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Bengals coach Marvin Lewis downplays critical comments made by Terrell Owens

12.15.10 at 4:02 pm ET
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Just one day after making comments on his cable television show with Chad Ochocinco essentially blaming the Bengals coaching staff for the poor season, receiver Terrell Owens said that he should not have made those statements, but he stands by them. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, despite receiving a large blame from Owens regarding the 2-11 season thus far, downplayed Owens’€™ comments, saying it is unfortunate that the receiver gets criticized nationally for speaking his mind.

Owens said on his show that there was a lot of underachieving going on, starting from the owner on down. He added that the coaches are responsible for how the players perform.

The Bengals tied a franchise record with 10 straight losses heading into their game with the Browns, against whom the 10-game skid started on Oct. 3 in Cleveland.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Marvin Lewis, Rumor Mill, Terrell Owens

Jimmie Johnson wins fourth consecutive Driver of the Year Award

12.15.10 at 4:00 pm ET
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NASCAR‘€™s Jimmie Johnson won his fourth consecutive Driver of the Year Award, which was announced on Wednesday, ESPN.com reports. Johnson ties Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the only drivers to ever win the award four times.

Johnson won his fifth straight Sprint Cup championship after a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the final race of the Sprint Cup series. Johnson has won the Driver of the Year Award four of the past five years ‘€“ Tony Schumacher of NHRA Top Fuel drag racing won it in 2008.

According to ESPN, Johnson was told privately that he won the award while in Las Vegas during the NASCAR award ceremony two weeks ago.

‘€œAwesome. It’s an honor to win the award again,’€ Johnson said. ‘€œAmong such tough competition; with the voting panel, who it is and how well versed they are in motorsports, it’s a huge, huge honor.’€

Read More: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR, Rumor Mill

Cowboys place WR Kevin Ogletree on season-ending IR with toe injury

12.15.10 at 4:00 pm ET
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The Cowboys placed wide receiver and kick returner Kevin Ogletree on the season-ending IR list with a toe injury, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Ogletree was injured on Sunday night in a loss to the Eagles. The Cowboys are 4-9 on the season.

Ogletree was a direct replacement at the wide receiver and kick returner positions after the Cowboys placed rookie receiver Dez Bryant on IR. Ogletree had three catches for 34 yards and six kick returns for 109 yards this season. The Cowboys promoted practice-squad receiver Manuel Johnson to the active roster after placing Ogletree on injured reserve. Johnson was a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2009.

Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Rumor Mill

Former Dolphin Zach Thomas says Jets sideline incident was ‘orchestrated’

12.15.10 at 3:04 pm ET
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Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said on Miami’s WQAM radio on Tuesday that he thought the Jets coaching staff orchestrated the whole ‘€œtripping on the sideline’€ incident, and that there was more to the story than was originally reported. Thomas said that he believes that Sal Alosi, the strength and conditioning coach, was ordered to stand as close to the sideline as possible to obstruct any player coming down the sideline.

Alosi tripped Dolphins rookie Nolan Carroll on a punt coverage as he ran down the Jets sideline. Alosi was suspended indefinitely by the organization and fined $25,000. Thomas said the fact that six members of the organization were standing toe-to-toe as close to the sideline as allowed had to be intentional, and probably ordered.

‘€œThey had to be ordered to stand there because they’€™re foot-to-foot,’€ Thomas said. ‘€œThey’€™re only out there to restrict the space of the gunner.’€ The gunner is the outside player on punt coverage that sometimes gets blocked out of bounds.

Read More: New York Jets, Rumor Mill, Sal Alosi, Zach Thomas

New York Jets suspend Sal Alosi indefinitely

12.15.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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The New York Jets on Wednesday suspended strength coach Sal Alosi indefinitely after learning that he instructed five players to form a wall before Alosi tripped Miami gunner Nolan Carroll.

“Over the last day as we continued our investigation we discovered some new information,” said New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. “The players at the Miami game were instructed by Sal to stand where they were forcing the gunner in the game to run around them. Based on that new information we’ve suspended Sal indefinitely, pending further review.”

Tannenbaum told reporters Wednesday that Alosi – who was fined $25,000 on Monday – acted alone and could lose his job for his actions.

