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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots nemesis Bernard Pollard out for season with ruptured ACL

10.07.14 at 8:04 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 5 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)
MLB playoffs: Nationals at Giants, 9 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Titans safety Bernard Pollard, known around these parts for his role in major injuries to Patriots players Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon Sunday and will miss the rest of the season.

Pollard, who signed a multi-year deal with the Titans in the offseason after leading the team in tackles last year, was hurt trying to block the decisive extra point as the Browns completed an NFL road record 25-point comeback Sunday. The 29-year-old, who had never been on injured reserve in his career, tweeted that he is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning.

“Bernard has been a good leader and a good player for us,” Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That happens in this game. It’s unfortunate. We’ll certainly hope he stays involved with our team, which I think is an important piece of it. But I know how disappointed he was [Sunday] night, as we all are.”

Pollard played for the Chiefs when his hit on Tom Brady‘s knee tore the quarterback’s ACL in the opening game of the 2008 season. He never hit Welker but was defending for the Texans when the receiver tore his ACL at the end of the 2009 season. And Rob Gronkowski suffered a severe ankle sprain in a January 2012 playoff game while being brought down by Pollard, then with the Ravens. The hard-hitting safety also concussed Stevan Ridley with a helmet-to-helmet blow in a Patriots-Ravens playoff game in January 2013.

MASHUP POLL: Do you harbor ill feelings toward Bernard Pollard?

  • Yes, he clearly doesn't mind causing injury to others and now got what he deserved (74%, 601 Votes)
  • No he's just a hard-hitting safety and wasn't being dirty when he injured Patriots players (26%, 208 Votes)

Total Voters: 809

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While Pollard is not popular in New England, Titans players sang his praises Monday.

“I learned a lot from that guy,” second-year defensive back Daimion Stafford said. “He is a stand-up guy. He taught me a lot, no matter if we were competing for a spot or whatever. So I’ll take all the knowledge he passed on to me, and once I get my shot, I’m going to show him I was listening.”

— Dolphins defensive lineman Derrick Shelby was suspended indefinitely by the team after his arrest at a nightclub early Saturday.

Shelby was tased three times and faces misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and trespassing at a nightclub after he allegedly touched women without their permission. The 6-foot-2, 282-pounder appeared intoxicated and took an aggressive fighting stance when police attempted to take him into custody, authorities said.

Shelby’s agent released a statement saying he was disappointed by the team’s decision to suspend the player, but coach Joe Philbin said it seemed like the right thing to do.

“We’re still gathering information,” Philbin said. “I feel like from the information I have at the present time, I took the appropriate action and suspended him indefinitely.”

Teammate Jared Odrick said he was shocked, because Shelby is “such a smart guy.” Odrick also said black players have to be careful in public.

“The thing we’re reminded as professional athletes and black men is we’re targets more than anybody else walking down the street,” Odrick said. “We’re targeted sometimes, and we have to understand we have to uphold standards and society’s rules more than a regular passerby. We have to set the example.”

— One day after Michael Phelps announced plans to seek treatment following his second DUI arrest, USA Swimming suspended the Olympic legend six months, which will force him out of next year’s world championships — the biggest international meet leading up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The suspension is for violating the organization’s code of conduct, and while Phelps still can train with his North Baltimore club, he will lose funding totaling over $10,000.

“Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences,” USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said. “We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”

Phelps’ representatives at Octagon released a statement saying: “Michael accepts USA Swimming’s sanctions. He has apologized for his actions and, as he shared [Sunday], is taking steps to address them.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): The seventh of October has not been a successful day for the Red Sox throughout the years. On this date, they lost World Series games in 1946 and 1967, and playoff games in 1986, 1990, 1999 and 2005. They did have one big victory on Oct. 7, when in 1975 they beat the A’s, 5-3, to sweep the three-game ALCS. Who was Boston’s winning pitcher?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Absolutely not [true]. I’€™ve always had input. There’€™s not one play that’€™s ever been called in a game that I’€™ve said, ‘€˜Look, I don’€™t want to run that play.’€™ That’€™s not the way it works.” – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, during his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan, on reports that there has been tension between him and the offensive coaches

STAT OF THE DAY: $2.6 billion – Reported revenue for the NBA from its contract extension with ESPN and TNT

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval makes an impressive diving catch of a popped-up bunt in the seventh inning of Monday’s loss to the Nationals.

Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly skates around while singing “O Canada” prior to a British Columbia Hockey League game but doesn’t see the carpet at center ice and takes a tumble.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Rick Wise

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go, was born on this day in 1975.

