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Panthers safety Sherrod Martin fined $40K for helmet-to-helmet hit

12.01.10 at 9:06 pm ET
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Panthers safety Sherrod Martin was fined by the league $40,000 following a helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns tight end Evan Moore. Martin told reporters on Wednesday the amount of the fine, which he believes is a large sum because he is a “repeat offender.”

Martin was fined in the first week for a hard hit on Giants tight end Kevin Boss that gave Boss a concussion. For Martin, the fine hurts, as the 2009 second-round pick from Troy earns a base salary of $395,000.

The Texans’ Andre Johnson and the Titans’ Cortland Finnegan were each fined $25,000 for a helmet-less fight that occurred in Sunday’s game, yet Martin was targeted with the larger fine.

Martin declined to comment on the amount of the fine on Wednesday.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Cortland Finnegan, Rumor Mill, Sherrod Martin

Cavaliers guard Mo Williams says game against Heat ‘has been circled’ for some time

12.01.10 at 9:04 pm ET
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Cavaliers guard Mo Williams said on Wednesday that Thursday night’s game against the Heat in Cleveland has been circled on the team’s calendar for some time. Williams said that he and his teammates are excited to face their former teammates in LeBron James, The Associated Press reports.

The return to Cleveland has been a game that the Cavaliers have been anticipating since LeBron’s announcement to move to South Beach on July 8.

“It’s definitely more than a game, I can tell you that,” Williams said on Wednesday. “This game has been circled. There’s a lot of playoff feeling going on. The whole world is watching. It’s something that will go in the history books. I’ll be a part of that. I’m proud of that.”

James led the Cavaliers to the NBA finals in 2007 and the league’s best record in each of the last two seasons.

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mo Williams, Rumor Mill

Mother-in-law of Jazz owner stabbed to death in family bookstore

12.01.10 at 9:03 pm ET
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Police in Salt Lake City have determined that the mother-in-law of Jazz owner Greg Miller was stabbed to death at a South Salt Lake book shop, The Associated Press reports. Detectives were collecting evidence on Wednesday and had no suspects in the slaying.

Sherry Black, 64, was found dead by her husband on Tuesday in their book store, B&W Collector Books and Billiards Supply, police officer Gary Keller said. Jazz spokeswoman Linda Luchetti said that Miller and police discussed on Wednesday a reward for help in solving the case. The husband, Earl Black, is not a suspect.

The Jazz plan to hold a moment of silence before Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. The families will not be in attendance at the game on Wednesday, according to Luchetti, and no funeral arrangements have been made.

Jazz guard Deron Williams said: “The world we live in is messed up. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. Everybody should be with their family.”

Read More: Greg Miller, Rumor Mill, Utah Jazz,

Astros sign pitcher Nelson Figueroa to one-year deal

12.01.10 at 9:02 pm ET
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The Astros signed right-handed pitcher Nelson Figueroa to a one-year deal worth $900,000, including incentives, The Associated Press reports. The 35-year-old Figueroa’s deal avoids arbitration, which was announced on Wednesday. Figueroa, a Brandeis University product, has played for six MLB teams in his career with 137 appearances.

Figueroa was claimed off waivers by the Astros in July. He pitched in 18 games for the club, and in 10 starts earned a 5-3 record with a 3.22 ERA. He also pitched for the Phillies in 2010 and was 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA for the season.

Read More: Houston Astros, Nelson Figueroa, Rumor Mill,

Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia respects Yankees free agent SS Derek Jeter’s contract demands

12.01.10 at 5:03 pm ET
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With Derek Jeter reportedly seeking six years and upwards of $22 million annually from the Yankees, the 11-time All Star’s name has been in the news recently for having excessive demands. Another AL East infielder, and someone who’s seen quite a bit of Jeter over his career, doesn’t see what the big deal is.

“I think he’s earned the right,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said on WEEI’s “The Big Show” on Wednesday. “He’s a free agent, and he can ask for or demand whatever he wants. He’s done a lot of great things. He’s won five World Series. ‘€¦ That’s just a part of being a free agent.”

Last season, Jeter hit .270 with 10 homers and 67 RBI.

