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UConn hires Paul Pasqualoni as football coach

01.14.11 at 8:33 am ET
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Former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni will be the next coach at UConn, athletic director Jeff Hathaway announced Thursday. A press conference announcing the deal will be held Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Pasqualoni, a native of Cheshire, Conn., served as the head coach at Syracuse for 14 years from 1991-2004, going 107-59-1. He led the Orange to three straight Big East titles from 1996-1998 and split the conference title with West Virginia in 2004.

Prior to going to Syracuse, Pasqualoni was the head coach at Western Connecticut. He took over as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator midway through this season when Wade Phillips was fired. He also served as Dolphins defensive coordinator for two seasons in 2008 and 2009.

“We are very proud to welcome Paul Pasqualoni to the UConn family and also bring him back home to his native Connecticut,” Hathaway said. “Paul brings an outstanding coaching background to UConn on the collegiate, professional and high school level. He also is a man of strong character and integrity and we look forward to him developing our football student-athletes in the classroom, on the field and as part of the community.”

Read More: Paul Pasqualoni, Rumor Mill,

LEEInks List: Most notable figures of Patriots-Jets rivalry

01.14.11 at 8:29 am ET
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With Sunday’€™s Patriots-Jets matchup sure to add a new chapter to the storied rivalry, we take a look back at some of the players and coaches who have played starring roles in the rivalry. Although the rivalry dates back to 1960, it has really taken off in terms of bitterness over the last 15 years. And Rex Ryan and Antonio Cromartie have made it clear that it is not going away any time soon. Here are the top 10 most notable figures of the Pats-Jets rivalry.

10. Pete Carroll

Carroll cracks this list mostly because he is one of just two people who have served as head coach on both sides of the rivalry. His first NFL head coaching job came with the Jets in 1994, but he ended the season with five straight losses to finish 6-10, resulting in him being fired after just one year. He took over the reigns in New England in 1997 and led the Pats to the AFC East title over the Jets and new coach Bill Parcells. Carroll lasted just three years in Foxboro, though, as he was fired after a late-season slide in 1999 and replaced by Bill Belichick.

9. Danny Woodhead

Woodhead started the 2009 season on the Jets’€™ practice squad before ultimately dressing in 10 games and registering 151 total yards. His fight to make the 2010 team was featured prominently on HBO’€™s “Hard Knocks,” but he ended up getting cut after Week 1. The Pats signed him before their Week 2 meeting with the Jets and Woodhead went on to become a key cog in the Pats offense, amassing 926 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns. Rex Ryan recently made the somewhat controversial claim that Woodhead ‘€œwas in football because of the New York Jets. We kept him around for two years.’€ Regardless, the Pats are happy to have him, as is Modell’€™s.

8. Curtis Martin

Martin began his career with three straight 1,000-yard seasons and two Pro Bowls for the Pats, but after the 1997 season, he became a Jet when the Pats did not match a six-year, $36 million offer sheet. Martin churned out seven more 1,000-yard seasons and appeared in three more Pro Bowls with the Jets. The Pats have had just four 1,000-yard rushing seasons since losing Martin, but they also have won three Super Bowls.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Darrelle Revis, Pete Carroll

Heisman winner Cam Newton enters NFL draft

01.14.11 at 8:22 am ET
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Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton has elected to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL draft, the school announced in a statement Thursday night.

Newton led Auburn to a 14-0 record this season and its first national championship since 1957. He passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns and ran for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“This decision was difficult for me and my family,” Newton said. “It’s been a blessing for me to be a part of something so great. Any time you win games it’s a big deal, but for this school to win a BCS national championship, what a way to make people happy. Auburn is a special place that I can call home.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Rumor Mill,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Lawrence Taylor pleads guilty but avoids prison

01.14.11 at 7:54 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY FRIDAY:
NBA: Bobcats at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

SATURDAY:
NHL: Penguins at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)

SUNDAY:
NFL: Jets at Patriots, 4:30 p.m. (CBS)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday in New City, N.Y., to misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute in a deal that will keep him out of jail. “She told me she was 19,” insisted Taylor, who must register as a sex offender.

Taylor thus avoids becoming the third member of the Giants’ 1991 Super Bowl championship team to land behind bars. Mark Ingram is in federal prison for money laundering, bank fraud and bail jumping. Dave Meggett, who also played for the Patriots, last year received a 30-year sentence for criminal sexual conduct and burglary.

‘™¦ Heat star LeBron James, who sat out Thursday night’s loss to the Nuggets, is still hearing it about his two-faced behavior regarding his tweet about the Cavaliers. At Ball Don’t Lie, Kelly Dwyer wonders why James won’t take a stand one way or another.

‘™¦ The Broncos hired John Fox to be their new coach. In The Denver Post, Dave Krieger writes that the former Panthers coach is a good fit for the Broncos as the anti-Josh McDaniels ‘€” a veteran coach who will demonstrate more professionalism than McDaniels. Meanwhile, at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto looks at the unknown quantity that is new Browns coach Pat Shurmur.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 14, 2000, which two former Red Sox players were elected to the Hall of Fame?

