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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Las Vegas, Quebec advance to next phase of NHL expansion

08.06.15 at 8:15 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.

AROUND THE WEB:

— Las Vegas moved another step closer toward landing an NHL team, as Sin City joined Quebec in advancing to the next phase for becoming an expansion franchise.

“We are pleased to report that the NHL has invited us to participate in Phase II of the application process to secure an NHL team in Las Vegas,” Las Vegas front man Bill Foley said in a statement on the website VegasWantsHockey.com. “In this phase, we will be providing the League with additional information, including information about the Las Vegas market and the MGM AEG Arena being developed between Monte Carlo and New York New York. We will also be permitted access to information provided by the League that it deems important to us. We are hopeful that at the conclusion of this phase, the League will invite us to participate in Phase III.”

Both cities have arenas under construction and are the only two remaining candidates to receive teams. Commissioner Gary Bettman has proposed a $500 expansion fee and suggested 2017-18 would be the earliest a new team would start playing. The groups already have submitted a $10 million down payment.

It’s not clear when the third phase will begin, or when the NHL Board of Governors will meet to vote on the bids.

— Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s odd relationship with his wife appears to he heading to an end, as he filed for divorce Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences after almost 60 years together.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Ray Rice says he’s ‘a rehabilitated man’ as he continues attempt to return to NFL

08.05.15 at 8:02 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Audi Cup, consolation, AC Milan vs. Tottenham, 12:25 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Audi Cup, championship, Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: International Champions Cup, Fiorentina at Chelsea, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: CONCACAF Champions, Sounders at Whitecaps, 10 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Former Ravens running back Ray Rice, an NFL outcast since video emerged of him punching out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator last year, insists he’s “a rehabilitated man” as he attempts to find a team willing to give him a second chance.

Speaking to ESPN’s Jemele Hill on Tuesday, Rice said he wants to return to the league and eventually retire on his own terms so he can “hang them up the right way.” The 28-year-old said some teams have shown an interest in bringing him in for a look.

“The conversations that I had with [teams] is more to understand the magnitude of my situation,” he said. “I know that it’s a unique deal, so I just try to honestly live day to day and stay hopeful for that opportunity.”

Rice, whose indefinite league suspension was overturned on appeal, making him a free agent after his contract was terminated by the Ravens, reportedly has been working out daily in Connecticut while supporters, including former Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano (who coached Rice at Rutgers), lobby teams on his behalf.

There was an ESPN report in July that one team “seriously considered” making an offer to Rice, but ownership was not comfortable with the potential public backlash.

“We do live in a society where public opinion matters, and a I totally respect that,” Rice said. “Domestic violence is real. It happens every 12 seconds as we speak. … I think that that issue alone with me in my situation, having the video — that puts a lot in perspective. That vivid memory, obviously, that was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life.”

Added Rice: “I can understand some people probably never will forgive my actions. But I think that every step that I took going forward right now — over time, I want to be able to rewrite the scripts, to tell my daughter that daddy made the worst decision of his life, but this is what I did going forward.”

— While Rice is hopeful he’ll get another shot, things don’t look as promising for former Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

Drafted fifth overall in 2012 out of Oklahoma State, Blackmon caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns in a promising rookie campaign. However, he was arrested for DUI in 2012 and suspended twice in 2013 for violating the league drug policy, with the last suspension an indefinite one. He also was arrested last year in Oklahoma for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said Tuesday his team has had no contact with Blackmon, despite retaining his rights, and time is not on the receiver’s side.

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Read More: David Caldwell, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Blackmon, Ray Rice

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Aaron Hernandez tipster revealed as woman who sent him sexually explicit letters

08.04.15 at 7:58 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: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Athletics at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aaron Hernandez is accused of orchestrating the murder of Odin Lloyd. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez is accused of orchestrating the murder of Odin Lloyd. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

— The anonymous tipster who reached out to Aaron Hernandez‘s lawyers and claimed a member of the jury hid information is a woman who wrote sexually explicit letters to the imprisoned former Patriot, the prosecution said in a filing released Monday.

