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Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman a target of taunts

11.30.10 at 9:54 am ET
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As if missing two field goals in Boise State’s 34-31 overtime loss to Nevada on Friday wasn’t difficult enough, Broncos kicker Kyle Brotzman is now having to endure an endless stream of taunts on social networking sites. The senior kicker, and leading scorer in school history, missed a game-winner from 26 yards with two seconds left in regulation followed by another from 29 yards out in overtime. The loss spoiled the Broncos’ unbeaten season and their hopes of playing in a BCS bowl game.

It didn’t take long for angry fans to turn on Brotzman, who grew up in the Boise area. Within hours the Ada County Sheriff’s Department got a report about callers leaving obnoxious, harassing telephone messages. That was followed by the emergence of dozens of Facebook pages filled with ugly name-calling, jabs and taunts aimed at Brotzman. However, supporters also responded quickly starting “Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman” and “We Still Love Kyle Brotzman” pages to stand by the beleaguered kicker.

Broncos’ coach Chris Petersen tried to deflect criticism away from Brotzman on Monday, saying no single person is responsible in a loss like that and that there is plenty of blame to go around.

Read More: Boise State, Chris Peterson, Kyle Brotzman, Rumor Mill

Alabama PA announcer fired for song choices

11.30.10 at 9:54 am ET
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The University of Alabama terminated an employee Monday who played unauthorized songs aimed at Auburn quarterback Cam Newton over the Bryant-Denny Stadium public address system prior to Friday’s Iron Bowl. Two of the pregame song choices were “Take the Money and Run,” by The Steve Miller Band and “Son of a Preacher Man,” by Aretha Franklin. The NCAA has been investigating allegations that Newton’s father, a pastor, solicited $180,000 from Mississippi state during recruiting.

Alabama spokeswoman Debbie Lane said in a statement that all music and videos played in the stadium before and during games have to be approved by a senior athletic administrator. The part-time staffer, who has not been named by the university, did not get those songs cleared. “The University of Alabama takes great pride in our football team’s long-standing tradition of playing the game with dignity and class, and showing respect for players and coaches of opposing teams,” Lane said. “We are disappointed when the actions of any staff member undermine our deeply held values and expectations.”

Read More: Cam Newton, Rumor Mill,

Andrew Bynum still weeks away from return

11.30.10 at 9:34 am ET
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Lakers center Andrew Bynum worked out with the team on Monday, but he said that he is still several weeks away from returning to game action, possibly by Dec. 19 when the Lakers play Toronto. Bynum had knee surgery for the second time in three years last summer. He delayed the procedure to attend the World Cup, which raised a few eyebrows.

The Lakers have been getting along fine without him, but they are thin in the middle without him and veteran Theo Ratliff.

Read More: Andrew Bynum, Lakers, Rumor Mill,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Derek Anderson’s MNF rant sure to be a classic

11.30.10 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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 TUESDAY:
NBA: Celtics at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ In the latest press conference rant sure to become a YouTube classic, Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson reacted angrily to a reporter’s question about why he was spotted laughing in the fourth quarter of Arizona’s blowout loss to the 49ers on Monday night. “I take this [expletive] serious. Real serious.” Anderson said shortly before storming off the podium. “I put my heart and soul into this [expletive] every single week. … It’s not funny. Nothing’s funny to me.”

Here’s the video:

‘™¦ Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Texans receiver Andre Johnson were fined $25,000 each for their fight in Sunday’s game. Kevin Blackistone at AOL FanHouse wonders why neither player was suspended by an NFL that has been aggressive in its disciplinary decisions of late.

‘™¦ The USC student/agent who got running back Dillon Baxter suspended for a game by giving him a ride on a golf cart is not apologetic for his actions. In The Los Angeles Times, T.J. Simers talks to the student, Teague Egan, and gives some blame to the NCAA for certifying him as an agent.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 30, 1990, Larry Bird scored his 20,000th career point in the Celtics’ 123-95 rout of Washington. In the process, he became the fifth player in NBA history to have 20,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists. Which four players (including one Celtic) preceded him?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andre Johnson, Cortland Finnegan, Derek Anderson, Dillon Baxter

Yankees want Derek Jeter to ‘drink the reality potion’

11.30.10 at 1:14 am ET
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According to ESPN.com, the Yankees and the agent for Derek Jeter have not been negotiating since at least the holiday weekend, with the Yankees waiting until Jeter and agent Casey Close “drink the reality potion,” according to a source cited by the article.

The Yankees, according to the website, have a standing three-year, $45 million offer for Jeter, who is coming off the worst year of his career at age 36. Jeter is reportedly seeking more years at an annual rate of $23-25 million per season. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN.com last week that Jeter was welcome to shop for a better offer than the one New York has made, with the belief that no team will match it.