Read More: Bernard Pollard, Derrick Shelby, Michael Phelps,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan takes blame after Jets’ latest embarrassment

10.06.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Nationals at Giants, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 9 p.m. (FS1)
NFL: Seahawks at Washington, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

AROUND THE WEB:

— While the Patriots appear to have righted their ship with Sunday’s rout of the Bengals, things are only getting worse for the Jets. In New York’s 31-0 loss to the Chargers, Geno Smith was yanked in favor of Michael Vick, but neither quarterback could find the end zone.

Coach Rex Ryan attempted to deflect the blame after his team fell to 1-4.

“First off, I apologize to our fans — those that are left,” Ryan said. “This is on one person and that’s it. It’s certainly not on a quarterback and one individual that way. It’s on me. Clearly got outcoached. I thought we had a good plan going in and obviously that wasn’t the case.”

Added Ryan: “Even if we had Joe Namath, it wouldn’t have made a difference.”

MASHUP POLL: WIll Jets coach Rex Ryan last the season?

  • No, this team is being embarrassed and is desperate for a change (73%, 374 Votes)
  • Yes, he's earned enough respect to not get fired midseason (27%, 138 Votes)

Total Voters: 512

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Smith, who reportedly missed a team meeting Saturday night because he and a few teammates were at a movie and got confused by the three-hour time change between New York and San Diego, completed 4-of-12 passes for 27 yards and had a 7.6 passer rating when he was pulled at halftime for Vick (9-of-20 for 47 yards).

Smith acknowledged that it was “a pathetic show on my part. I didn’t help at any point during the game, so I’m going to look myself in the mirror.”

However, Ryan said he still plans to start Smith next Sunday when the Jets host the Broncos, despite the frustrating loss.

“I’ve never been in a spot like that,” Ryan said. “We’re scratching, we’re clawing, anything we can do, but it seems like — at this stage — like too great a challenge, but I know it’s not.”

— Multiple reports out of San Francisco indicate Jim Harbaugh will not return to the 49ers after this season, with the relationship between the fiery, opinionated coach and the front office getting worse.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer said Harbaugh’s style has “worn thin” with the organization, adding: “I don’t see any way Jim Harbaugh comes back next year as the head coach of the 49ers, even if they hoist the Lombardi [Trophy].”

Team owner Jed York attempted to downplay the rumors Sunday, tweeting: Jim is my coach. We’re trying to win a SB not a personality or popularity contest. Any more questions?

— Five days after his second arrest for DUI, Michael Phelps announced that he will enter a six-week program to help him “better understand myself.” Although he will not swim competitively at least through mid-November, Phelps did not indicate any desire to give up his comeback bid.

“The past few days have been extremely difficult,” Phelps said in a statement. “I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.”

Added Phelps: “Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”

Phelps retired from swimming after the 2012 London Olympics with 18 gold medals. He is bidding to compete in the 2016 Rio Games and appeared on track to get back to form.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 6, 1906, which Red Sox player homered in his final at-bat, as he committed suicide before the following season, shortly after he was named manager?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tonight was just kind of our night. A lot of things went in our favor. We made a few things happen and that was good. We just have to really give all the credit to the players for the way they played. They’€™€™re resilient, they’€™€™re tough and they worked hard this week and they played hard tonight. I’€™€™m proud of them for that.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, after Sunday’s 43-17 victory over the Bengals

STAT OF THE DAY: 6 – Quarterbacks in NFL history with 50,000 passing yards, as Tom Brady became the latest during Sunday’s victory over the Bengals

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): During the Royals’ series-clinching victory over the Angels, Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain makes two impressive catches in the fifth inning.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Chick Stahl

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon, was born on this day in 1951.

Read More: Geno Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Michael Phelps, michael vick

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Long Island teen 3rd HS football player to die in past week

10.02.14 at 8:04 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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Tigers at Orioles, 5:37 p.m. (TBS)
MLB playoffs: Royals at Angels, 9:07 p.m. (TBS)
NFL: Vikings at Packers, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
College football: Central Florida at Houston, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Alabama State at Alcorn State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Arizona at Oregon, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL preseason: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Canucks at Oilers, 9 p.m. (NHL Network)
MLS: Fire at Union, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Everton at Krasnodar, noon (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Besiktas at Tottenham, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A high school football player from New York died Wednesday night, a few hours after suffering a head injury in a game, becoming the third prep player to die in the past week.

According to reports out of Long Island, Tom Cutinella, a guard/linebacker for Shoreham-Wading River High School, was injured after a collision during the third quarter of his team’s game against John Glenn High School. He underwent surgery and was in the intensive-care unit when he died.

“It was a big hit,” coach Matt Millheiser told a reporter shortly after his player was taken from the field by ambulance.

MASHUP POLL: Do changes need to be made to high school football to protect the health of players?