“All options are certainly on the table we’re going to complete the review and get all the information,” Tannenbaum said. “Mike Westhoff was not involved, Rex Ryan was not involved, but we just want to be thorough and get all the information.”

Read More: New York Jets, Rumor Mill, Sal Alosi,

With season all but over, Broncos could give Tim Tebow more playing time

12.15.10 at 2:49 pm ET
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With playoff hopes gone and the season all but over for the 3-10 Broncos, it’€™s a possibility that interim coach Eric Studesville would consider giving rookie quarterback Tim Tebow more snaps and game experience, the Denver Post reports. Studesville said on Monday that he and the offensive coaching staff will determine this week how they distribute the number of snaps Tebow, current starter Kyle Orton and backup Brady Quinn get in practice.

‘€œWe are not going to just throw him in without preparing him to do it,’€ Studesville told the Post. ‘€œBut we haven’€™t made those decisions [yet].’€

Tebow estimated on Monday that in a regular week of practice he receives about 5 percent of the snaps in goal-line and short-yardage situations. The Broncos take on the Raiders in Oakland this Sunday. The Raiders are seventh in the NFL in pass defense, giving up 202.5 yards per game through the air.

Read More: Denver Broncos, Eric Studesville, Rumor Mill, Tim Tebow

Michael Vick lands first commercial endorsement since release from prison

12.15.10 at 2:48 pm ET
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Eagles quarterback Michael Vick landed his first commercial endorsement since his release from federal prison on dog fighting charges. The ad endorsement is with Woodbury Nissan, USA Today reports.

The commercial shows Vick running around the showroom in his No. 7 Eagles jersey, assisting showroom dealers and aiding in signing deals, as well as giving mock press conferences.

Executive manager of the dealership Tom McMenamin said that it is ‘€œ100 percent Vick’€™s first endorsement since he was released from prison.’€

Vick leads all voting in the Pro Bowl ballots. Vick has thrown for 2,513 yards and 17 touchdowns this season with a 104.3 passer rating.

Here’s the video of Vick’s commercial endorsement.

Read More: michael vick, Philadelphia Eagles, Rumor Mill,

Colt McCoy could start for Browns on Sunday

12.15.10 at 1:03 pm ET
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Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy will take first-team snaps in practice Wednesday and could start against the Bengals on Sunday. McCoy hasn’t played in three weeks since sustaining a high ankle sprain on Nov. 21 against the Jaguars. Coach Eric Mangini wants to see how McCoy looks Wednesday before naming him or Jake Delhomme as the starter for Week 15. McCoy is 2-3 as a starter and Delhomme passed for just 86 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Bills. Mangini said he will announce his choice on Thursday.

Read More: Colt McCoy, Eric Mangini, Jake Delhomme, Rumor Mill

Bulls concerned about Joakim Noah’s hand

12.15.10 at 12:47 pm ET
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The Bulls are concerned there may be ligament damage in center Joakim Noah‘s right thumb. General manager Gar Forman told ESPNChicago.com before Wednesday morning’s shootaround that the Bulls are still evaluating the situation and Noah will be re-examined once he returns to Chicago on Thursday. If an examination reveals the need for surgery, Noah would most likely be out for a minimum of eight weeks.

Noah originally hurt the thumb back on Nov. 27 in a 96-85 win over the Kings, and he tweaked it again in a 119-116 win over the Rockets on Dec. 4.

When asked specifically on Wednesday if there was any structural damage in his thumb, Noah said: “I’m not sure yet. We’ll find out [Wednesday night].”

Noah, who has been averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds, is expected to still play Wednesday against the Raptors.

Read More: Gar Forman, Joakim Noah, Rumor Mill,

Giants receiver Steve Smith out for rest of season

12.15.10 at 12:42 pm ET
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Giants receiver Steve Smith is out for the rest of the season with an injury to his left knee. Smith was tackled from behind in the 21-3 win over the Vikings on Monday night, and an MRI on Tuesday revealed injury to the articular cartilage. The Giants announced Wednesday that Smith will need season-ending surgery on the knee. The Monday night game was Smith’s first after missing the previous four with a partial tear of his pectoral muscle. The fourth-year receiver had 48 catches this season for 529 yards.

Read More: Rumor Mill, steve smith,