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Niners fire Mike Singletary after loss

12.27.10 at 6:47 am ET
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The 49ers fired coach Mike Singletary on Sunday night, after the Niners returned from a 25-17 loss in St. Louis that dropped their record to 5-10 and eliminated them from playoff contention. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula was promoted to interim coach for the final game this season against Arizona.

“I want to thank Mike Singletary for the passion and effort that he brought to this organization,” team president and CEO Jed York said in a statement. “He is a tremendous person for whom I will always have great respect.”

Singletary, 52, has an 18-22 record in two-plus seasons. The 49ers started this season 0-5 and made a late run at a playoff berth in the weak NFC West.

“One of the greatest experiences of my life was having the opportunity to coach the San Francisco 49ers,” Singletary said in a statement. “What made it so special were the players. They were some of the most outstanding men I have ever been around in my life. The coaches were truly professionals. I wish the 49ers nothing but the best. I am thankful to the York family for having given me the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. I am indebted to them for that. I am also thankful for the faithful fans, I am just sorry I couldn’t give them more.”

Read More: Jim Tomsula, Mike Singletary, Rumor Mill,

Top stories of 2010, No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga

12.27.10 at 6:41 am ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. The countdown continues with No. 5: The Randy Moss saga.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries
No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers

Also, make sure to cast your vote in’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

The Patriots began the 2010 season with what many fans and analysts considered to be the best offense in all of football, topped off with star quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Randy Moss. The two teamed up to form the best quarterback-receiver duo in 2007, Moss’€™ first year with the Patriots. Brady highlighted the year with a single-season-record 50 touchdown passes, and 23 of them were to Moss. It was an incredible run that set the bar high in the eyes of New England fans for future seasons.

So, at the beginning of the 2010 season, when contract discussions surrounding Moss’€™ future with the team took over training camp and the first few preseason weeks, many began to wonder what the receiver known for his outspoken and attention-seeking ways would do. There were games toward the end of the 2009 season when Moss was accused of taking certain plays off, including ones in which he was targeted by Brady. When the 2010 season began, Brady and starting offensive tackle Logan Mankins were the two players drawing the most concern about contract extensions, leaving Moss to feel left in the dark.

The Patriots opened the season at Gillette Stadium against the Bengals, a game that featured three of the most controversial receivers in the league on the field at the same time in Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and Moss. And after the Patriots handed the Bengals a 38-24 loss, it was, surprisingly, the New England receiver who stole the postgame show.

‘€œIf you got a boss, you would like to feel appreciated,’€ Moss said in a press conference following the Patriots’€™ win. ‘€œThis is the last year of my contract, and there hasn’€™t been anything discussed. There hasn’€™t been anything said; not a letter, not 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’€™s what it’€™s going to be.’€

The comments stunned players, coaches and fans alike. Why had Moss chosen to bring his contract situation up now? Thus began the downward spiral of Randy Moss’€™ days as a Patriot.

In Week 2, the Patriots traveled to the new Meadowlands to face the Jets, their division rivals who received league-wide attention in the offseason for their big mouths and even bigger egos, as demonstrated by “Hard Knocks,” the HBO reality show. After jumping out to a nice lead (helped by a touchdown on a fantastic catch by Moss), Brady and the Patriots surrendered to the Jets in the second half, eventually dropping a 28-18 contest. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez could do no wrong in the second half, while Brady struggled to find any receivers, especially Moss, who was thrown to a number of times. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie shut down the veteran receiver, filling in nicely for the injured Darrelle Revis.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Randy Moss, Tom Brady

Report: Donovan McNabb will ask for release from Washington Redskins

12.26.10 at 11:50 am ET
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According to, Washington Redskins‘ quarterback Donovan McNabb will be asking for his release following the season. According to the report, the Redskins, who surrendered second- and fourth-round picks for McNabb in a trade with Philadelphia, wouldn’t likely initially grant the quarterback his release, instead looking for some value in a trade. To read the full report click here.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Top stories of 2010, No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers

12.26.10 at 10:41 am ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’€™s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 6: The Bruins’€™ historic playoff collapse against the Flyers.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries

Also, make sure to cast your vote in’€™s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

In 2010 the Bruins did not take a traditional path to the playoffs. There was the 10-game losing streak, a record-breaking home losing streak, a shortage of offense (the B’€™s ranked second-worst in the league in total goals scored in regular season), and just a general sense of dejection surrounding the so-called Big Bad Bruins. But you’€™ve got to give the guys credit for defying their critics down the stretch. The B’€™s won four of their final five games, gathering points in all of them, to not just secure a playoff spot, but also jump up to the sixth seed.