Prosecutor William McCauley called the bid by Hernandez’s lawyer to pursue the woman’s tip an “unwarranted fishing expedition.”

According to Hernandez’s defense team, the woman called multiple times after Hernandez was convicted of first degree murder in April and claimed that one of the jurors was a co-worker who hid the fact that they had information about Hernandez’s 2012 double-murder case.

The prosecution says the woman, whose father served time in jail with Hernandez, does not in fact work with the juror — and made other comments that are not truthful. The prosecution admitted the woman has had extensive contact with Hernandez, but still suggests the information she has is worth pursing.

Hernandez is engaged to Shayanna Jenkins, with whom he has a young daughter. According to the Providence Journal, Jenkins was wearing a wedding band and an engagement ring Monday. Now living in Rhode Island, Jenkins has petitioned a probate court in that state to add the surname Hernandez to her name to match the surname of her daughter, Avielle Jenkins-Hernandez.

Hernandez, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, is awaiting trial in the double-murder case, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

— The father of the 9-year-old bat boy from Kansas who died Sunday after being hit in the head by a bat a day earlier spoke Monday of Kaiser Carlile’s happiness being a part of the team and expressed no hard feelings for the accident.

“There is no kind of remorse or anger towards what happened,” Chad Carlile said at a press conference with the team. “This is something that obviously was a tragedy. I want … no bad comments. Nothing bad. I mean, this is all for the good. If anyone can gain anything out of this it’s the fact that he was happy. He loved it, and the team we are obviously for loved him as well.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Kaiser Carlile, Ronda Rousey,

9-year-old Kansas bat boy dies of injuries after being hit in head by on-deck batter

08.03.15 at 11:19 am ET
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A 9-year-old bat boy who was struck in the head by a batter warming up in the on-deck circle during the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas, over the weekend died of his injuries, the team announced.

Kaiser Carlile, a bat boy for the Liberal Bee Jays, an amateur baseball team from Kansas, was retrieving a bat when he was accidentally hit on the back of the head by a bat swung by the next batter during Saturday’s game.

Carlile, who was wearing a helmet, received medical assistance from home plate umpire Mark Goldfeder — a long-time paramedic — before being taken away in an ambulance.

The team posted an announcement on its Facebook page late Sunday reading:

With the permission of the family, and with much sorrow and a very broken hear, I regretfully inform everyone that Kaiser Carlile passed away earlier this evening. Please keep his family and our team in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all the support during this ordeal!

Carlile’s father’s cousin, Mike Carlile, is the general manager of the team.

“We just lost a little, 9-year-old Bee Jay and it’s incredibly sad,” Mike Carlile told the Wichita Eagle. “No one wrote a book to tell us how to do this. We’re just dealing with it the best way we know how, and that’s to keep coming out and keep honoring Kaiser on the field.”

After both teams prayed on the field for Carlile, Liberal went on to beat San Diego in Saturday’s game. The Bee Jays also won their game Sunday over the Haysville Aviators, 8-0, after being informed of Carlile’s death. Mike Carlile said Kaiser’s parents wanted the team to continue playing — and winning. The parents attended Sunday’s game and talked with the players afterward in an emotional meeting.

“It is such an unfortunate accident and all we can do is be strong for the family,” Bee Jays manager Adam Anderson said. “That’s all they wanted us to do was go out there and play a good baseball game, and that’s what we did.”

Read More: Kaiser Carlile,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bills suspend OL coach Aaron Kromer 6 games, name Richie Incognito starter

08.03.15 at 7:42 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:
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aaron Kromer

Aaron Kromer

— Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer will avoid legal punishment for the incident last month when he allegedly punched a boy in the face and threatened to kill his family following a dispute over beach chairs, but the team announced Sunday night that he will be suspended six games for his behavior.

Kromer, who had a battery charge dropped after he reached a deal with the victim’s family, has been on paid leave since July 14, two days after he was arrested. He will rejoin the team at training camp and begin his suspension with the team’s regular-season opener Sept. 7.

“We worked in conjunction with the NFL on this matter, and we are highly supportive of the NFL personal conduct policy that holds all NFL and club employees to a higher standard,” Bills president Russ Brandon said in a statement.

