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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan challenges Jets fans

11.18.10 at 7:31 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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 THURSDAY:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Jets are 5-0 on the road but just 2-2 at home. Rex Ryan hopes to change that trend, starting with Sunday’s game vs. the Texans, and he’s asking for the fans’ help. The Jets coach on Wednesday said he wants his team to get off to a fast start, and the crowd can help by ending the tailgating early enough to be seated in the stadium before kickoff. “I’€™m just asking that we start tailgating earlier so by the time the introductions come out, we’€™ve got a butt in every seat,” he said.

Added Ryan: “I’€™m challenging our fans. I’€™m challenging everybody, myself included, to start fast,” he said. “Let [the Texans] know we’€™re here. Our team is going to let Houston know that we’€™re here and our fans will also.

‘€œThe last time we played Houston [last season’€™s opener in Texas], they had a ‘€˜white out.’€™ Everybody was wearing white. I’€™m not calling for anything like that. I’€™m just calling for a ‘€˜loud out.’€™ Let’€™s be loud and proud and get after these guys.’€

‘™¦ In a repeat of what happened in Boston shortly before the rejuvenation of the team thanks to the new Big Three, fans in Detroit chanted “MVP” to Kobe Bryant when the Lakers routed the Pistons on Wednesday night. In the Detroit Free Press, Drew Sharp writes that this latest indignity proves that it’s time to break up the Pistons, and coach John Kuester is in an “unwinnable situation.”

‘™¦ Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will have knee surgery and miss the rest of the season. In The Oregonian, Jason Quick looks at how the “numbing news” affected Oden and the organization.

‘™¦ In The New York Times, Jonathan Abrams looks at the popularity of the deceptive “Euro step” move among NBA players.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 18, 1997, the same day the Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Expos, which two pitchers did the Sox lose in the expansion draft to the Diamondbacks and Devil Rays?

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Read More: Greg Oden, John Kuester, kobe bryant, Rex Ryan

Report: Cam Newton’s father submitted payment plan

11.18.10 at 6:39 am ET
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A Mississippi State booster told ESPN that he received a payment plan from a man who said he represented the father of Cam Newton when the now-Auburn quarterback was being recruited. Former MSU player Bill Bell said Kenny Rogers sent him a text message indicating that he expected $80,000 on the day Newton signed, $50,000 three days later and $50,000 three days after that.

“When he asked for it, it was like ‘Bam!’ ” Bell said in the report. “He told me this kid’s dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn’t say anything other than ‘This is what I want and I want it in three installments.’ ”

Bell said in the report that the phone that contains Rogers’ text message was damaged by water, but he’s attempting to retrieve the text through his cell phone provider.

Read More: Cam Newton, Cecil Newton, Rumor Mill,

Blazers’ Greg Oden out for season

11.18.10 at 6:31 am ET
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Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will have microfracture surgery on his left knee and miss the rest of the season. Oden has not played since last December, when he had surgery for a fractured left patella. The team announced that the new injury is unrelated.

The first overall pick in the 2007 draft, Oden missed his first season after microfracture surgery on his right knee.

Read More: Greg Oden, Rumor Mill,

Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire win MLB Manager of Year awards

11.18.10 at 6:28 am ET
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Padres manager Bud Black and Twins bench boss Ron Gardenhire were named MLB Managers of the Year, according to The Associated Press. Black barely beat out Dusty Baker, who led the Reds to the NL Central crown in the 2010 season.

Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Black beat out Baker by one point in the results, released by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The award is the first for Gardenhire, whose Twins won the AL Central but lost to the Yankees in the divisional round of the American League playoffs. Gardenhire has finished second in the voting multiple times.

Read More: Bud Black, Ron Gardenhire, Rumor Mill,

Former Clemson teammates C.J. Spiller and Ricky Sapp exchange insults via Twitter

11.17.10 at 7:45 pm ET
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Former teammates at Clemson C.J. Spiller and Ricky Sapp have grown apart since the former Tigers split at the NFL Draft, evident from the Twitter messages sent back and forth between the two on Wednesday, ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio reports.

Spiller used a derogatory epithet towards Sapp after his former Clemson teammate tweeted, “How is everyone today?” Sapp reportedly used Spiller’s name in a Twitter message he wrote early on Wednesday. Spiller, a member of the Bills, was a first-round draft pick by the team, while Sapp was drafted in the fifth round by the Eagles.

Spiller will most likely face a fine, or even a suspension similar to that of Larry Johnson‘s last year, who was suspended two weeks for using a similar term to that of Spiller’s. Florio reports that the exchange took place over several hours during the course of the day on Wednesday.

