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World Cup-predicting Paul the Octopus dies in tank

10.26.10 at 9:40 am ET
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The German octopus that correctly predicted results of the 2010 World Cup died Tuesday morning in his tank. Paul the Octopus was 2½, which is considered old age for an octopus. He died of natural causes, according to an aquarium spokeswoman.

Paul was retired from prognosticating following his correct prediction of a Spanish victory in the World Cup final. He correctly predicted all seven of Germany’s World Cup games. Predictions were made by opening the lid of one of two clear plastic boxes, each containing a mussel and a team flag.

“We are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here and that the care provided him by our dedicated displays team could not have been bettered,” Stefan Porwoll, manager of the Oberhausen Sea Life Center, said in a statement on the aquarium’s website.

“His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself. We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine.

“While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action.”

Read More: Paul the Octopus, Rumor Mill,

Vikings coach Brad Childress faces fine from NFL for complaints about officiating

10.26.10 at 9:26 am ET
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Vikings coach Brad Childress is expected to be fined by the league for comments he made after Sunday’s loss to Green Bay about the officiating, according to an ESPN report. In an interview with the Vikings’ radio network, Childress said Sunday’s game was “the worst officiated game I’ve ever seen.”

One key play was a second-quarter touchdown by Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe that was overturned by a replay review, which determined Shiancoe didn’t have possession of the ball as he landed. Childress said Monday that NFL vice president of officiating Carl Johnson told him in a phone conversation that the call was a mistake and he was “disappointed that the call was reversed.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said of the phone call, “Such conversations are confidential and are not to be discussed publicly.”

Read More: Brad Childress, Rumor Mill,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jenn Sterger’s life ‘turned upside-down’ due to Brett Favre allegations

10.26.10 at 7:35 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Heat at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, WEEI)


‘™¦ The manager for Jenn Sterger spoke to the New York Daily News on Monday and said the Jets game-day hostess’ life “has been turned upside-down” due to the Brett Favre allegations. Phil Reese said there has been “no communication” with representatives for Favre about a settlement, and he said Sterger is “leaning toward” talking to NFL investigators.

“She’s having a really tough time dealing with this,” Reese said. “She’s lost nine pounds. She was already in model shape before, so it’s not good if those nine pounds just go missing. She’s doing her best to try to stay focused on work and being a 26-year-old woman. But at the same time, it’s obviously very difficult when there’s paparazzi camped outside your home and TMZ is calling your house.”

‘™¦ According to Sports Business Journal, NBA legend Michael Jordan is doing his best to prove that he is a hands-on owner with the Bobcats, pressing the flesh and buying seats next to the team bench so he is more visible. Michael Wilbon in The Washington Post writes that this season has generated the most interest since Jordan’s return to the game in 1995, thanks to the Heat’s trio of stars.

‘™¦ Charles Barkley said he thinks the Nets tanked it last season in an attempt to get the No. 1 draft pick. Despite winning just 12 games and having the league’s worst record, New Jersey ended up with the third pick. ‘€œIf you just go out there and compete on a nightly basis it’€™s impossible to only win 12 NBA games,’€ Barkley said.

‘™¦ Columnist Bill Dwyre in The Los Angeles Times writes that Southern California baseball fans can’t be pleased with a Giants-Rangers World Series that features the Dodgers’ archenemy facing off against the Angels’ division rival.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: brett favre, jenn sterger, LeBron James, Michael Jordan

Cowboys QB Tony Romo breaks collarbone

10.26.10 at 6:51 am ET
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Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo broke his left collarbone on a hit by Giants linebacker Michael Boley during Monday night’s game in Dallas and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

The Giants, who have injured five opposing quarterbacks this season, rallied from a 13-point deficit for a 41-35 victory, dropping the Cowboys to 1-5.

Jon Kitna, a 38-year-old who hadn’t played since Oct. 5, 2008, guided the Cowboys in Romo’s absence.

Read More: Jon Kitna, Michael Boley, Rumor Mill, Tony Romo

Phillies say they have what it takes to bring back Jayson Werth

10.25.10 at 11:19 pm ET
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Speaking to the media after his team’s elimination from the postseason, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Philadelphia has the desire and resources to bring back free-agent-to-be Jayson Werth, who is thought to on the list of players coveted by the Red Sox heading into the offseason.

“I haven’t had any discussions with (agent) Scott (Boras) yet,” Amaro said. “Over the next 48 hours or so, we’ll make contact. I guess the follow-up question is, ‘Do we have enough money to do it, and would we like to bring him back?’ The answer to both questions is yes. However, that’ll all kind of depend on what the ask is, and ultimately how that will affect us with other possible moves we would have to make to do that.”

The Phillies, who had a payroll of $138 million this season, have typically stayed away from too many long-term deals, which Werth will certainly seek out in free agency. Another one of Boras’ clients, Matt Holliday (who earned a seven-year, $120 million deal last year), may serve as the jumping off point in negotiations from the Werth camp’s perspective.

“(Length of contract) is always an issue,” Amaro said. “It’s probably the most poignant, always.”

Werth finished this season hitting .296 with 27 homers, after hitting 36 home runs in 2009. He has five days after the conclusion of the World Series to file for free agency.

