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Hakeem Nicks doubtful for Giants’ regular-season finale

12.29.10 at 12:28 pm ET
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Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks is expected to miss the team’s regular-season finale against the Redskins. Nicks, the team’s leading receiver, has a broken big toe on his left foot, and coach Tom Coughlin told reporters at Wednesday’s news conference that he does not expect Nicks to play Sunday.

Coughlin also said Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara aggravated an Achilles’ tendon problem in his left leg in Sunday’s loss to the Packers.

Read More: Hakeem Nicks, Rumor Mill,

Top stories of 2010, No 3: Patriots’ resurgence

12.29.10 at 12:01 pm ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. The countdown continues with No. 3: The Patriots’ resurgence.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries
No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers
No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga
No. 4: Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford

Also, make sure to cast your vote in WEEI.com’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

This was supposed to be the end. The Patriots were supposed to be in a decline as the decade closed on their memorable dynasty. In last year’€™s playoffs, New England had suffered perhaps its second-most demoralizing loss of the decade in a 33-14 defeat at the hands of the Ravens in Foxboro. While the Patriots entered the offseason early with significant questions on offense and defense, the rival Jets charged through the competition to reach the AFC championship game.

In the offseason, while star receiver Wes Welker silently recovered from a devastating knee injury, the Jets and coach Rex Ryan made headlines starring in HBO’€™s “Hard Knocks.” While the Patriots were forced to groom young position players including BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, the Jets re-signed star cornerback Darrelle Revis and acquired receivers Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.

What ensued was a season-long obsession with everything Gang Green, as Ryan and Co. became media darlings thanks to a smash-talk attitude and complemented by a fair share of team controversy. It was only bolstered by a Week 2 defeat of the Patriots, and the final changing of the guard in a crowded AFC East was expected to take place in a Week 13 Monday night rematch that would likely determine the division champion.

In the weeks following the Week 2 loss, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady produced possibly their most impressive masterpiece. With the Patriots just outside of the national headlines, Belichick rebuilt the team around a no-nonsense and team-first philosophy as the antithesis to the Jets’€™ media machine: a philosophy in which no superstar is too big to be let go and no player is too small to make a difference.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, deion branch, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Brett Favre expected to be fined, not suspended

12.29.10 at 10:49 am ET
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According to various reports on the web, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre will be fined but not suspended by the league for his behavior in the Jenn Sterger texting controversy, with a decision expected to be announced by Thursday. NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora tweeted Wednesday morning: The fine will not exceed $50,000, and could in fact be less.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson: Michael Vick ‘should have been executed’

12.29.10 at 9:28 am ET
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Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson said Tuesday that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick “should have been executed” for killing dogs.

Carlson, filling for in for fellow conservative political commentator Sean Hannity, was criticizing President Barack Obama‘s decision to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a second chance.

Said Carlson: “I’m a Christian. I’ve made mistakes myself. I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick killed dogs. And he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should have been executed for that. He wasn’t.”

Here’s the video:

Read More: michael vick, Rumor Mill, Tucker Carlson,

Fan sues Bengals after incident in stands

12.29.10 at 8:39 am ET
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A Kentucky woman and her husband are suing the Bengals after an incident last year in which two men sitting behind her allegedly fell onto her head and broke her nose. Rebecca and Curtis Dunn charge that the Bengals and Paul Brown Stadium beer vendor Aramark were wrong to continue to serve beer to the two men, who the plaintiffs described as “noticeably intoxicated.”

The incident occurred at a game vs. the Steelers on Sept. 27, 2009. According to the suit, Dunn suffered “catastrophic injuries,” including a broken nose, a broke finger, and a dislodged cap on her tooth. Her medical bills were more than $20,000 and more medical charges are expected.

Read More: Bengals, Rumor Mill,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jenn Sterger misses deadline to file lawsuit vs. Jets

12.29.10 at 7:31 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.

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

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ It was two years ago Tuesday when Jenn Sterger allegedly received the last inappropriate text message from then-Jets quarterback Brett Favre. New Jersey law dictates that the statute of limitations for workplace sexual harassment claims is two years. Sterger has other strategies she could use, but if she planned to sue the Jets, it would have made sense that she file suit by Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the NFL still has not revealed its conclusion following its investigation into the matter, although a decision is expected this week.

‘™¦ The Eagles were upset by the Vikings in Philadelphia Tuesday night. In The Philadelphia Inquirer, Phil Sheridan writes that this is a bad omen for the Eagles. At FoxSports.com, Adam Schein writes that Michael Vick isn’t even worthy of second place for MVP, which he gives to Tom Brady, with Matt Cassel as runner-up.