Kromer, who previously served as the Bears offensive coordinator, was hired in January as part of the staff hired by new head coach Rex Ryan. Assistant Kurt Anderson has been covering for Kromer and is expected to fill in during the suspension.

Kormer’s suspension was the second big story related to the Bills offensive line Sunday. Earlier in the day, Ryan announced that former outcast Richie Incognito stands to be his starting left guard.

“One thing’s for sure, Richie’s a starter,” Ryan said at the team’s training camp in Pittsford, New York. “He looks about as good as any of them. He really does.”

Ryan said Incognito, who sat out all of 2014 after being fingered in the Dolphins bullying scandal during the 2013 season, was one of the team’s top performers in conditioning tests held Thursday, the day before camp opened.

“He’s everything we thought he’d be,” Ryan said. “I think he’s probably along further than I even thought he’d be as far as coming back in shape. It’s like he never missed any time.

Incognito, who has a history of troubling behavior, signed a one-year deal with the Bills in February. He has not played in a game since Oct. 31, 2013.

“It was a long road back,” Incognito said Sunday after being told of Ryan’s comments. “It was dark times. And it was something at times I didn’t was going to happen. But I’ve been blessed with an opportunity. … A lot of people laid their neck out on the line for me. And I just wanted to prove them right.”

Added Incognito: “It left a bad taste in my mouth to kind of leave the game like that. I had a lot of time away, a lot of time to think. And today, I definitely woke up with that in the back of my head.”

— A 9-year-old bat boy was in critical condition Sunday, one day after being hit in the head by a bat during a tournament in Wichita, Kansas.

UPDATE: The boy died Sunday of his injuries.

Kaiser Carlile, who works for the Liberal (Kansas) Bee Jays, was retrieving a bat discarded by a batter when he was struck in the back of the head by a player warming up in the on-deck circle early in his team’s game against San Diego in the National Baseball Congress World Series. Carlile was wearing a helmet.

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Read More: Aaron Kromer, Rex Ryan, Richie Incognito,

Thinking Out Loud: How did Patriots become so despised by everyone?

07.31.15 at 7:27 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering what Jose Canseco has been up to lately?

— How did we arrive at this point? How did a championship-caliber franchise and Hall of Fame-to-be QB become the hated and the hunted — by the NFL and all of its teams? It began with an inaccurate report from ESPN that was never corrected, either through ignorance or arrogance or perhaps an edict — allegedly (Mike Kensil?) from the league itself.

— I don’t believe Deflategate was a “sting” so much as it was a simple, “You’re too high and mighty; we’re gonna get you, eventually,” by the NFL, or more specifically, NFL VP of game operations Kensil (a former Jets employee) and NFL executive VP and general counsel Jeff Pash. Colts GM Ryan Grigson figures into this as well. It’s odd that there has been this near-scurrilous fervor with which these men have displayed at times in this entire fiasco. You have to ask the question, “Why do they do what they do?” It’s a fair point. Are they under direct orders, or do they have grudges to settle?

— In an era of alleged parity, New England has managed six Super Bowl appearances in 15 years, winning four of those. I would maintain the rest of the league, and the league office itself, is trying to decipher how they’ve done it. And the NFL is taking great pains to expose any shred of impropriety, and blow up any inkling of idiosyncrasy as a scarlet letter for the franchise to wear upon its jersey. It’s all about “The Shield,” and no one team can rise above it.

— Why? There are several reasons, all of them plausible — from good ol’ fashioned envy and jealousy to anger and greed. Thirty-one other teams and millions of fans are enjoying every minute of this fiasco, watching the Patriots squirm and TB12 twist in the wind. To the NFL, it’s tremendous theater, and frankly, if I’m looking at it from the outside, I have to agree. It’s a show, all right.

— The NFL has blasted the Patriots in the PR battle, and it has been an artful performance. The league has taken false science, maybes, rumor and innuendo, and slotted words like “destroy” into their press releases, giving the football-crazed country outside of New England reason to believe we’re all cheaters. I’ve spent the past two weeks in football-mad Texas, and the Brady saga is mentioned in the same breath as two state schools (TCU and Baylor) being ranked in the top five of the college preseason poll. A pound of air pressure vs. two college powerhouses. Whoa.