Read More: C.J. Spiller, Clemson Tigers, Ricky Sapp, Rumor Mill

Tiger Woods’ column in Newsweek details life lessons the golfer has learned

11.17.10 at 7:43 pm ET
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Professional golfer Tiger Woods published a column in Newsweek, detailing his return to golf and his life struggle now that he is recently divorced. His column is titled, “How I’ve Redefined Victory.”

Woods writes, “The physical pain from that car accident has long healed. But the pain in my soul is more complex and unsettling; it has been far more difficult to ease’€”and to understand.” He added that he was scared to look inwards because he was afraid of what he would find in himself. But now he is grateful that he did examine his life, because it has made him more grounded than he’s ever been.

Since his return to golf at the 2009 Masters following a four-month hiatus, Woods has fallen from the world’s top ranking to second in the world. He has competed in 12 events in 2010, earning well over $1 million. Lee Westwood has taken over the world’s number one ranking.

Read More: Lee Westwood, Rumor Mill, Tiger Woods,

Eight-year-old Jets fan tackled outside Browns Stadium after overtime win

11.17.10 at 2:42 pm ET
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After the Jets defeated the Browns in Cleveland, 26-20, in overtime, a Browns fan tackled an 8-year-old boy wearing a Jets jersey as he and his family were leaving the stadium. The boy, who was holding his father’s hand while walking out to the parking lot, was tackled from behind by an adult Browns fan, who was reportedly drunk, the boy’s mother told ABC affiliate WEWS of Cleveland.

During the game itself, fans at the stadium were “calling him a bad word, to my husband and to my son, throwing food at them,” Danielle, the boy’s mother, told WEWS. Danielle did not want her last name revealed. It was after the game that things escalated for the family.

The young boy was left crying on the ground with a scraped and bruised ankle. Danielle said that neither she nor her husband called police, because the family wanted to get out of the area as soon as possible.

The mother wrote a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about the incident. Browns vice president of media relations Neal Gulkis, when reached by the television station asking for comment, called the situation unfortunate and disappointing, and said that the team is looking into the matter.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Rumor Mill,

Panthers place RB DeAngelo Williams on injured reserve while Jimmy Clausen sits out of practice

11.17.10 at 2:31 pm ET
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The Panthers placed running back DeAngelo Williams on the injured reserve list with a mid-foot sprain, ending his season. The Panthers (1-8) placed Williams on the IR on Wednesday, the same day the team sat quarterback Jimmy Clausen out of practice with a concussion, the Associated Press reports.

Panthers coach John Fox told reporters that Williams wouldn’t have been able to go for another two to three weeks, and the team needed that roster spot. Jonathan Stewart will be the go-to guy in the Panthers’ running game.

Fox said that either rookie quarterback Tony Pike or former Boston College standout Brian St. Pierre would get the start for Carolina this Sunday against the Ravens.

Read More: Carolina Panthers, DeAngelo Williams, Jimmy Clausen, Rumor Mill

Report: Tigers agree with Joaquin Benoit on three-year deal

11.17.10 at 1:50 pm ET
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The Tigers, according to The Associated Press, have agreed to a preliminary three-year, $16.5 million agreement with relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit. An anonymous source close to the contract negotiations spoke on Wednesday, saying that the agreement had nearly been finalized.

Benoit, 33, was 1-2 in the 2010 season with the Rays with a 1.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts in over 60 innings of work.

The Tigers have also reached agreements this offseason with Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta, both of whom played for Detroit last season.

Read More: Detroit Tigers, Joaquin Benoit, Rumor Mill,

Dolphins will start Tyler Thigpen after failed Chad Pennington experiment

11.17.10 at 1:46 pm ET
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The Dolphins prepare to take on the Bears this weekend without the first two quarterbacks on their roster. Getting the start this weekend will be Tyler Thigpen on Thursday night, The Associated Press reports.

The latest Dolphins flop came when the organization named Chad Pennington the starter in last Sunday’s win over Tennessee. Pennington stepped in for only a single offensive play before suffering a season-ending injury.

Former starter Chad Henne returned to the game, only to suffer a left knee injury later in the game. Thigpen stepped in and threw a touchdown on four of six passing.

Thigpen is 1-10 as an NFL starter, and has taken practice snaps with the offense just once this season. The Dolphins (5-4) face the 6-3 Bears at 8:20 Thursday on NFL Network.

Read More: Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins, Rumor Mill, Tyler Thigpen