‘€œI knew we had it in here but we just had to bring it out,’€ forward Mark Recchi said back in April. ‘€œI never had any doubts about the guys. You know, I just know what is in here. That was the frustrating part, because you know what is in here and you know we can get it through a couple more notches and we just weren’€™t doing it consistently. We would do it some nights, but it wasn’€™t a consistent thing and that was our problem all year.’€

Things came together at the right time for the Bruins, and they knocked off their first-round playoff opponent, the Sabres, in six games. Suddenly the Bruins found themselves hosting an Eastern Conference semifinal series against Philadelphia.

‘€œI think that was probably a good thing for us where we hit some adversity like that where we hit such a low,’€ forward Milan Lucic said. ‘€œI mean, for us to overcome that and end up where we are now we found a way to come together and do that. It is what helps a lot of teams ‘€” to be successful is to go through some adversity and with everyone pegging us out, the media was all over us, the fans were all over us to just walk up to bat and do some good, it was just a good thing for us to see and pull through and stick up for each other.’€

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Read More: marc savard, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask

Michael Vick on MVP: ‘I would take … myself’

12.25.10 at 11:29 am ET
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Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, considered by many to be a co-favorite for NFL MVP along with Tom Brady, was asked after practice Friday who he would select if he had a vote.

“You put me on the spot,” he said, before smiling and saying: “I would take … myself.”

Brady leads the NFL with a 109.9 passer rating. Vick is third at 103.6. He also has rushed for 613 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vick spent Christmas in 2007 and 2008 in a Kansas penitentiary serving an 18-month sentence related to an illegal dogfighting ring.

“I’m just blessed to be here,” Vick said. “I spent two Christmases in Kansas, and that was by far the toughest thing I’ve had to do. Each and every year I reflect on that, and I think it will always make the holiday season more gratifying.

“[I’m] just thankful for a lot, thankful for the opportunity that I’ve been given, thankful for the blessings, and hopefully they’ll continue to come.”

Read More: michael vick, Rumor Mill, Tom Brady,

Sabres’ Derek Roy out for season

12.25.10 at 11:24 am ET
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Center Derek Roy, the Sabres’ leading scorer, will miss the rest of the season after tearing his left quadriceps tendon. Roy, hurt on a check by Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov during Thursday’s game, will have surgery in the couple of days and recuperate the next 4-6 months, the team announced.

In 35 games, Roy has 10 goals and 25 assists for a team-high 35 points. He also leads Buffalo forwards in ice time (20:03 per game).

Read More: Derek Roy, Rumor Mill,

Top stories of 2010, No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries

12.25.10 at 10:51 am ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. Our next entry in the countdown is No. 7: The Red Sox‘ injury-plagued lost season.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: The Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. the Ravens
No. 8: The Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath

Also, make sure to cast your vote in’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

The 2010 Red Sox season was supposed to be predicated on two traits: pitching and defense. All offseason long, Theo Epstein raved about those qualities as the team signed Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and John Lackey while letting Jason Bay sign with the Mets.

There was only one problem with Epstein’€™s plan. He could not have factored in the most important characteristic of the 2010 squad: injured, early and often.

Within the first two weeks of the season, the Red Sox already had suffered their first casualties of the season when two-thirds of their outfield went on the disabled list. Things would only get worse, as the team lost three starting pitchers to the DL, four catchers were sidelined and two of the most reliable and productive members of the lineup, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, missed large parts of the season.

Things became so bad that they were almost laughable. The Red Sox led the league in total trips to the DL with 23, and finished fourth overall with over 1,050 games lost to the DL and more than $20 million lost due to injury. Their 89-73 record look that much more impressive considering the Red Sox lost most of their most important players rather than just a slew of no-names.

Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka each missed five or more starts and those in the bullpen suffered myriad injuries. Victor Martinez missed just 23 games on the disabled list, a relative victory for a team of the walking injured. A torn thumb muscle forced Youkilis to ride the pine for over 60 games and Pedroia’€™s broken foot kept him out for more than half the season. Cameron, the most disappointing of the new acquisitions, managed just 162 at-bats. But the biggest exemplar of all the injuries and frustration of the 2010 season was Jacoby Ellsbury.

With Cameron’€™s addition, Ellsbury was supposed to take over left field duties and potentially become an even scarier threat on the base paths. The 26-year-old, who had led the league in steals in back-to-back seasons with 120 combined steals, was drawing very favorable praise during spring training.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, kevin youkilis, Mike Cameron

Top stories of 2010, No. 8: The Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath

12.24.10 at 8:13 am ET
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For the final 10 days of 2010, will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. Our third entry in the countdown is No. 8: The Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath.

Also, make sure to cast your vote in’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.