— Do you feel any better about Robert Kraft now that he’s come out and apologized for “trusting” the NFL?  Kraft’s angst over the league, and over Roger Goodell’s upholding of Brady’s suspension, is a bit misguided. After all, it is HIS team, not the league’s. I understand his wanting to get along for the common good, but this is a perfect example of someone attempting what he thought to be the right thing and then getting steamrolled. It’s past time to revert to the business tactics that have made him a billionaire in the first place. It’s now time to be ruthless and unforgiving, as most of us originally hoped he would be. Goodell played Kraft for a fool here. Just sayin’.

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Read More: Deflategate, Tom Brady,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets DT Sheldon Richardson faces multiple charges after police chase

07.31.15 at 8:28 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: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Mets, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Sheldon Richardson

Sheldon Richardson

— Jets fans had some fun at the Patriots’ expense Thursday, flying a plane over Patriots training camp practice with a sign that read, “Cheaters look up.” However, they’ve got some problems with their own team to worry about.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who like Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of the season — Richardson’s issues was a failed a drug test — was charged Thursday with resisting arrest along with a series of traffic violations after leading Missouri police on a high-speed chase earlier this month.

According to police, the St. Louis native and former University of Missouri star turned off the lights on his 2014 Bentley Silver Spur W 12 drove at speeds of up to 143 mph on I-64 during the July 14 pursuit. The 24-year-old eventually pulled into a driveway (after driving through a red light), where police discovered a strong odor of burned marijuana, a gun under the driver’s seat and a 12-year-old boy in the car with Richardson and two other men.

News of the legal problems broke Thursday, an hour after Richardson talked to the media about his suspension and insisted he’d stay out of trouble going forward.

“I take full accountability for my actions,” Richardson said of the suspension, which was announced July 2. “I apologized to my teammates and this organization, and I told them they don’t have to worry about my name being in the news again.”

Added Richardson: “I’m not a dope fiend, man. I can say no. I just chose not to. It was a depressing time in my offseason and that’s just that. It’s just that simple, bro.”

Richardson, the 13th overall pick in 2013, was the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 78 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Last season he had 66 tackles and eight sacks and earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

A Jets spokesman said the team was “aware of the situation and gathering information.”

Red Sox infielder Pablo Sandoval isn’t the only baseball player to have struggled with dehydration this week. CC Sabathia ended up in the hospital after pitching in the Yankees’ loss to the Rangers on Thursday night in Arlington, Texas.

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Read More: cc sabathia, Nancy Lieberman, Sheldon Richardson,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jim Craig selling Miracle on Ice memorabilia to ‘protect the legacy for my family’

07.30.15 at 8:25 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:
MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Mets, 12:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: International Champions Cup, Real Madrid vs. AC Milan, 8 a.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jim Craig is parting ways with some of his memorabilia from the Miracle on Ice. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Jim Craig is parting ways with some of his memorabilia from the Miracle on Ice. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

— Jim Craig, goalie for the Miracle on Ice 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, is selling 19 pieces of memorabilia from the Games, including the jersey he wore during the historic victory over the Soviets and the flag he draped around himself following that win.

Also included in the collection are Craig’s skates, equipment and sticks he used during the tournament, along with his gold medal. Lelands.com indicated the asking price is $5.7 million.

Craig, a North Easton native who starred at Boston University and later had a short stint with the Bruins, said he is selling the items so that his “children and grandchildren will be financially secure in the future,” and he plans to give some of the money to charity. He said he wants to sell the items in one lot in hopes that someone will continue to display the memorabilia.

“For the past 35 years, these items have been at the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Boston Sports Museum, the New York Sports Museum, and I think we’ve done a good job showing them because this moment was so big that I truly believe everyone was a part of it,” Craig, now a motivational speaker, told ESPN.com. “But after the 35th anniversary [in February], and after our teammate Bobby Suter died, I thought it was important to be responsible with these pieces to grow and protect the legacy for my family.”

