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Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey hopeful for Super Bowl

02.02.11 at 8:37 am ET
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Despite the fact that he was still on crutches as late as Monday, Maurkice Pouncey hopes to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The Steelers center suffered a high left ankle sprain in the AFC championship game against the Jets.

Pouncey, who was selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie this season, was off the crutches and walking around in a boot at Tuesday’s Media Day. He said there probably won’t be a final decision made on his availability until a day or two before the game.

“I’m walking around pretty good today,” Pouncey said. “I couldn’t do anything in the cast. Now that I’m in the walking boot, there’s a lot that I can do now. I’m icing it at night, and I’ve got to elevate it real good. Hopefully, I’m on the bike today and maybe some pool action later.”

Read More: Maurkice Pouncey, Rumor Mill,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Steelers LB James Harrison mocks NFL commissioner

02.02.11 at 7:55 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:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Steelers linebacker James Harrison made clear his feelings about being heavily fined for hits to the head this season. At a cold Super Bowl media day on Tuesday, he said sarcastically: “I don’t want to hurt nobody, I don’t want to step on nobody’s foot and hurt their toe, I don’t want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on the field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt, I just want to tackle them softly on the ground and, if y’all can, lay a pillow down where I’m going to tackle them so they don’t hit the ground too hard, Mr. [Roger] Goodell.”

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ron Cook writes that Harrison’s mocking of the commissioner crossed the line.

‘™¦ With the Bulls playing well, Sean Deveny at the Sporting News writes that former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau is a perfect fit in Chicago and wonders why it took so long for Thibodeau to get his opportunity.

‘™¦ With the Wilpon family preparing to sell part of the team due to fallout from the Bernie Madoff scandal, The New York Times examines just how big of a role Madoff played in the Mets’ finances. Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that Fred Wilpon and other Mets executives met with commissioner Bud Selig on Tuesday.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 2, 1943, the Red Sox signed which future Hall of Fame outfielder who was in the twilight of his career?

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Read More: bud selig, Fred Wilpon, James Harrison, Tom Thibodeau

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Tom Brady more disliked than Ben Roethlisberger in poll

02.01.11 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:
NHL: Bruins at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Celtics at Kings, 10 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ According to a poll commissioned by The Hollywood Reporter, Sunday’s Super Bowl is headed for record ratings, and while Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the most disliked player in the game, Tom Brady surprisingly ranks higher on the list of most disliked NFL players.

The poll indicates that 78 percent of Americans plan to watch the game, which would be a 5 percent hike from last year, and more are cheering for the Packers (45 percent to 39 percent). As for the league’s most disliked players, Brett Favre is No. 1, Michael Vick No. 2, Brady No. 3 and Roethlisberger No. 4.

‘™¦ Hockey Night in Canada and the NHL Players Association conducted a poll about the least desirable team to play for. The Islanders were the runaway winner with 27 percent. The Oilers were second at 20 percent, followed by the Sabres (8 percent) and Thrashers (7 percent). Tied for fifth were the Maple Leafs and Canadiens, at 5 percent.

‘™¦ The Cavaliers were routed by the Heat on Monday, their 21st consecutive loss. At Fox Sports Florida, Bill Reiter writes that the Cavs have gone from The Decision to The Debacle, and it’s clear that LeBron James made the right choice in getting out of Cleveland.

‘™¦ Los Angeles took another step toward landing an NFL franchise with a deal expected to be announced Tuesday that gives naming rights for a proposed downtown stadium to Farmers Insurance.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 1, 2004, the Patriots beat the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII behind the efforts of MVP Tom Brady. Which Super Bowl passing record did Brady set in the game?

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Tom Brady

Report: Freddy Garcia agrees to deal with Yankees

02.01.11 at 7:55 am ET
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According to ESPN.com, starting pitcher Freddy Garcia has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Yankees which would pay the veteran $1.5 million if he makes the major league roster. The 35-year-old could make as much as $5.1 million if all of his incentives are reached. Garcia totaled a 4.64 ERA in 28 starts with the White Sox in 2010, throwing 157 innings. He battled shoulder injuries throughout the previous three seasons, having been considered by the Red Sox prior to the 2008 season.

Read More: Freddy Garcia, Rumor Mill,

Eagles kicker David Akers reveals daughter is battling cancer

01.31.11 at 11:18 am ET
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After veteran kicker David Akers missed two field goals in the Eagles’ 21-16 playoff loss to the Packers earlier this month, there was plenty of speculation over what was going on with the kicker. There had to have been some sort of reason the usually reliable kicker was off that day. Now we know what that reason is.

Akers revealed to the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article Sunday that in the week leading up to the game, doctors found a cancerous cyst in his 6-year-old daughter Halley‘s left ovary. The ovary was removed the week after the game and early tests show that doctors got all of the malignant tumor. Halley will have to go for blood tests every month to make sure the cancer doesn’t return, but even if she remains cancer-free, doctors said she will likely have to have her right ovary removed eventually as well.

