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Top stories of 2010, No. 4: Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford

12.28.10 at 8:08 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. 4: The Red Sox‘ signings of free agents Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

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
No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga

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

For Red Sox fans, the first 11 months of the year provided few things to be thankful for. General manager Theo Epstein‘€™s decision to focus on pitching and defense left the team with few positive results to show for it.

A third-place finish in a season affected by injuries left Red Sox fans in need of a free agency fix to bring hope for the 2011 season. After Victor Martinez was plucked away by the Tigers two days before Turkey Day, Red Sox fans sat at the Thanksgiving table struggling to find something to give thanks for.

Less than two weeks later, the holiday cheer came early, when two of the game’s stars donned Red Sox uniforms. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez‘€™ journeys to Yawkey Way left the Red Sox as the consensus free agency winners and new favorites in the American League East.

The Red Sox entered the offseason with plenty of options to build their 2011 roster. Many experts expected the team to make a run at one of the elite free agent left fielders in Crawford or Jayson Werth, but other potential moves were a huge question mark. Would the Red Sox re-sign middle of the lineup stalwarts Martinez and Adrian Beltre, attempt to trade for more pitching or finally pull the trigger on a deal for Gonzalez?

By late November things looked bleak. Martinez’€™ decision to take a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers left the club missing one of its only consistent bats in the middle of the order. In just over a year of games in a Red Sox uniform, Martinez posted hit .312 with 28 home runs and 120 RBIs.  His loss also meant the Red Sox would rely on a combination of a young, unproven Jarrod Saltalamacchia and aging veteran Jason Varitek or another catcher to fill a slot in the weakened Red Sox lineup.

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Read More: Adrian gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Theo Epstein, Victor Marinez

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Paterno’s family silences rumors about Penn State coach retiring

12.28.10 at 7:57 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.

No games scheduled


‘™¦ Joe Paterno is under contract for one more season at Penn State and has offered no indications that he plans to quit before then. However, as has been the case the past few years, there have been rumors indicating that he would retire after coaching his team in the Outback Bowl and completing his 45th season on the sideline. His family did not take well to those reports.

“Who started the crazy rumors?” wife Sue Paterno told on Monday. “He’s fine. No one has to identify who starts it. We don’t even know where it starts. … It’s just lies.”

Said daughter Mary Kay Hort to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Everybody’s been saying he’s going to retire. Someday, somebody might get it right.”

‘™¦ Ben Roethlisberger may have served his NFL suspension, but he’s not out of trouble with the courts yet. The Las Vegas Sun has an update on the civil suit against him in Nevada, where it was sent to the state’s highest court.

‘™¦ The Bobcats won their first game under new coach Paul Silas. In The Charlotte Observer, Scott Fowler writes that the former Celtic showed he still knew what he was doing despite 5 1/2 years away from an NBA bench.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 28, 1963, which Red Sox player was named winner of the Comeback Player of the Year award after amassing 42 home runs and 188 RBIs?

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Paterno, Paul Silas,

Former Harvard star Jeremy Lin headed to D-League

12.28.10 at 7:20 am ET
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Former Harvard men’s basketball star Jeremy Lin has hit a road bump in his young NBA career. According to reports, the Warriors are sending the rookie guard to their NBA Development League team in Reno in order to get Lin some playing time. Lin has played in 17 of the Warriors’ first 19 games, averaging 1.9 points per game.

“I’m just going to get some playing time, some experience and continue to develop,” Lin told the San Jose Mercury News. “There is no substitute for playing in actual games. Obviously, I’d love to stay with the team, but I’m going to be able to get a lot of playing time. It’s not the end of the world, and I can learn and grow a lot as a player.”

Read More: Jeremy Lin, Rumor Mill,

LeBron James backs away from contraction talk

12.28.10 at 1:28 am ET
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In an attempt to clarify remarks that the NBA had become “watered down” since the early 1980s by expansion, Heat star LeBron James said that he was not implying that the Timberwolves or Nets should be contracted.

“[I] didn’t say let’s abandon the Nets and not let them move to Brooklyn, or let’s tear down the Target Center in Minnesota. I never said that. Never said that, all right,” James told reporters on Monday.

James had suggested last week that the NBA would be more interesting with players such as Timberwolves center Kevin Love or Nets players Brook Lopez and Devin Harris on other teams.

“Just imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team,” James told reporters. “Or, looking at some of the teams that’s not that great, you take Brook Lopez or Devin Harris off these teams that’s not that good right now and add them to a team that could be really good. I’m not saying let’s take New Jersey, let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But, hey, you guys are not stupid. I’m not stupid. I know what would be great for the league.”
Read More: brook lopez, contraction, devin harris, Kevin Love

Garrett Wittels, owner of 56-game hit streak, charged with rape

12.27.10 at 3:25 pm ET
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The Miami Herald is reporting that Florida International University baseball star Garrett Wittels and two other men were charged with the rape of two 17-year-old girls in the Bahamas. The incident reportedly took place on Dec. 20 at the Atlantis Resort and Casino in Paradise Island. Wittels and the two men were released on $10,000 bond after a court hearing Thursday.

Wittels is the owner of the second-longest hit streak in NCAA history, having hit safely in 56 straight games through FIU’s 2010 season. The 20-year-old enters the ’11 season (which starts on Feb. 18) two games shy of Robin Ventura’s record, set in 1987.

When contacted by the Miami Herald, Michael Wittels, the father of Garrett, said, “Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time. He’s not doing well, obviously. He’s blown away. He’s devastated that someone would accuse him of this.” The elder Wittels insisted to the newspaper that his son would be vindicated.

To read the complete report, click here.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Seton Hall basketball star recovering after being shot in robbery

12.27.10 at 8:03 am ET
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Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell was recovering at home Sunday after being shot Christmas night by someone who tried to rob him, according to a school official. Hazell was shot under his right arm, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening, school athletics spokesman Matt Sweeney said.

Hazell, a preseason honorable mention All-American, played only three games this season before injuring his wrist. He had wrist surgery Dec. 2.

Read More: Jeremy Hazell, Rumor Mill,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Barack Obama reportedly commends Eagles for giving Michael Vick second chance

12.27.10 at 7:21 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)


‘™¦ According to Peter King of NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated, President Barack Obama called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to congratulate and commend him for giving Michael Vick a second chance. Obama reportedly told Lurie that Vick’s success gives other ex-prisoners hope for the future once they are rehabilitated.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s Vikings-Eagles game was postponed to Tuesday night due to the snowstorm that rocked the East Coast. In the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Tom Powers calls it an NFL-led conspiracy to bow to television interests and protect Vick.

‘™¦ The Panthers clinched the NFL’s worst record Sunday. In The Charlotte Observer, Darin Gantt writes that Carolina fans finally can celebrate something this season: the No. 1 draft pick.

‘™¦ Here are the top 10 most-watched sports videos of 2010.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 27, 1956, which Celtic missed a free throw to end his NBA-record streak at 55? The record lasted 19 years until it was broken by Calvin Murphy of the Rockets.

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Read More: Barack Obama, Jeffrey Lurie, michael vick,

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,