The Heat won for the 15th time in 16 games when they beat the Knicks on Tuesday night. In The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Dave Hyde wants to know why coach Erik Spoelstra gets no credit now after the wave of criticism that hit him during the team’s slow start.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 29, 2002, the Red Sox signed which free agent who would become the first player in three-quarters of a century to win a championship with both the Red Sox and Yankees?

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Read More: brett favre, Erik Spoelstra, jenn sterger, michael vick

Darryl Sutter steps down as Flames GM

12.29.10 at 6:55 am ET
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Flames general manager Darryl Sutter resigned Tuesday, with the team struggling to a 16-18-3 record. Assistant GM Jay Feaster was promoted to acting GM and will receive assistance from Sutter in transitioning into his new role.

“[Sutter] was the leader that ignited a renaissance of Flames hockey, moving us from a non-playoff team to an organization that was viewed as a respected and popular contender each year,” team president Ken King said in a statement.

Read More: Darryl Sutter, Rumor Mill,

Joe Paterno: Retirement rumors ‘ridiculous’

12.29.10 at 6:48 am ET
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Penn State coach Joe Paterno, speaking during a news conference Tuesday at the Outback Bowl, called rumors of his retirement “ridiculous.” Paterno, 84, is wrapping up his 45th season as Nittany Lions coach by leading the team against Florida on New Year’s Day.

“People think I’m going to quit this year or next year. I haven’t even thought of it,” he said. “I honest to goodness have not thought of it.

“The situation around me is very stable. The athletic director was a kid that I recruited as a walk-on, the coaches have been with me … the [school] president has been with us now maybe 14, 15 years. We have a lot of fun together. I don’t see any reason to get out. … I feel great.”

Read More: Joe Paterno, Rumor Mill,

Top stories of 2010, No. 4: Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford

12.28.10 at 8:08 am ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. The countdown continues with No. 4: The Red Sox‘ signings of free agents Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries
No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers
No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga

Also, make sure to cast your vote in WEEI.com’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

For Red Sox fans, the first 11 months of the year provided few things to be thankful for. General manager Theo Epstein‘€™s decision to focus on pitching and defense left the team with few positive results to show for it.

A third-place finish in a season affected by injuries left Red Sox fans in need of a free agency fix to bring hope for the 2011 season. After Victor Martinez was plucked away by the Tigers two days before Turkey Day, Red Sox fans sat at the Thanksgiving table struggling to find something to give thanks for.

Less than two weeks later, the holiday cheer came early, when two of the game’s stars donned Red Sox uniforms. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez‘€™ journeys to Yawkey Way left the Red Sox as the consensus free agency winners and new favorites in the American League East.

The Red Sox entered the offseason with plenty of options to build their 2011 roster. Many experts expected the team to make a run at one of the elite free agent left fielders in Crawford or Jayson Werth, but other potential moves were a huge question mark. Would the Red Sox re-sign middle of the lineup stalwarts Martinez and Adrian Beltre, attempt to trade for more pitching or finally pull the trigger on a deal for Gonzalez?

By late November things looked bleak. Martinez’€™ decision to take a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers left the club missing one of its only consistent bats in the middle of the order. In just over a year of games in a Red Sox uniform, Martinez posted hit .312 with 28 home runs and 120 RBIs.  His loss also meant the Red Sox would rely on a combination of a young, unproven Jarrod Saltalamacchia and aging veteran Jason Varitek or another catcher to fill a slot in the weakened Red Sox lineup.

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Read More: Adrian gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Theo Epstein, Victor Marinez

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Paterno’s family silences rumors about Penn State coach retiring

12.28.10 at 7:57 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY TUESDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Joe Paterno is under contract for one more season at Penn State and has offered no indications that he plans to quit before then. However, as has been the case the past few years, there have been rumors indicating that he would retire after coaching his team in the Outback Bowl and completing his 45th season on the sideline. His family did not take well to those reports.

“Who started the crazy rumors?” wife Sue Paterno told PennStateScout.com on Monday. “He’s fine. No one has to identify who starts it. We don’t even know where it starts. … It’s just lies.”

Said daughter Mary Kay Hort to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Everybody’s been saying he’s going to retire. Someday, somebody might get it right.”

‘™¦ Ben Roethlisberger may have served his NFL suspension, but he’s not out of trouble with the courts yet. The Las Vegas Sun has an update on the civil suit against him in Nevada, where it was sent to the state’s highest court.

‘™¦ The Bobcats won their first game under new coach Paul Silas. In The Charlotte Observer, Scott Fowler writes that the former Celtic showed he still knew what he was doing despite 5 1/2 years away from an NBA bench.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 28, 1963, which Red Sox player was named winner of the Comeback Player of the Year award after amassing 42 home runs and 188 RBIs?

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Paterno, Paul Silas,