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Yankees reportedly set to sign reliever Pedro Feliciano

12.17.10 at 10:51 am ET
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According to multiple reports. the Yankees are close to a deal with left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano. The 34-year-old free agent reportedly had interest from the Red Sox and Phillies after posting a 3.30 ERA in 62 2/3 innings for the Mets this past season. Feliciano held lefties to a .211 average in 2010 and all batters to a .273 mark.

Read More: Pedro Feliciano, Rumor Mill,

Cowboys QB Tony Romo engaged to TV reporter

12.17.10 at 9:18 am ET
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Injured Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who was a frequent subject of gossip reports when he dated singer Jessica Simpson, is engaged to Dallas television reporter Candice Crawford.

Crawford, a former Miss Missouri, works as a sports reporter for KDAF-TV. The station reported that the 30-year-old QB proposed to Crawford while the couple were celebrating her 24th birthday at a Dallas restaurant on Thursday.

Romo has been out since breaking his collarbone on Oct. 25.

Read More: Candice Crawford, Rumor Mill, Tony Romo,

Brian Billick: ‘Of course Rex [Ryan] knew about’ sideline wall

12.17.10 at 8:43 am ET
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Former Ravens coach Brian Billick, speaking on ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning radio show Thursday, said Jets coach Rex Ryan ‘€” who served as Billick’s defensive coordinator in Baltimore ‘€” had to know what was happening on the Jets sideline when strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi instructed players to form a wall to block a Dolphins gunner.

“Of course Rex knew about this,” Billick said.

At ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio writes that no one he contacted believes the Jets coaching staff was unaware of what was happening just a feet away from the head coach.

The league is investigating the situation, as well as comments from Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff accusing the Patriots of doing the same thing.

Read More: Brian Billick, Rex Ryan, Rumor Mill,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ron Artest an admitted ‘coward’ during Pacers days

12.17.10 at 7:12 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:
No games scheduled

SATURDAY:
NHL: Capitals at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)

SUNDAY:
NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 1 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NFL: Packers at Patriots, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Ron Artest takes honest introspection to a new level for a professional athlete. Before his Lakers met his former team, the Pacers, on Wednesday, Artest was frank about his immature behavior when he played in Indiana from 2002-06. “A coward, I was a coward,” he said. “When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.”

Artest conducted a memorable interview after the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the finals in June, when he credited his therapist for keeping him grounded. He further explained Wednesday that he wasn’t tough enough to overcome his mental problems during his younger days.

“There’s no question those [mental-health issues] played a role,” he said. “I just wasn’t mentally strong enough to deal with adversity, deal with things not going my way, not strong enough to not throw an elbow [at Pistons guard Richard Hamilton] when [Game 6 of the 2004 Eastern Conference finals] was tied. … That’s why it’s so hard for me to forgive myself for that time in my life. It sticks with me. It sticks with me.”

‘™¦ Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the latest to criticize the Bowl Championship Series set-up in college football. Cuban announced he would fund a playoff system, although his proposal was, unsurprisingly, met with opposition by BCS executives. At the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, Randy Galloway writes that Cuban has the clout to make this happen.

‘™¦ At AOL FanHouse, Kevin Blackistone writes that the late Bob Feller played a key role in helping push forward the integration of major league baseball.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 17, 2004, the Red Sox made a free agent signing that looked promising but did not pay dividends. Which player did they sign?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bob Feller, Mark Cuban, Ron Artest,

Kerry Wood returns to Cubs

12.17.10 at 7:06 am ET
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The Cubs are scheduled to announce Friday the signing of pitcher Kerry Wood to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.5 million with the Cubs. Wood was a standout starter for the Cubs early in his career, when he was healthy enough to pitch. He left Chicago for the Indians in 2008 and was acquired by the Yankees during last season.

Read More: Kerry Wood, Rumor Mill,

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban looking to financially end BCS college football system

12.16.10 at 1:10 pm ET
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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has shown interest in financially funding a way to end the BCS college football system in favor of a playoff-style postseason, ESPNDallas.com reports. Cuban told ESPNDallas on Wednesday that he is ‘€œactively interested but in the exploratory stage’€ of creating and funding a playoff system to find college football’€™s national champion.