The Bruins carried themselves through a good portion of the 2009-10 season undaunted, just waiting to take on their next opponent. In Bill Belichick terms: They were playing their season one game at a time.

The team was riding a season on the back of young netminder Tuukka Rask, who had the B’€™s in not just the playoff hunt, but in good postseason standing with just several months remaining on the regular-season schedule.

But on March 7, the Bruins made a trip to Pittsburgh that will live in Boston sports infamy.

The Penguins were a good team ‘€” a team that boasted one of the biggest names in modern-day hockey in Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-1 lead late in the third period when Bruins center Marc Savard was set up for a quick wrist shot in between the faceoff circles in the Penguins’€™ zone. After Savard got the shot away, Penguins left wing Matt Cooke skated in on Savard and put a shoulder into his blind side, catching the side of Savard’€™s head and neck. The shot came from almost behind the Bruins center, and after the puck had already been released.

Savard hit the ice hard and didn’€™t move for minutes, except to open and close his hand. Meanwhile, Bruins players skated at Cooke, seeking some form of redemption for the swipe. But when referees held up any extra physicality, no further push was made by either team to reconcile what had happened. The game ended in a 2-1 Penguins victory, but the Bruins had lost much more than just the game itself.

For weeks, analysts and even teammates discussed the hit and whether or not it was legal, or should have drawn a suspension, while Savard suffered the effects of a major concussion. Ultimately, league disciplinarian Colin Campbell ruled that the hit on Savard was not worthy of a fine or suspension, that Cooke’€™s hit was technically legal (it was not penalized by the on-ice officials).

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Read More: Boston Bruins, marc savard, matt cooke,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets owner Woody Johnson backs Rex Ryan

12.24.10 at 7:54 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

No games scheduled

NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 2:30 p.m. (ABC; WEEI)

No games scheduled


‘™¦ Jets owner Woody Johnson threw his support behind coach Rex Ryan in the wake of the foot-fetish video that was made public this week, insisting his “respect has not diminished one iota.” Said Johnson: “We’re going to make mistakes. We’re not perfect. But once we’ve made a mistake, I think we’re pretty good at trying to make remedies and trying to cure and trying to correct what we’re doing. … We’re going to work on trying to make ourselves an organization that doesn’t have, preferably, any incidents.”

Johnson also called Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to apologize for comments by his special teams coach following the incident on the sideline two weeks ago.

“You wish some of these things hadn’t happened,” Johnson said. “But I’m very proud of the organization. I think the organization responded very responsibly in every case. The culture that I’m looking for is starting to develop.”

‘™¦ Five Ohio State football players, including quarterback Terrell Pryor, were punished for selling personal awards, but their suspensions won’t begin until next season, leaving them eligible for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 against Arkansas. At ESPNcom, Pat Forde speaks for most columnists when he writes that the ruling “defies common sense.” In The News-Herald of Northern Ohio, John Kampf writes that Pryor is leaving a legacy, but it’s not a good one.

‘™¦ Jeff Goodman of was at Wednesday night’s Central Florida-UMass basketball game, and he writes about the gutsy effort of UCF’s Marcus Jordan, son of Michael, who overcame an injury to help his team improve to 11-0.

‘™¦ Colts receiver Austin Collie, placed on IR after repeated issues with concussions, should consider retirement, writes Bob Kravitz in The Indianapolis Star.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 24, 2004, the Red Sox re-signed catcher Jason Varitek and named him captain. Who was the last player to serve as team captain before Varitek?

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Read More: Marcus Jordan, Rex Ryan, Terrell Pryor, Woody Johnson

Titans receiver Randy Moss denies calling radio show to complain about coach Jeff Fisher

12.23.10 at 7:38 pm ET
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Titans wide receiver Randy Moss denied the accusations that he called into the 4-Hour Lunch on 104.5-FM and complained to the hosts about head coach Jeff Fisher, the Tennessean reported on Thursday. Many listeners thought that a caller named ‘€œWoody’€ was Moss calling in to talk about Fisher because his accent sounded similar to that of the wide receiver.

Moss, however, denied reports that he ever called in to the station, and told Fisher himself in a private meeting between the two that it was not him.

‘€œThat is not me, that is not my M.O.,’€ Moss told the Tennessean on Wednesday. ‘€œI would never do an individual like that. ‘€¦ I conduct myself and carry myself as a man, so if there is something I need to say to you, I’€™ll say it to your face. I wouldn’€™t go through no radios and try to hide and stuff like that.’€

Moss said that the accusations were brought to his attention by head strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson. Moss said that he had not heard the interview with the radio station.

Read More: Jeff Fisher, Randy Moss, Rumor Mill, Tennessee Titans