Two years ago, Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 squad, sold his jersey from the gold medal game for $657,250.

— Mets infielder Wilmer Flores first learned he was part of a trade when fans behind the dugout during Wednesday night’s game against the Padres informed him that he was being sent to Milwaukee as part of a deal for outfielder Carlos Gomez.

As word spread around Citi Field, Flores was given a standing ovation before and after his at-bat in the seventh inning. In the bottom of the inning, Flores got emotional, tearing up while playing shortstop for what he thought would be the final time as a Met.

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Read More: Jim Craig, Wilmer Flores,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals acquire Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, much to dismay of current closer Drew Storen

07.29.15 at 7:57 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:
MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Angels at Astros, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: All-Star Game, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Papelbon‘s trade to the Nationals would appear to be a boost to Washington, but not everyone is thrilled with the team landing a new closer.

Drew Storen, who has 29 saves in 31 chances and a 1.73 ERA, was informed Tuesday that he’ll be replaced by the former Phillies closer, demoted to fill-in closing and set-up responsibilities.

“All I’m going to say is obviously I’m aware of the move,” Storen told reporters. “Talked to [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] about it, talked to my agent. We’ve had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I’m just going to leave it at that.”

As part of the trade, the Nationals agreed to pick up Papelbon’s option for 2016 (albeit reportedly for $11 million, less than the original $13 million). The Phillies, who received pitching prospect Nick Pivetta, are said to be paying the remainder of Papelbon’s 2015 salary ($4.5 million).

While Storen has been solid, the rest of Washington’s relievers have not been as impressive. The team is 42-7 when leading after six innings (46-0 when leading entering the ninth). The bullpen combined has a 3.39 ERA, 12th in the majors. Adding Papelbon and altering Storen’s role should, on paper, make the Nationals much stronger overall.

Rizzo acknowledged that the news “was difficult to take” for Storen, but the 27-year-old “took it like a pro, and he’s going to be a professional in the clubhouse and on the mound.”

As for the 34-year-old Papelbon, a six-time All-Star who starred for the Red Sox before signing as a free agent with Philadelphia, he carries a 1.59 ERA and saved all 17 of his chances for the last-place Phillies this season.

“This guy wants to win,” Rizzo said. “First and foremost, he wants to win. … He excels in pressure situations, and that’s his personality. Does it grate on the opposition at times? Yes, it does. But he comes with high credentials, high praise from his teammates and guys who’ve been around him.”

— Mets management was in disbelief Tuesday after relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia — just weeks back from an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs — was suspended 162 games for another violation.

Mejia first was suspended April 11 after testing positive for Stanozolol, and at the time insisted that he had “no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.”

According to MLB, Mejia again tested positive for Stanozolol as well as Boldenone, costing him a season’s worth of games.

“I was totally shocked,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Incredulous — whatever the right term is — that this could happen so swiftly on the heels of a past suspension. Couldn’t understand it.”

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Read More: Drew Storen, Jenrry Mejia, Jonathan Papelbon, Miguel Herrera

Mayor Martin Walsh fires back at Donald Trump on D&C

07.28.15 at 11:21 am ET
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Republican presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump voiced his displeasure with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s decision to end the city’s Olympic bid Monday. He tweeted a short time after Walsh’s press conference explaining the failure in not pursuing the bid further.

Walsh had this one-liner locked and loaded in response to Trump’s statement when asked about the tweet on Dennis & Callahan.

“As I said earlier, that’s going to sound like his presidential campaign in about two months,” Walsh said.

Furthermore, after citing Trump’s rise in the polls following a name-drop by President Barack Obama, Dennis & Callahan teased Walsh, suggesting that he might consider running for national office after Trump’s public ridicule. Walsh didn’t rule out a future campaign.

“I might throw my hat in the ring for getting in on the democratic side,” he said.

When asked if he might endorse Bernie Sanders, Walsh stated that he had not considered it yet, but that he would stand behind a candidate in the near future.

“We’re going to see what happens in this race for a little while,” Walsh said. “I’m sure I’ll endorse somebody at some point.”

Read More: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Mayor Marty Walsh,