Akers didn’t make any excuses after the missed field goals and chose to keep his daughter’s struggle quiet, but it’s obvious now that football was not the only thing on his mind that day.

“I could tell he was there doing his job,” his wife, Erika, told the newspaper. “But he wasn’t there.”

Read More: David Akers, Rumor Mill,

Report: NHL concussion numbers on the rise

01.31.11 at 10:33 am ET
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Although there has been a decrease in blindside hits to the head, the number of concussions in the NHL is still increasing, according to a preliminary report received by the NHL board of governors Saturday.

Commissioner Gary Bettman told The Associated Press that the majority of concussions this season have come from accidental or legal hits rather than the illegal hits the league has cracked down on.

“We’ve seen players suffer concussions this season when they’ve stumbled into the boards or other players without any contact at all,” Bettman said. “We’ve seen players suffer concussions when struck by pucks in the head, we’ve seen players concussed when they collide with teammates, and when they were hit legally and without head contact after which their heads have struck either the ice or the boards or the glass.

“The biggest increase in instances of concussions this season and the biggest increase in man-games lost, is from these types of so-called accidental or inadvertent contact.”

Read More: Gary Bettman, Rumor Mill,

Lions quarterback Shaun Hill’s father dies after fall at son’s home

01.31.11 at 10:33 am ET
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Ted Hill, the father of Lions quarterback Shaun Hill, died Saturday after falling while helping his son work on a barn at Shaun’s home, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Ted Hill, 60, was an assistant football coach, the boys and girls basketball coach, athletic director and principal at Parsons (Kan.) High School, where he coached his son in both football and basketball.

“Just a very humble and generous man, that’s the best way to describe him,” Steve Lardy, play-by-play voice of Parsons, told the newspaper. “And it’s reflected in his son. Shaun’s his dad’s kid. They’re identical.

“Very humble, very active in the community. Shaun comes back here every year and gives a lot of his time to kids in the community, and Ted was that way, too. Very humble. You’d never know Shaun played in the NFL — you wouldn’t — and he’s been that way ever since he left town.”

Read More: Rumor Mill, Shaun Hill, Ted Hill,

Diana Taurasi denies taking PEDs

01.31.11 at 8:48 am ET
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Women’s basketball star Diana Taurasi told The Associated Press on Sunday that she never used performance-enhancing drugs.

“There’s no way I’ve ever taken anything,” she said.

Taurasi, who tested positive for the stimulant modafinil, blames the Turkish lab that conducted the testing.

“I went from being really angry to wondering, ‘Why me?’ I won’t let it bring me down,” she said.

Read More: Diana Taurasi, Rumor Mill,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Martin Luther King’s son wants to buy Mets

01.31.11 at 7:06 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Martin Luther King III, the 53-yard old son of the late civil rights leader, is part of a group trying to buy the Mets from the Wilpon family, which is being forced to sell at least a portion of its shares due to the Bernie Madoff debacle. TV executive Larry Meli noted that no MLB team has African-American ownership. “It’s fitting with the legacy of Jackie Robinson essentially transferring to the Mets; what better place to have African-American ownership than with the Mets?” Meli told the New York Post. “The time and place are right for it.”

‘™¦ This week marks the 10th anniversary of the first game for the XFL, the brash league that attempted to lure NFL fans still hungry for football after the Super Bowl. At FanHouse, David Whitley takes a look at the few ups and many downs in the league’s brief history.

‘™¦ As the 13 Iowa football players who were hospitalized for rhabdomyolysis continue to improve, questions abound about the curious response by Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz, who did not immediately return from a recruiting trip to visit his ailing players or attend a press conference explaining the situation. At ESPN.com, Pat Forde has a piece questioning Ferentz’ leadership (and accountability and compassion) following the controversy.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 31, 1971, Bobby Orr became the second defenseman in Bruins history to record his 100th career goal. Coincidentally, the first B’s defenseman to achieve the milestone scored his 100th goal on the same day, 38 years earlier. Who is he?

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Read More: Kirk Ferentz, Martin Luther King,

Kevin Durant: Chris Bosh one of NBA’s ‘fake tough guys’

01.31.11 at 6:54 am ET
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Kevin Durant and Chris Bosh received technical fouls for their exchange in the first quarter of the Thunder’s loss to the Heat on Sunday. The normally passive Durant still wasn’t pleased with Bosh after the game.

“I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his two cents into it,” Durant said. “I’m a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I’m not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He’s on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit.”

Added Durant: “There’s a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he’s one of them.”

The discussion came after Bosh fouled James Harden to stop a fast-break layup. Bosh explained that Durant was telling Harden that he should take the ball hard on Bosh.

“I think he was telling Harden to dunk on me, or dunk the next one,” Bosh said. “I expressed that, ‘No, he’s not going to dunk that.’ And he expressed, ‘Yes, he is.’ It just kind of went back and forth.”

Added Bosh: “I don’t think it was anything to get a tech over. It was just talking. He stood his ground, and I respect that.”

Read More: Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Rumor Mill,