Hardin after the hearing: “This is a case about parenting decisions and whether something unfortunate happened when a parenting decision was made by a man who believes strongly and loves his children very much.”

Peterson will not have contact with the child until the case is resolved.

— Heat forward Chris Bosh said Wednesday that he has not spoken to LeBron James since James’ decision to return to Cleveland.

Bosh’s Heat play James’ Cavaliers on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, and Bosh responded with hesitation when asked if he was looking forward to seeing his former teammate.

“Yeah … I don’t know,” Bosh said, adding: “I’m in the mode where I’m trying to lead my team, help these guys out around here. … If guys aren’t in this locker room, I don’t have much time for them — if any.”

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Chris Bosh, LeBron James,