‘€œThe more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team,’€ Cuban said. ‘€œYou can do something the whole country wants done.’€

Cuban tried to purchase the Cubs and Rangers within the last few years. He said that he has already contacted several athletic directors from BCS conferences who were interested in the idea, and he plans to contact several school presidents in the upcoming weeks. Cuban told ESPN that he envisions either a 12- or 16-team playoff field with the higher seeds getting home field advantage.

Read More: Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, Rumor Mill,

After just one start, Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson will miss remainder of season with injury

12.16.10 at 1:09 pm ET
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The season was short-lived for Vikings backup quarterback Tavaris Jackson, who saw time two weeks ago against the Bills when regular starter Brett Favre went down with a shoulder injury, and started last weekend in a loss to the Giants. But, according to a league source that told ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter, Jackson will miss the remainder of the season, the team announced on Thursday. Jackson reportedly has a turf toe injury.

Jackson left Monday night’€™s game against the Giants twice with an injury, the second time being turf-toe related. According to ESPN, the team signed free agent quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who hasn’€™t played in an NFL game since the 2008 season.

Favre is questionable for Monday night’€™s game against the Bears, but should the 41-year-old not be ready to go, Ramsey and rookie sixth-round pick Joe Webb will be the two QB’€™s on the depth chart. Webb was going to be used as a wide receiver before the season started, but the team decided to keep him listed at quarterback.

This season, Jackson has thrown for three touchdowns and four interceptions, with a passer rating of 63.9. The decision as to who will start will be made by Vikings coach Leslie Frazier later this week.

Read More: brett favre, Minnesota Vikings, Rumor Mill, Tavaris Jackson

After 14 months, U.S. and Sochaux striker Charlie Davies could play this weekend

12.16.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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Just 14 months after getting in a serious car accident and suffering nearly fatal injuries, Sochaux forward and United States striker Charlie Davies is hoping to return to the soccer field this weekend in the French league, ESPN Soccer Net reports. Davies, a Manchester, N.H. native, sat out the entire 2010 World Cup while his United States team advanced out of the group stage and into the round of 16, where they eventually lost to Ghana.

The 24-year-old Davies says that he feels he is 90 percent healthy just over a year after the accident that claimed another passenger’€™s life. Davies was also a passenger when the accident occurred on Oct. 13, 2009. The striker broke two bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, suffered a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder, and bleeding on the brain.

The last match Davies played in was the United States’€™ qualifier against Honduras on Oct. 10, just three days before the accident. And now Davies is ready for a comeback.

‘€œI really can’t think of a better way to make my comeback than against Bordeaux, in the game where it all began, and come back after over a year out of the game against one of the top teams in France,’€ Davies said. ‘€œIt would be astonishing to finally get my chance.’€

Read More: Charlie Davies, Rumor Mill, United States,

Eric Mangini names Browns rookie Colt McCoy starter for remainder of season

12.16.10 at 1:08 pm ET
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Browns head coach Eric Mangini officially named rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the starter for the remainder of the season. Mangini announced the move on Thursday, and said that McCoy, who missed the past three games with a high-ankle sprain, chose to play this weekend after he consulted Browns president, Mike Holmgren.

McCoy will make his first start back against the Bengals after suffering the injury that kept him sidelined for three games. With three games remaining in the regular season, and the Browns officially eliminated from playoff contention, Mangini feels that McCoy has earned the opportunity to grow as a player.

‘€œI feel he’€™s earned this opportunity and I want to give it to him,’€ Mangini said on Thursday. ‘€œI want to see how he continues to grow. This is by no stretch just throwing a young guy in just to throw a young guy in.’€

The Browns’€™ remaining three games will be against all division opponents. The team travels to Cincinnati this weekend, and will host Baltimore and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy, Eric Mangini, Rumor Mill

Bears could protest change of venue for Monday Night Game

12.16.10 at 11:41 am ET
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Judd Zulgad of the Minnesota Star-Tribune has tweeted that the Chicago Bears might file a protest regarding the change of venue for next Monday night’s game in Minnesota. With the Metrodome not able to host the game due to a roof collapse after a snowstorm last weekend, the game is expected to be played at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.

The field at TCF Stadium, however, may not be cleared of snow by Monday, and that coupled with temperatures expected to be near zero could make for an unplayable field.

Chris Harris of the Bears tweeted the following about the possibility of playing at TCF on Monday: ‘€œPlayers have concerns of traction n the impact of falling on surface that could be as hard as asphalt. What if ur head hits it.’€”

Read More: Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Rumor Mill,