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Serena Williams battling depression

03.17.11 at 11:59 am ET
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In an interview with USA Today, Serena Williams discussed her recent health scare as well as her issues with depression.

“I definitely have not been happy,” said Williams. “Especially when I had that second surgery [on my foot], I was definitely depressed. I cried all the time. I was miserable to be around.”

Williams has been sidelined by foot injuries since last July after her victory at Wimbledon. Earlier this month she also suffered a pulmonary embolism and had to be hospitalized for treatment of the resulting hematoma.

When Williams will return to the court is still uncertain.

“I don’t know what’s realistic,” Williams said. “I really don’t know. I haven’t put a date on it yet. I know how to play tennis. I’ve been doing it for a long time — longer than I can say. So I figure that will work out.”

Read More: Rumor Mill, Serena Williams, tennis,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jenn Sterger sues ex-manager for return of texts, e-mails

03.17.11 at 7:53 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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 THURSDAY:
NHL: Bruins at Predators, 8 p.m. (NESN)
MLB Preseason: Mets at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Jenn Sterger , the alleged victim of the lewd Brett Favre text message, is suing her former manager, Phil Reese, to get back her e-mails and texts and to stop Reese from using the material in a book. Sterger filed suit Tuesday saying she never intended for Reese to have full use of the material.

‘™¦ Chargers linebacker Kevin Burnett appears to be fed up with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. In an interview Wednesday with San Diego’s XX Sports Radio, Burnett said, “Goodell’s full of it. He’s a liar. You’re a blatant liar.” Added Burnett: “What have you done for the players? What have you done, in all honesty, to improve the game, besides fine guys, besides take money away from guys, besides change a game that you’ve never played? … He’s done nothing to improve the game.”

‘™¦ Suns guard Grant Hill responded to the insults leveled at him and his black Duke teammates by the Fab Five in ESPN’s documentary about the Michigan stars of the early 1990s. In a thoughtful piece in The New York Times, Hill wrote that his “friends” calling him an “Uncle Tom” was a misguided an inappropriate insult.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 17, 1940, the Bruins finished the season with the NHL’s best record and the league’s top three scorers. Who were they?

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Read More: Fab Five, Grant Hill, jenn sterger, Kevin Burnett

Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco to try out with soccer team

03.16.11 at 1:29 pm ET
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Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco will participate in a four-day tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer starting next Tuesday. Ochocinco grew up playing soccer and said he’s “excited to be able to follow my childhood dream.”

The team said Wednesday that it would decide after the tryout whether to extend the trial period.

Read More: Chad Ochocinco, Rumor Mill,

Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar loses eye after being hit by line drive

03.16.11 at 12:48 pm ET
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Doctors were unable to save the eye of Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar, who was struck by a line drive while watching a spring training game March 9. Salazar, a former major league player, is expected to return as manager of Single-A Lynchburg.

Salazar had been serving as an extra major league coach when he was struck while standing on the top step of the dugout during a game against the Cardinals. A ball off the bat of Braves catcher Brian McCann struck him and he fell headfirst into the dugout. He was airlifted to an Orlando hospital, where he was treated for multiple facial fractures.

Read More: Luis Salazar, Rumor Mill,

NFL: Hits on defenseless players may lead to suspensions

03.16.11 at 12:39 pm ET
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NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay and NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said Wednesday on a conference call that they are planning to crack down ever further on players’ hits against defenseless opponents.

“When warranted, suspensions will be an effective discipline for us,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to go there, but we will do that. We need to be aggressive in disciplining.”

Added Anderson: ‘€œIn 2011, if there are repeat offenders or flagrant violators, we are going to hold them aggressively accountable, even if it means suspension ‘€” some folks believe that suspension is the real messenger in terms of serious enforcement. Some of the hits we had this year, particularly if it’€™s a repeat offender, that person and that club should know that having that person sit out a game ‘€” or multiple games in certain circumstances ‘€” is very much on the table.’€

Another topic of discussion was kickoffs. McKay said the committee is proposing moving the kickoff back to the 35-yard line (from the 30) and giving the receiving team the ball at the 25 instead of the 20 in an effort to encourage touchbacks and cut down on kickoff injuries.

‘€œThe injury rate on kickoffs remains a concern for us,’€ McKay said.

Another proposed change would be to have replay officials examine all scoring plays for review rather than rely on coaches to make a challenge.

The proposals are scheduled to be voted on by owners an next week’s annual NFL meeting.

Read More: NFL competition committee, Rumor Mill,

NCAA tournament bracket tips: What they’re saying nationally

03.16.11 at 10:19 am ET
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Picking your NCAA tournament bracket is anything but an exact science. You could put hours of research into your bracket only to have it completely destroyed by the end of the first weekend. Or you could pick based on jerseys or mascots and end up winning your pool. There are certain trends worth paying attention to, though, and there are plenty of resources where you can learn about those trends.

