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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell e-mails fans about CBA talks: ‘I know we can and will reach an agreement’

01.03.11 at 11:22 am ET
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent an e-mail to fans in the league’s database Monday, thanking them for their support and updating them on talks for a new collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union.

Following is the complete text of the e-mail.

With one of the most exciting regular seasons now completed and the playoffs about to begin, let me first thank you and all NFL fans for your incredible support. Many fans have been asking me where we stand on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Let me update you and be clear at the outset:

I know we can and will reach an agreement.

My goal as Commissioner now is to help our teams and players find a solution that is fair to everyone and ensures that football becomes more popular, accessible, and fun. We want the next decade to be the best yet for our fans, and I’€™m ready to work day and night to make that happen.

We’ve come a long way. Compare where we are today with 10 years ago. From player accountability to player safety, more and better television coverage, upgrading the in-stadium experience, innovations like the RedZone channel, the Draft in prime time and playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl, we are focused on doing what’€™s best for the players, teams, and fans. My priority is and always will be the game and the fans who love our game.

The NFL is great because fans care deeply about it. Economic conditions, however, have changed dramatically inside and outside the NFL since 2006 when we negotiated the last CBA. A 10 percent unemployment rate hurts us all. Fans have limited budgets and rightly want the most for their money. I get it.

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John Elway reportedly to become Broncos’ chief executive

01.03.11 at 11:09 am ET
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Broncos legend John Elway reportedly is set to become the team’s chief football executive, The Associated Press reports.

“Talks with John are progressing, but nothing has been finalized at this point,” team spokesman Patrick Smyth said.

General manager Brian Xanders said of the rumored move. “He’s a winner, he knows football, he’s going to hold people accountable and he knows where we want to go and he’ll be a great leader for our organization.”

Elway, who played his college football at Stanford, reportedly plans to talk to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh about the Broncos’ job.

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Bengals’ Marvin Lewis reportedly wants changes if he is to return

01.03.11 at 10:30 am ET
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Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is without a contract after his team ended a disappointing 4-12 season Sunday with a 13-7 loss to the Ravens. According to an ESPN report, Lewis is ready to move on if the team is not willing to make changes he’s wanted for years.

Lewis, who is scheduled to meet with team president Mike Brown on Monday, reportedly wants the Bengals to upgrade their training facilities and player personnel department.

“All I know is, officially today I’m no longer employed,” said Lewis, who is 60-67-1 in eight seasons in Cincinnati. “Where I am right now in my coaching career is a different point from where I was eight years ago, and I think this football team is a lot different than it was eight years ago, and that’s good. … We’re in a good spot.”

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Raiders’ Tom Cable rumored to be on way out

01.03.11 at 10:23 am ET
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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Tom Cable is unlikely to return as Raiders coach. The team has until Jan. 18 to decide whether or not to exercise the option on Cable’s contract. The Raiders are 17-27 under Cable since he took over for Lane Kiffin four games into the 2008 season. Oakland finished 8-8 this season, 6-0 in the AFC West.

Cable was asked after Sunday’s win over the Chiefs if he thought he would be back, but he did not directly answer the question. “We’re not losers anymore. We’re 8-8,” he said. “That’s not what we wanted. We wanted to be a playoff team. We came here to get the sixth win, which means we went 6-0 in the division and most importantly, we are done with that losing. We are not losers anymore.”

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Browns fire coach Eric Mangini

01.03.11 at 10:17 am ET
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The Browns announced Monday that Eric Mangini was relieved of his duties as coach by team president Mike Holmgren.

“This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought,’€ Holmgren said in a statement. ‘€œAlthough we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That will continue to be our goal in everything we do. I want to thank Eric for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the best of luck in the future.’€

Said Mangini in his statement: ‘€œThe experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been tremendous. I appreciate the opportunity that the Lerner family gave me. I have a deep respect for the players that I have coached the past two years and how they have made a profound difference in changing the culture ‘€” a tougher, smarter, more competitive, selfless team that never gave up. Our goal was to build a team for long-term success. The core characteristics we were dedicated to, I believe, will help achieve that goal, and have provided a strong identity for this football team and have helped to create a positive foundation upon which the organization can continue to build.

“I feel strongly that the Cleveland Browns are headed in a very positive direction and greatly value the commitment and exceptional efforts of the coaches, players and everyone in the building that I’€™ve worked with in trying to help achieve our goals. My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed living in the Cleveland community and appreciate the support and passion of the fans. I know Mike and [general manager Tom Heckert] are also dedicated to building a championship caliber organization and wish them nothing but success.”

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Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon main suspect in fatal shooting

01.03.11 at 10:11 am ET
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Police in the Dominican Republic said Sunday that Orioles relief pitcher Alfredo Simon is the main suspect in a fatal shooting New Year’s Eve and that the pitcher fled after the killing.

