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It’s official (sort of): Shaq is engaged be married to a former reality TV star

09.13.10 at 6:04 pm ET
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According to MediaTakeOut.com, Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal is engaged to former reality TV star Nikki “Hoopz” Alexander.

Alexander was the winner of the VH1 show “Flavor of Love” in which she dated rapper Flavor Flav and came away with the first-place prize of $25,000. According to Wikipedia.com, Alexander, 27, also dated former CBA All-Star James “Boo” Jackson.

It has been reported that O’Neal, who signed a two-year deal with the Celtics this offseason, has bought a house in Sudbury.

O’Neal was previously married to Shaunie Nelson from 2002-09. The couple have three children together.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Drew close to guaranteeing final year of Sox deal

09.13.10 at 4:46 pm ET
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So long as he does not go on the disabled list over the final three weeks of the season with an injury that would prevent him from playing outfield in 2011, J.D. Drew‘s final season of the five-year, $70 million pact he signed prior to the 2007 season will become guaranteed.

The contract included language meant to protect the Red Sox had Drew missed significant time. Had he spent 35 or more days on the disabled list due to a pre-existing right shoulder condition in either 2009 or 2010, the Sox would have had the right to opt out of the deal after either season. Drew, who has not been on the D.L. this year, has already ensured that such an outcome cannot take place.

One other conditional opt-out remains should Drew end the year on the D.L. with an injury that would prevent him from playing outfield in 2011. But given that players are almost never placed on the disabled list in September (the 40-man roster limit typically makes such moves unnecessary), it would seem all but certain that Drew will be back with the Sox to earn another $14 million in 2011.

Drew is hitting .257 with a .347 OBP, .444 slugging mark, .792 OPS and 18 homers this year. For more on Drew, and his 2010 struggles, click here.

Read More: j.d. drew, Rumor Mill,

Red Sox call up Rich Hill

09.13.10 at 4:28 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox have selected the contract of Milton native Rich Hill from Triple-A Pawtucket. Hill signed a minor league deal with the Sox at the end of June. The 30-year-old went 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 29 walks in 53 innings for the PawSox.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Interpreting Bill Belichick

09.13.10 at 2:49 pm ET
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Extracting information from Bill Belichick is kind of like trying to remove an Asian swamp eel out of your butt: Deadly. So, we’€™re going inside the mind of the Patriots coach as he responds to real (dumb) questions following the Week 1 win over Cincinnati ‘€¦

How happy are you for Wes Welker after he worked so hard to get back?
BB: I’m happy for Wes. I’m happy for the whole team. I’m happy for everybody.
BB’€™s brain: How happy am I? That’€™s like asking Clay Aiken, ‘€œHow straight are you?’€ Have you ever been to any of my press conferences? I’€™m never happy.

Can you talk about the young cornerbacks and the game that they played today?
BB: We had our moments. They had theirs. I thought it was a good, competitive battle.
BB’€™s Brain: They played great. They shut down T.O. and limited a pretty loaded passing attack, but like you said, they’€™re young, so I’€™m not going to blow smoke up their a**es. In fact, I’€™m going to rip them a new one in the film room.

Did you get a good look at Brandon Tate’s return for a touchdown?
BB: I think I saw enough. He’s done that before. He’s a good runner, good with the ball in his hands, and it looked like he was close on at least one other one.
BB’€™s Brain: I was too busy braiding Tom Brady‘€™s hair. Of course I got a good look at it. In case you haven’€™t noticed, I have pretty good seats. They let me watch right from the sidelines. I’€™m surprised you haven’€™t seen me. They show me on TV all the time.

Was there a little bit of the element of the unknown on defense coming into this game with so many rookies?
BB: Again, we’ve had over 50 practices, and this is our fifth game. Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a lot to learn. There are a lot of things we can do better and all of that, but at the same time, we’ve been doing those things for a quite a while with the same people.
BB’€™s Brain: News flash: I’€™ve been around football since I was taking dumps in diapers. I’€™ve got a pretty good grasp of what my team is capable of doing. We have these things called practices and preseason games, where we throw an oblong brown object around. I get to attend those, too.

Were you encouraged by how they communicated out there and worked together?
BB: We had our moments. ‘€¦ There were some other things that we need to work on and improve on–no doubt about that. It was far from perfect; it was no Picasso.
BB’€™s Brain: What am I, a preschool teacher? Hold on a second while I go give them all gold stars and pats on the back for communicating and working together.

Not that you didn’t see it in the 50 practices and preseason, but did Devin McCourty show you anything else today, and maybe live up to his first-round draft status?
BB: He’s very professional going about his job and being prepared and playing good technique and really trying to play the responsibilities of the defense. He’s been like that all the way. He’s still got a lot to learn, but he’s done a good job for us.
BB’€™s Brain: I drafted the guy in the first round of the NFL Draft. I’€™m gonna go out on a limb and say that I had an idea he could play football. I watched every down he ever played in college. The only time I could possibly ever see anything new from him would be in the showers, and that’€™s not gonna happen.

What, if anything, did you learn about your team today? You’ve said that going into the season opener you never really know.
BB: We’ll see how it goes next week. We’ve got other challenges: going on the road and playing a different type of team with the Jets. We’ll give it a few games here and see how it goes. We learned a little bit today, but we won’t even be in that situation next week.
BB’€™s Brain: I don’€™t know if I learned anything, but I think Jon Gruden did. Isn’€™t he the one that said we were overrated? There’€™s a reason I’€™ve won three Super Bowls, and there’€™s also a reason that Jon’€™s been out of a job for the last two seasons.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Tate, Devin McCourty, Jon Gruden

Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens tight-lipped on leaving field early

09.13.10 at 9:30 am ET
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According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis explained that the reason Chad Ochocino left the field prior to the conclusion of halftime Sunday was to get an IV. Lewis also didn’t want to comment on Terrell Owens leaving early, as well. The Bengals were forced to attempt a Hail Mary pass in the waning seconds of the first half without the pair.

