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Shaquille O’Neal finally decides on a nickname

10.14.10 at 6:32 am ET
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According to the Boston Herald, Celtics‘ center Shaquille O’Neal has decided on his nickname for the coming season.

‘€œThe Big Shamrock, aka Blackie Bulger, aka the Godfather of Sudbury,’€ he told the Herald.

Asked about the challenge of the Miami Heat, O’Neal said, “‘€œI don’€™t really worry about other teams. Of course they have a historical backcourt, but it’€™s going to be a very exciting year for a lot of teams. A lot of teams feel they can win. May the best team win.’€

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Chargers place Shawne Merriman on season-ending IR

10.13.10 at 2:17 pm ET
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Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman was placed on the reserve-injured list Wednesday with a calf injury and a “minor-injury designation,” the team said in a news release. According to the designation, the Chargers must release Merriman when he is ready to play again.

Merriman, 26, re-injured his calf in San Diego’s loss to the Raiders on Sunday. He has struggled with injuries the last three seasons, including missing 15 games in 2008 after having reconstructive knee surgery.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Shawne Merriman,

Video: Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson suspended for hit

10.13.10 at 11:03 am ET
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Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was suspended Tuesday by the NHL for two games after a hit on Sabres right wing Jason Pominville. Hjalmarsson was ejected from Monday night’s 4-3 win after hitting Pominville from behind just inside the Sabres’ zone, sending him crashing into the boards, where his head slammed against the glass. Pominville sustained a concussion and a gash above his eye that required at least seven stitches.

“My intention wasn’t to hurt him,” Hjalmarsson said after the game. “You never want to see someone laying on the ice like that.” Hjalmarsson was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct, which forced the Blackhawks to play with five defensemen for the rest of the game. With the suspension, he will miss Wednesday’s game against the Predators and Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets.

The suspension may come as a small relief to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who on Tuesday urged the NHL to “change the culture” and send a message that blindside hits are not acceptable.

Read More: Jason Pominville, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Rumor Mill, Ryan Miller

Video: Islanders’ James Wisniewski suspended for obscene gesture

10.13.10 at 10:59 am ET
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Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski was suspended Tuesday by the NHL for two games because of an obscene gesture he made toward Rangers forward Sean Avery during Monday’s game on Long Island (video below). During a stoppage of play in the first period, Wisniewski made a gesture simulating oral sex while being separated from Avery by the referees. Wisniewski said he didn’t remember making the gesture, but the actions were caught on tape and available on YouTube before the game was even over.

“A lot of actions on the ice are regrettable,” Wisniewski said in a statement. “I’ve been given a suspension from the league, and I’m going to accept it and move on from here.” Wisniewski will sit out games against the Capitals on Wednesday and the Penguins on Friday.

Read More: James Wisniewski, NHL, Rumor Mill, Sean Avery

Gilbert Arenas admits faking injury to let teammate start

10.13.10 at 10:05 am ET
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Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said he faked a knee injury before the team’s preseason home opener so that teammate Nick Young could start.

Prior to Tuesday night’s game vs. the Hawks, Washington coach Flip Saunders announced that Arenas would sit with a sore knee. After the game, Arenas told a different story.

“I told [Young] I’d sacrifice playing tonight so he can get some time in because I know he’s kind of frustrated he’s not getting a chance to crack the [small forward] position, especially since we’re going three guards,” Arenas said with a smile. “So I told him I’ll go and fake an injury or say something’s wrong with me so you can start.”

Young started and played 31 minutes, scoring a team-high 24 points in the Wizards’ 107-92 victory.

Arenas, who is returning from a 50-game suspension last season for bringing guns into the locker room, said his knee was fine and that he would play in Thursday’s game vs. the Bucks.

Read More: Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, Rumor Mill,

Report: Fredi Gonzalez to manage Braves

10.13.10 at 9:53 am ET
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According to MLB.com, multiple sources have confirmed that Fredi Gonzalez will be introduced as the Braves new manager on Thursday. Gonzalez was speculated as a leading candidate to succeed Bobby Cox since Gonzalez’ dismissal by the Marlins on June 23. Gonzalez served as a member of the Braves coaching staff from 2003-06, during which time he was widely respected by players and administrators.