Unsurprisingly, ESPN.com has the most comprehensive guide to picking your bracket. The site says that in the first round, you should pick all the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, pick one or two 12 seeds to upset a No. 5, and pick a No. 3 or No. 4 seed to lose.

Then you should pick one double-digit seed to reach the Sweet 16. You should also pick all the 1 seeds to get there, but ESPN says odds are that one of the 2 seeds will lose in the second round. The site says that if you still have any 12 seeds left in the Sweet 16, don’t pick them to continue on to the Elite Eight.

For the Final Four, ESPN says you should pick at least one 1 seed to get there, but not all four. It’s also a safe bet to pick all teams that are a 4 seed or better. And if you’re going to take a flier on someone, make it a No. 5 or No. 6 seed, but nothing lower than that.

ESPN isn’t the only site that can help you with your bracket, though. CBS gives us a list of dos and don’ts. The site says DO favor the big-name schools because they have more elite athletes who can help cover up weaknesses. They say DON’T fall in love with your upset picks too much, DON’T expect much from the Pac-10 and DON’T pick Ohio State to win it all because the Buckeyes are in the toughest region.

The Washington Times provides its own dos and don’ts. It says DO pick Texas A&M to get to the second round, but DON’T pick the Aggies to go any further. It also says DO pick at least one Colonial Athletic team to win in the first round and DON’T fall in love with UConn after its run through the Big East tournament.

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Read More: bracket tips, NCAA tournament,

Roger Goodell denounces draft boycott plan

03.16.11 at 8:40 am ET
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In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday night’s “SportsCenter,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denounced an NFLPA plan to keep prospects from attending next month’s draft.

“I just think it’s a shame for young men that are starting their careers in the NFL, that are having that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come across the stage, become an NFL player for the first time [to not be able to attend the draft],” Goodell told Schefter. “It’s a really special moment and I hope they get to experience it.”

Multiple sources told Schefter about the plan Monday. According to his sources, the NFLPA contacted 17 of the top prospects who are likely to be invited to the draft and recommended that they not attend.

Read More: Adam Schefter, Roger Goodell, Rumor Mill,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NBA referee might have case in suit against AP reporter

03.16.11 at 7:35 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: Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Braves, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ NBA referee Bill Spooner is suing an Associated Press reporter over a tweet that reported Spooner promised a makeup call to Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis. The league cleared Spooner but advised against the defamation suit. At SportsIllustrated.com, Zach Lowe looks at whether the suit has a chance.

‘™¦ A story came out this week about a former Clippers assistant coach who needed prostrate cancer surgery a few years ago, and the team wouldn’t help pay for it (some players chipped in to cover it instead). At Yahoo!Sports.com, Adrian Wojnarowski criticizes commissioner David Stern for allowing this type of behavior, and for turning into someone who is feared rather than respected. Wojnarowski writes that Stern is losing touch and losing hold with comments like those of last week that were critical of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Writes Wojnarowski: “He gets such a charge out of humiliating those under him.”

‘™¦ In a poll of New York sports fans, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was voted the greatest athlete in New York history, beating runner-up Babe Ruth.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 16, the Red Sox traded away which catcher ‘€” who then refused to report to his new team (the Indians) and retired instead?

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Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Babe Ruth, Bill Spooner, David Stern

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau criticizes protesting Canadiens fans

03.16.11 at 7:34 am ET
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Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau questioned fans in Montreal who protested outside the Bell Centre Tuesday night prior to the Caps-Canadiens game. The fans want the league to crack down on hits to the head, following Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty last week.

“You don’t like it, don’t come to the games. I think the players realize that they can get hurt. But unless you’ve played and see what goes on at the speed of the game, you’re not going to be able to argue with it,” Boudreau said.

“Listen, I don’t want to get into any controversy, but if that were [Canadiens defenseman] Hal Gill who hit David Krejci, I don’t think there’d be a protest going on here today.”

Read More: Bruce Boudreau, Rumor Mill,

NHL GMs decide not to ban hits to head

03.16.11 at 6:40 am ET
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At the NHL general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., GMs decided Tuesday not to recommend a ban on hits to the head. Some other suggestions were made instead to try to cut down on concussions.

GMs will push for tighter enforcement of charging and boarding penalties and ask for longer suspensions for illegal head hits, especially for repeat offenders.

“By the time the season is over there will be 55,000 hits, and a small percentage are resulting in concussions,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We want to eliminate concussions, but the view is if we can define a rule that makes sense and doesn’t cause other problems in the game, we’re going to try and do that.”

Read More: Gary Bettman, NHL general managers meetings, Rumor Mill,