“This is definitely not the same game I played in my grandparents’ backyard as a kid,” Werth said. “This is a business. Philly will be one of the teams in consideration. Realistically speaking, it doesn’t really matter what I think right now. What matters is what happens after the World Series. There’s no reason to rush into this.”

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)

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Pitching coach market moves: Duncan stays with Cardinals, Eiland fired by Yankees

10.25.10 at 2:58 pm ET
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Major league pitching coaches are engaged in a game of musical chairs. On Monday, there was significant movement (or non-movement) on three teams.

–Most prominently, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell was officially announced as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. In his absence, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told, Boston will talk with both internal and external candidates. Francona also said there is “no timetable” for replacing Farrell.

–The man who is considered by many to be the best pitching coach in the majors, Dave Duncan, received a two-year extension from the Cardinals with a mutual option for the 2013 season, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

–Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland will not return in 2011, New York GM Brian Cashman told reporters. (For the full report from, click here.) That means that the Yankees, like the Sox, will be in the market for a new pitching coach this offseason.

–With Farrell on board, the Jays announced that they would retain pitching coach Bruce Walton.

Read More: blue jays, bruce walton, cardinals, dave duncan

Josh McDaniels apologizes to irate Broncos fan base

10.25.10 at 1:29 pm ET
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Following the Broncosembarrassing 59-14 loss to the Raiders, Denver is in disarray. According to that report, “the stream of fans heading to the exits became a rush” following Darren McFadden‘s 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter (his fourth TD on the day). In a poll on the Denver Post’s game recap, nearly 83 percent of voters believe the team has already quit. Former Bronco and current ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth tweeted during the game: “I have lived in Denver since 1995 and I can’t remember a more embarrassing showing by the Broncos ever!”

Someone’s seat is getting hotter, and it’s that of former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Since winning his first six games as a head coach, McDaniels has gone 4-13. One Denver Post headline questions, “Josh losing fans; is he losing team too?” Another columnist predicts “Orton can never again inspire real hopein this town,” also adding “If [Tim] Tebow can’t play, then McDaniels is done in Denver.”

McDaniels response to all the turmoil? An apology. “I apologize to [owner] Pat [Bowlen], the organization, the fans, everybody else. That was awful,” he said.

If he can’t win now and win often, McDaniels may have to familiarize himself with Timbaland’s cold message:

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

Jerramy Stevens released by Buccaneers following arrest

10.25.10 at 12:17 pm ET
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Updating a post from Sunday, the Buccaneers made good on their promise to “address this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” as the team released tight end Jerramy Stevens Monday morning. Stevens had been arrested on multiple drug charges, including intent to distribute given the large quantity of marijuana in his possession (38 grams).

As was originally reported, Stevens was a healthy inactive for Tampa Bay’s 18-17 comeback win over the Rams on Sunday. Though physically gifted, Stevens has had off-field distractions that have always outweighed his on-field production. He had only three catches for 43 yards on the year, and this could mark the end of his NFL career.

While the Bucs have officially wiped their hands clean of Stevens,’s Mike Florio points out the curious timing of the arrest. It will be interesting to see if other Bucs players are implicated in a Stevens trial, and if this will interfere with the Bucs’ potential as the “best team in the NFC.”

Read More: Jerramy Stevens, Rumor Mill, Tampa Bay Bucs,

Video: Jonathan Byrd hits hole-in-one in playoff for Shriners win

10.25.10 at 12:01 pm ET
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Well, that’s one way to secure a win. With daylight dwindling, Jonathan Byrd did this on the fourth playoff hole to win a three-man playoff battle at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open in Las Vegas. The PGA Tour said it’s the first sudden-death playoff decided by an ace.

After all three went for par in the first three playoff holes, Byrd, defending champion Martin Laird and Cameron Percy met to discuss whether there was enough light to continue playing. They agreed to go one more hole, which was the 204-yard 17th at the TPC Summerlin, and had planned to continue play Monday if necessary.

Clearly, that wasn’t necessary.

Read More: Hole-in-one, Jonathan Byrd, Rumor Mill,

Eagles coach Andy Reid names Michael Vick starting QB

10.25.10 at 11:49 am ET
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Following the Eagles’ 37-19 loss to the Titans on Sunday, coach Andy Reid wasted little time announcing the direction of his quarterback carousel heading into Philadelphia’s Week 8 bye.

“It’s Mike [Vick],” Reid said shortly and bluntly when asked who his starter would be when the team returns to action. Kevin Kolb‘s shaky day (26-for-48 for 231 yards, one TD and two interceptions plus a lost fumble) made Vick the easy selection for the coach. At 108.8, Vick is the top-rated passer in the NFC, and he has tallied 986 total yards and seven touchdowns in limited action this year. He has missed the past two games with injured ribs.

While Vick didn’t declare himself 100 percent, his latest comments suggest he’ll be fine in Week 9. “I’ve got some time to heal, some more time to get stronger. If they really needed me down the line, I probably could have [played],” Vick said. “If Kevin or Mike [Kafka] would have went down, I could have gotten through.”

Kolb, meanwhile, was disappointed yet not discouraged with the news. “I enjoy playing out there, and I want to continue to play,” Kolb began. “But, I’ll say it again, I always trust [Reid]. And I trust him now.”

Read More: Andy Reid, Kevin Kolb, michael vick, Rumor Mill