As manager of the Marlins, Gonzalez went 276-279 in three-plus seasons and posted winning seasons in 2008 and 2009. The Marlins were just two games below .500 when he was dismissed in June. During his time with the Marlins, Gonzalez kept his family’s residence in suburban Atlanta, continuing to strengthen his close friendship with Cox as well as Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell. Other Braves veterans who have voiced their support for Gonzalez include Chipper Jones, Tim Hudson and Brian McCann. They were all in Atlanta while Gonzalez completed his four-year stint as Braves third base coach.

Read More: Atlanta Braves, Bobby Cox, Fredi Gonzalez, Rumor Mill

Agent tells magazine he paid college football players

10.13.10 at 9:25 am ET
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Former sports agent Josh Luchs told Sports Illustrated he paid college football players in the early to mid-1990s, and many of the players confirmed it. Among the players Luchs claimed he paid were 1998 No. 2 pick Ryan Leaf, 1994 No. 10 pick Jamir Miller, 1992 23rd pick Chris Mims. Leaf and Miller declined comment. Mims died two years ago.

Luchs listed more than 20 other college players he said he paid, and seven of them confirmed receiving money in violation of NCAA rules. Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden turned down cash but admitted receiving Janet Jackson concert tickets from Luchs, also against NCAA rules.

Luchs also accused ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper of helping promote players for agent Gary Wichard ‘€” who is in the middle of the University of North Carolina controversy. Kiper denied the accusation. Luchs sued Wichard for breach of contract after leaving Wichard’s agency but lost. Wichard filed a grievance with the NFLPA over Luchs’ handling of a commission check, and Luchs was suspended in 2007 for one year.

Read More: Chris Mims, Jamir Miller, Josh Luchs, Rumor Mill

Jets CB Darrelle Revis’ hamstring acting up again

10.13.10 at 9:11 am ET
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Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said his left hamstring was “very sore” after the team’s victory over the Vikings on Monday night. Revis had missed the previous two games because of the strained hamstring, which he sustained in the first half of the Jets’ 28-14 win over the Patriots in Week 2. After the Jets defeated the Vikings, 29-20, Revis said the hamstring was bothering him throughout the game.

Coach Rex Ryan was not sure as of Tuesday if Revis will play against the Broncos on Sunday. “There was added swelling in his leg,” Ryan said, “but hopefully he’ll be ready to roll.”

Revis was not up to his best against the Vikings, and the Jets chose to use Antonio Cromartie on Randy Moss. Revis mostly defended Percy Harvin and Greg Lewis in what Ryan called a “decent football game” by the star player.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Rex Ryan, Rumor Mill,

NFL expected to review controversial catch rule

10.13.10 at 8:43 am ET
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The NFL is expected to review the rule that cost Lions receiver Calvin Johnson a potential winning touchdown in a season-opening loss to Chicago. After Johnson went to the turf with possession, he placed the ball on the ground as he ran up to celebrate. The pass was ruled incomplete because Johnson didn’t maintain possession of the ball throughout the entire “process” of the catch.

“The going-to-the-ground rule definitely will be discussed,” said Rich McKay, NFL competition committee co-chairman, at Tuesday’s fall league meetings. “It’s been discussed the last couple of years. It’s a difficult rule. … There’s a definite conflict. We have to go back and look if we extended it too far.”

The competition committee will meet after the Super Bowl to suggest any rules changes to team owners at the league’s spring meetings in March 2011.

Read More: Calvin Johnson, NFL, Rumor Mill,

LeBron James leaves Heat’s game with leg cramps

10.13.10 at 8:01 am ET
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LeBron James scored 22 points in 26 minutes in an exhibition game vs. CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night in Miami, but the Heat forward left the game in the third quarter with leg cramps. “I’m fine,” James said. “I can be ready the next game if I needed to play.”

The Heat already are missing Dwyane Wade, who strained his hamstring in the preseason opener Oct. 5.

Read More: LeBron James, Rumor Mill,