Read More: Derek Jeter, Rumor Mill,

ESPN to feature new Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team in 2011

12.01.10 at 4:11 pm ET
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The start of the 2011 baseball season will feature a new Sunday Night Baseball team, after ESPN did not renew the contracts of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. ESPN.com announced on Wednesday that the new team of Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine will take over the booth on Sunday nights next season.

Miller and Morgan had been the voices on Sunday Night Baseball for the past 21 seasons. The new team, according to ESPN Executive Vice President of Production Norby Williamson, will make for a “dynamic Sunday Night team.”

Shulman and Hershiser both worked on Sunday Night Baseball last season; Shulman with ESPN Radio and other ESPN TV games, and Hershiser with SNB TV games as well. Valentine was an analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, and will be in the booth for the first time.

Read More: bobby valentine, Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Rumor Mill

Miami Heat up security as LeBron James returns to Cleveland

12.01.10 at 4:11 pm ET
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The Heat have decided not to release the team’s travel plans for its trip to Cleveland, when the Heat take on the Cavaliers on Thursday night, ESPN.com reports.

Typically the team releases its travel plans, hotel location and pregame workout plans for the team’s media to select outlets during away games. However, a team spokesman said on Wednesday that the team will not reveal those plans in LeBron James‘ homecoming of sorts to Cleveland.

This game will mark the first return to the city James left in July in favor of South Beach and the Heat. According to ESPN, James and his teammates are expecting a hostile environment at the Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday.

“I think it’s going to be tough,” James told ESPN. “But I’m there to win a basketball game, and I understand how passionate fans are about sports. So I’m ready for whatever response I’m going to get.”

The league has taken additional security measures in preparation for the game.  

Read More: Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Rumor Mill

Cam Newton among three finalists for Walter Camp Award

12.01.10 at 4:10 pm ET
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Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, in the wake of NCAA recruiting allegations that were deemed relevant, but not enough to keep Newton from playing in the SEC title game, was announced as a finalist for the Walter Camp Award, The Associated Press reports.

The Walter Camp Award is given annually to the nation’s best player, as voted upon by Football Bowl Subdivision coaches and Sports Information Directors.

Joining Newton as other semifinalists for the award are Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9.

Newton has thrown for 2,254 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,336 yards and 18 touchdowns. James is the nation’s leading rusher, averaging almost 155 yards per game. Luck has thrown for 3,051 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Read More: Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, LaMichael James, Rumor Mill

University of Miami targeting Jon Gruden, but Donald Trump wants Mike Leach

12.01.10 at 4:10 pm ET
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After firing coach Randy Shannon on Saturday, the University of Miami plans to speak with current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden today about filling the vacant coaching position, ESPN.com reports. The Associated Press cited an anonymous source on Sunday in reporting that Gruden is on the top of Miami’s list to fill the position.

Gruden has coached the NFL’s Buccaneers and Raiders, and has partnered with Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

However, according to USA Today, Donald Trump wants Miami to hire former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach to the position. This isn’t the first time that Trump has backed Leach, either. He vied for the hiring of Leach in 2006 after Larry Coker left – the year the university hired Shannon. Trump sent messages to Donna Shalala, the university president, saying that Leach should be the replacement.

Miami has not issued a timetable for the hiring of a coach and said that names of candidates will not be released until a hire has been made.

Read More: Donald Trump, Jon Gruden, mike leach, Rumor Mill

NCAA rules Auburn quarterback Cam Newton eligible to play in SEC title game

12.01.10 at 2:05 pm ET
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The NCAA has ruled that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game this weekend, The Associated Press reported. Newton has been cleared despite the fact that the NCAA evidenced that his father did violate rules by shopping his son to other schools.

On Tuesday, Auburn declared that Newton was ineligible after the college sports governing body ruled a violation of his amateur status did occur. Auburn sent a request to the league that he be reinstated.

Newton has been cleared to play by the league without any conditions. The NCAA released its findings in a statement on Wednesday.

The Tigers play South Carolina in the SEC title game this Saturday. Auburn can clinch a guaranteed spot in the BCS National Championship Game with a win over the Gamecocks.

Read More: Auburn Tigers, Cam Newton, Rumor Mill,