Michel Castillo Almonte, 25, was killed and his 17-year-old brother was wounded during a celebration in Luperon, police said.

Felipe Alou Jr., a Dominican representative for the Orioles, said he spoke with Simon on Saturday and the pitcher insisted he was not involved in the shootings.

Simon, 29, was 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA last season. He had 17 saves before surrendering the closer’s job to Koji Uehara.

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Caron Butler could miss two months for Mavericks

01.03.11 at 10:05 am ET
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Mavericks forward Caron Butler, injured during Saturday night’s loss to the Bucks, was diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon and could miss two months or more, according to an Associated Press report.

The team was awaiting results of an MRI before making an announcement.

The Mavericks already are missing Dirk Nowitzki, who has missed three games with a sprained knee. Dallas is 0-3 in those games.

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Randy Edsall leaves UConn for Maryland football job

01.03.11 at 10:01 am ET
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After spending 12 years building UConn out of 1-AA team to a Top 25 team that appeared in bowl games the past four seasons, Randy Edsall was tabbed to be the next football coach at the University of Maryland. Edsall replaces Ralph Friedgen, was was fired after 10 seasons with the Terrapins.

Edsall, the 2010 Big East Coach of the Year, was chosen over former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.

Maryland announced the hiring Sunday night and scheduled a press conference for Monday afternoon.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: ESPN suspends announcer, anchor

01.03.11 at 7:54 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:
NHL: Bruins at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ ESPN announcer Ron Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl following his sexist comment toward a female sideline reporter. Franklin, 68, reportedly referred to Jeannine Edwards as “sweetcakes” during a production meeting when she attempted to join a discussion he was having with another announcer. When she complained, Franklin allegedly then swore at her. ESPN did not have time to find a replacement for Friday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl but made the move for Saturday.

The move comes just days after an ESPN anchor was suspended for plagiarizing a newspaper story. Will Selva admitted to copying all but a few words of a column on the Lakers written by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register and using it on air.

‘™¦ With Charlie Weis apparently headed to the University of Florida to be offensive coordinator, Sam Mellinger in The Kansas City Star looks at the alleged cold relationship between Weis and Chiefs coach Todd Haley. Writes Mellinger: “Haley looks like an impossible man to work for, ego and insecurity driving two veteran offensive coordinators away in a 16-month span.”

‘™¦ The University of Pittsburgh fired coach Mike Haywood two weeks after making the much-criticized hire, moving on after Haywood was charged with domestic battery. In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ron Cook writes that Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson now is the one on the hot seat.

‘™¦ Ryan Bourque, the 19-year-old son of former Bruins standout Ray Bourque, is leading the U.S. team at the IIHF World Junior Championship. In The Buffalo News, Bucky Gleason writes about the younger Bourque’s contributions to Team USA.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: [Note: Updated with a correction.] On Jan. 3, 2000, Pete Carroll had coached his final game with the Patriots a day earlier with a win over which team?

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Brett Favre says he’s ready to retire

01.03.11 at 6:53 am ET
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Brett Favre‘s playing career ended on the sidelines on Sunday.

The 41-year-old quarterback was unable to play for the Vikings in their season-ending loss to the Lions, sidelined by a concussion as his team finished its season with a 6-10 record. After the game, Favre — who announced his retirement following the 2008 season with the Packers and the 2009 season with the Jets, only to return both times — said that he has played his last NFL game.

“I know it’s time, and that’s OK. It is,” Favre told reporters. “Again, I hold no regrets, and I can’t think of too many players offhand that can walk away and say that. Individually and from a team standpoint, it was way more than I ever dreamed of.”

Favre’s 20th NFL season (19th as a starter) was his most difficult on and off the field. He threw nearly twice as many interceptions (19) as touchdowns (11), and his 69.9 quarterback rating was the worst of his career. He also dealt with a slew of injuries that resulted in the conclusion of his NFL record streak of 297 consecutive starts by a quarterback. Off the field, he faced allegations of inappropriate conduct with a team employee while with the Jets; Favre was fined $50,000 for his failure to cooperate with the NFL’s investigation into the matter.

Despite the final campaign, Favre would also be walking away from football as the NFL’s all-time leader in wins (186), passing yards (71,838) and touchdown passes (508).

“That’s the thing every player and former player that I’ve talked to … will tell you that what you miss is the guys, the fellowship, the bus rides, locker rooms, winning and losing together, celebrating together,” Favre said. “That’s the things you’re going to miss. If I sat here and told you I would not miss that, I’d be kidding myself. From a playing standpoint, there’s nothing else left to do.”

For more on Favre, click here.

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