‘€œWe had (No.) 85 in to get an IV, which is normal anytime we’€™re on defense particularly early in the season,’€  said Lewis.

Both receivers said that reporters should ask Lewis about the situation, with neither offering much insight to the situation.

“It’s the same thing I’ve been doing for the last 10 years,” Ochocinco said.

Owens commented, “Coach said he would address that,” multiple times when asked.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Tough luck continues for Lions with controversial call and Matthew Stafford injury

09.13.10 at 9:12 am ET
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With only 24 ticks on the clock in their contest with the Bears, the Lions seemed primed for their first road win in three years. But a late and controversial call on what appeared to be a Calvin Johnson touchdown catch allowed the Lions to continue doing what they do best: lose.

It was about the only good throw for Shaun Hill, who entered following a Matthew Stafford shoulder injury. He finished 9-of-19 with no touchdowns and one interception to go with a lost fumble, five three-and-outs and only three first downs.

And this might be a sight Detroit fans have to stomach for at least two more weeks. According to a profootballtalk.com report, the organization fears Stafford could miss 2-3 weeks at minimum, and as many as six weeks. NFL.com’s Jason La Confora seconds the Lions’ fears. Stafford, who went 11-of-15 for 83 yards before being taken out after a hit by Julius Peppers, will undergo X-rays and an MRI Monday morning to reveal the exact extent of the damage.

Read More: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford, Rumor Mill

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets being investigated for behavior toward female reporter

09.13.10 at 7:10 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 TODAY:
MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Jets coach Rex Ryan, assistant coach Dennis Thurman and some players are being investigated for inappropriate behavior toward a female reporter who was at the team’s practice Saturday. Ines Sainz of Mexico’s TV Azteca was at practice to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez when Thurman and others allegedly overthrew passes during drills so the balls would land near her. After practice, when Sainz entered the locker room, several players reportedly hooted and hollered. Sainz later tweeted in Spanish that she was “dying of embarrassment.” Jets management said that the issue was addressed during a team meeting, and the NFL is looking into it. Meanwhile, another report indicates the league is investigating Ryan and assistant coach Marty Schottenheimer for allegedly overseeing Sanchez’ offseason workouts in California. In the New York Daily News, Gary Myers writes about the unwanted attention as the Jets prepare to open their season with a Monday night game against the Ravens.

‘™¦ A motivated U.S. squad won the world championship in Istanbul behind Kevin Durant‘s MVP effort, proving the doubters wrong.

‘™¦ Angels manager Mike Scioscia supports expanding baseball’s postseason but suggests trimming the regular season by four games in order to allow time without extending the World Series into November.

‘™¦ Women’s Professional Soccer will not replace outgoing commissioner Tonya Antonucci, with team owners set to play a larger role in running the struggling league.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Sept. 13, 1946, the Red Sox clinched the American League pennant with a 1-0 victory over Indians. Who scored the lone run on an inside-the-park home run?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’€™m not saying that I’€™m not appreciated here, but this is the last year of my contract and there hasn’€™t been anything discussed, there has not been anything said, not a letter, nothing. I’€™m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job lets me go to another team, then that what’€™s it gonna be. Right now I have a contract with the New England Patriots, I’€™m going to play my last year out and do it to the best of my ability.” ‘€” Patriots receiver Randy Moss, following Sunday’s 38-24 victory over the Benglas

STAT OF THE DAY: 231 ‘€” Rushing yards for Texans running back Arian Foster in Houston’s 34-24 victory over the Colts on Sunday, the second most ever in an NFL opener

‘NET RESULTS: Fantastic finish to a high school football game, with an 80-yard touchdown to win the game on the final play.

A soccer goalie makes a save on a penalty kick, but he neglects to make sure the ball is out of harm’s way, and it rolls in for a goal while he is celebrating.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Ted Williams, with the only inside-the-park home run of his career

SOOTHING SOUNDS: David Clayton-Thomas, lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears, is 69 Monday.

Read More: Ines Sainz, Kevin Durant, Rex Ryan,

Stan Van Gundy fires back at Pat Riley

09.12.10 at 6:45 am ET
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Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy fired back after Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s comments regarding the criticism surrounding the building of his team. “I thought it was pretty typical,” Van Gundy told OrlandoMagic.com. “I was kind of amused by it, especially reading down through the interview. He goes into Charles Barkley, me and Otis and then says he doesn’t worry about what people say … Wait, you called the press conference, you went off … and you don’t care what people say? Clearly, he cares a great deal about what people say. I was laughing when I saw that.” To see the complete report click here.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Report: 49ers’ Vernon Davis highest-paid tight end… again

09.11.10 at 4:00 pm ET
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According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers have signed tight end Vernon Davis to a five-year, $37 million contract extension. The deal makes Davis,  the sixth overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, the highest-paid tight end in the history of the league. Davis had 13 touchdowns last season for San Francisco, leading all NFL tight ends.

Such a rich deal is nothing new for Davis. In fact, he was the highest-paid tight end in the history of the league when he signed his first pact, worth $23 million over five years.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Vernon Davis,

Allen Iverson could end up in China

09.11.10 at 11:40 am ET
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According to reports out of China, and HoopsMarket.com, Allen Iverson is in negotiations with the Chinese professional team, Foshan, to play in the country next season. Iverson is a free agent, having last played for the 76ers before leaving the club due to personal reasons in February. Iverson has developed an enormous popularity in Asia throughout his professional career.

Read More: Rumor Mill,