Read More: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, Rumor Mill,

Yorvit Torrealba signs with Rangers

11.29.10 at 10:10 pm ET
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According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via twitter), the Rangers have agreed to sign free agent catcher Yorvit Torrealba to a two-year deal. Anthony Andro of the Star-Telegram reported (via twitter) that Torrealba will earn $3 million in 2011 and $3.25 million in 2012.

The 32-year-old hit .271/.343/.378/.721 with seven homers in 95 games last year for the Padres. Interestingly, he was more of a force at San Diego’s offense-smothering home ballpark (.312, .823 OPS) than on the road (.234, .627).

The Padres will receive a draft pick as a result of the Type B free agent’s departure. Torrealba is the third prominent catcher to sign a free agent deal this offseason, joining Victor Martinez (4 years, $50 million) and John Buck (3 years, $18 million).

Read More: catching, John Buck, Rumor Mill, victor martinez

Rangers deny making run at Andy Pettitte

11.29.10 at 9:12 pm ET
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The New Nork Daily News reports that Rangers president Nolan Ryan contacted free agent Andy Pettitte — who has spent most of his career with the Yankees, save for a three-year stint with the Astros — to see if the left-hander could be convinced to sign with Texas. After the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs by the Rangers in the American league Championship Series, Pettitte told reporters that he was torn between his desire to be at home (he lives in Deer Park, Tex.) and a fear of waking away from the game before he was truly ready to do so.

UPDATE: MLB.com cites “Rangers sources” in saying that there was no such contact, and that the only conversation between Pettitte and Ryan took place when the pitched called the Rangers president to congratulate him on reaching the World Series.

Pettitte made $11.75 million on a one-year deal last season. Though he missed a significant chunk of the season due to injury, he went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts, then went 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in the postseason.

The Rangers and Yankees are also viewed as the prime competitors for the services of free agent pitcher Cliff Lee.

Read More: Andy Pettitte, cliff lee, Nolan Ryan, rangers

Report: Former Celtic Antoine Walker planning comeback in D-League

11.29.10 at 5:04 pm ET
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According to Scott Schroeder of AOL Fanhouse, Antoine Walker is close to signing a contract with a D-League team in his attempt to get back to the NBA. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Walker just needs to pass a background check, that all D-Leaguers must pass, before he will sign on with the Idaho Stampede.

The twelve-year NBA veteran tried to catch on with the Bobcats during training camp but the team did not add him to their camp roster. Sources have said that Walker is in much better shape than last year when the former All-Star made it through just eight games in the Puerto Rican league.

When and if he signs, Walker will become the second-oldest player in the D-League behind only Antonio Daniels, a member of the Texas Legends.

Walker has not played in the NBA since the ’07-08 season when he played in 46 games with the Timberwolves. For his career, the Kentucky product has averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in 35.3 minutes per game.

Read More: Antoine Walker, Antonio Daniels, Rumor Mill,

Josh McDaniels aware of controversy around Broncos and job security

11.29.10 at 4:47 pm ET
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Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said Monday that he was aware of the tension around his team after their off-field video controversy and eighth consecutive loss. McDaniels believes that he is not focused on his job security because it is not something that is up to him.

“It’s not my decision, not something that’s in my control,” McDaniels said. “I’m just going to worry about what I can focus on and try to control the things that I can control.”

Sunday the Broncos lost 36-33 at home against the Rams, leaving the Broncos in last place in the AFC West. McDaniels is in the second year of a four year contract and the team has won just five of its last 16 games.

“Nobody likes to have that kind of attention,” McDaniels said. “I’m not oblivious to that. I’m human.”

Read More: Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniels, Rumor Mill,

Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez’s future won’t be decided until after bowl game

11.29.10 at 4:45 pm ET
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Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said Monday  that he won’t carry out his performance review of head coach Rich Rodriguez until after the team is finished playing games. The team is eligible for their first bowl game in three years.

“Everybody needs to take a deep breath,” Brandon said. “My approach is to give him the opportunity to do his job without doing a performance review at this time. It would be great if everyone let Rich do his job and let me do mine because the timetable for reviews is not going to change for any of our sports.

Rodriguez is in the third year of a a six-year contract and has a career record of 15-21 at Ann Arbor. To make matters worse, the Wolverines are just 1-10 against ranked opponents in his tenure, including a 37-7 loss to Ohio State Saturday.

“But nothing is going to change how we work,” Rodriguez said in response to questions about his future with the program. “I took this job to make it the best program in America.”

Read More: Michigan U, rich rodriguez, Rumor Mill,