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Read More: John Fox, Lawrence Taylor, LeBron James, Pat Shurmur

Report: Rafael Soriano agrees to three-year deal with Yankees

01.13.11 at 9:29 pm ET
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According to SI.com, reliever Rafael Soriano has agreed to a deal with the Yankees, thought to be for three years, $35 million. Soriano will set-up closer Mariano Rivera, who is signed for the next two seasons. The New York Times reports that Soriano has opt-out clauses, allowing him to make $11.5 million for one year, $21.5 million for two, and the $35 million for all three.

The 31-year-old Soriano saved an American League-best 45 games for Tampa Bay in 2010, compiling a 1.73 ERA while striking out 57 and walking 14 in 62 1/3 innings. In 2009 the righty saved 27 games for the Braves, finishing with a 2.97 ERA.

The move would cost the Yankees their first-round draft pick (31st overall) since Soriano was a Type-A free agent. It comes just days after New York general manager Brian Cashman said the Yanks wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice a first-round draft pick in order to sign any free agent. The move also guarantees that the Red Sox will be receiving Texas’ first-round pick as compensation for Adrian Beltre agreeing to his deal with the Rangers since Soriano was the last remaining free agent with a higher Elias ranking than Beltre. (If Soriano signed with the Rangers, their pick would have gone to the Rays.)

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Broncos hire John Fox as head coach

01.13.11 at 5:01 pm ET
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The Denver Broncos announced via Twitter that they have hired John Fox as their next head coach. Fox replaces former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who was fired late in the season after less than two seasons on the job. Fox was the coach of the Carolina Panthers for the last nine season where he compiled a 73-71 record. His best season in Carolina ended with a loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Read More: Denver Broncos, John Fox, Rumor Mill,

Browns name Pat Shurmur coach

01.13.11 at 1:06 pm ET
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The Browns on Thursday named Pat Shurmur coach, handing the job to a 45-year-old with no head coaching experience.

Shurmur guided the Rams offense the past two seasons and previously was an assistant for the Eagles for 10 years.

Read More: Pat Shurmur, Rumor Mill,

Former NBA star Allen Iverson returns to U.S. to have growth in leg removed

01.13.11 at 12:55 pm ET
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Former NBA star Allen Iverson plans on returning to the United States to have a growth removed from his right leg. Iverson currently plays for Besiktas, a Turkish team. An MRI originally showed a shadow between the two bones in Iverson’€™s lower leg, but the guard continued to play. Business manager and longtime friend of Iverson Gary Moore said the growth could be anything from a lesion or a cyst to a tumor, ESPN reports.

Iverson signed a two-year, $4 million dollar contract with the Turkish squad after no NBA team gave the veteran a look. He plans on returning his team overseas in time for the playoffs.

ESPN reports that Iverson was en route back to the United States and unavailable for comment, but that the Besiktas guard hopes to find out more about the injury, including the severity by having surgery within the next few days. Moore said that two things have to happen: The lesion must come out, and it then must be tested to find out whether it is malignant or benign.

Read More: Allen Iverson, Rumor Mill,

Ex-coach of Michigan’s Denard Robinson says quarterback likely will remain at school

01.13.11 at 12:54 pm ET
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The high school coach of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said on Wednesday that he believes ‘€œif the right things are said,’€ then Robinson will return to school and play in the 2011 NCAA season, ESPN.com reports.

Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School coach Art Taylor said that he thinks Robinson wants to stay at school, and will meet with new Wolverines coach Brady Hoke to determine his future with the team.

‘€œI think if the right things are said at Michigan, I think he wants to stay,’€ Taylor said on Wednesday. ‘€œWill they put you on the edge and roll you out? Denard does not want to sit out a year.’€

Taylor said that coming out of high school, Robinson was also interested in going to school at Florida or UCF. But Michigan drew him in with the style of offense the Wolverines run. Robinson’€™s decision could come if any significant changes are made to the offense following the hiring of Hoke.

Read More: Brady Hoke, Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines, Rumor Mill

Knicks could target free agent centers Marc Gasol or DeAndre Jordan in offseason

01.13.11 at 12:53 pm ET
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Taking a pending Carmelo Anthony trade into account, Knicks president Donnie Walsh told the New York Post on Thursday that the team wouldn’€™t be willing to give up too much in a trade for the Nuggets forward. Right now, the biggest names on the Knicks’€™ radar for the upcoming summer are free agent centers Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan. The Post emphasized the team’€™s need for a legitimate center, and both Gasol and Jordan are 7-footers who have already proven themselves this season before the All-Star break.

The Knicks have been involved in trade talks with the Timberwolves regarding Minnesota’€™s first-round draft pick. But New York reportedly would have to part with Anthony Randolph, along with two or three other prospects like Danilo Gallinari, Landry fields or Wilson Chandler. Walsh expressed to the Post that he isn’€™t sure he wants to part with any of those players because of the team’€™s need for a center.

As it stand right now, Amar’€™e Stoudemire is the starting center, but would be moved back to his natural power forward position if the team acquires a proven center.

Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Anthony Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Rumor Mill