  • Yes, it's clear there is a problem, and the only solution is to make rules changes or provide better protection (75%, 182 Votes)
  • No, these deaths are isolated incidents and do not mean the sport needs to do more than it already is doing (25%, 61 Votes)

Total Voters: 243

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Said Shoreham-Wading River school board member Jack Costas: “We’re a small community and we’re all devastated. It’s always tragic when someone so young and so full of life has their life ended. It’s going to be a very, very difficult road ahead from this.”

Added Costas: “I think that, obviously, we’re expecting to get a full report, find out exactly what happened and do an audit of our equipment and, if there is some way to ensure safer play, then, obviously we’re going to have to make some adjustments.”

On Sunday in Troy, Alabama, Charles Henderson High School cornerback Demario Harris Jr. died two days after collapsing on the field following a tackle. His coach said a neurologist told him Harris suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, a pre-existing problem that likely was not related to football, but the player’s father disputed that assertion.

“My family and me are dealing with a rough situation and we really appreciate everyone’€™s well wishes and prayers,” Demario Harris Sr. wrote on Facebook. “And contrary to various media reports, my son had a brain hemorrhage, not an aneurysm, that was caused by a hit he took during Friday’€™s game. He may have had a preexisting condition, but there is no way to tell now.”

Over the weekend, linebacker Isaiah Langston of Rolesville (N.C.) High School died after collapsing during pregame warmups Friday. The player’s brother said Langston’s death appeared to be related to a blood clot in the brain.

— Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, who signed as a free agent with Baltimore after 13 seasons with the Panthers, was not satisfied with leading his new team past his old one Sunday. On Wednesday he took some parting shots at the Panthers organization.

The outspoken receiver called into a Charlotte radio station and said the Panthers “stabbed me in the back” after he set franchise records for catches, receiving yards and touchdowns.

“Yes, it was personal with me and [general manager] Dave Gettleman,” Smith told WFNZ-AM. “Obviously I did something that got under his skin. And you know what? I’m not a perfect person. There are people I run into that get under my skin.”

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Read More: Brady Hoke, Dave Brandon, Dave Gettleman, steve smith

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Michigan students call for coach, AD firings after concussion controversy

10.01.14 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Giants at Pirates, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL preseason: Penguins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Galatasaray at Arsenal, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Hundreds of students at the University of Michigan rallied Tuesday outside the president’s campus residence and called for changes in the athletic department after coach Brady Hoke sent quarterback Shane Morris back on the field during Saturday’s 30-14 home loss to Minnesota despite Morris showing signs of a concussion after being hit in the head.

The students called for the dismissal of Hoke, whose team is 2-3, and athletic director Dave Brandon, who issued an apology early Tuesday morning regarding the handling of Morris’ head injury.

“In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline,” said Brandon, who already was the target of Wolverines fans for unpopular new football ticket policies and his alleged lack of respect for the team’s tradition. “Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes. I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first.”

MASHUP POLL: Should Brady Hoke be punished for putting his QB back in after the player was noticeably affected by a hit to the head?

  • Yes, his first responsibility is to the players' health and he failed, so he should be held responsible (81%, 112 Votes)
  • No, there's no evidence that he knew his QB was concussed; the entire program needs to be better trained (19%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 139

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Thousands more have signed an online petition calling for Brandon’s firing. School president Mark Schlissel said he is looking into the situation.

“We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates and the entire Michigan family,” Schlissel said. “It is a critical lesson to us about how vigilant and disciplined we must always be to ensure student-athlete safety.”

— Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps apologized after being arrested for DUI early Tuesday in his native Baltimore, his second such offense.

“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility,” Phelps said in a statement. “I know these words may not mean much right now, but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”

Phelps, 29, was charged with DUI, excessive speed (84 mph in a 45 mph zone) and crossing double lane lines on Interstate 95 in the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

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Read More: Brady Hoke, Dave Brandon, FCC, Michael Phelps

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees manager Joe Girardi expects Alex Rodriguez to be his third baseman next year

09.30.14 at 8:05 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Athletics at Royals, 8 p.m. (TBS)
NHL preseason: Islanders at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL preseason: Rangers at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Basketball: FIBA World Championship for Women, United States vs. Angola, 2:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Roma at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Derek Jeter is gone, and Alex Rodriguez is coming back. And manager Joe Girardi said he’s planning to insert A-Rod at third base assuming he proves he’s ready.

The oft-injured Rodriguez, who will turn 40 next July, was suspended for all of 2013 for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

“We’ve got to see where he’s physically at, and if he can play the field, how many days he can play the field and how many days he needs to DH,” Girardi said at a news conference Monday. “I don’t think really any of us know about him until we actually get him into games in spring training.”

Added Girardi: “He hasn’t played in a year. That’s not easy to do, to sit out a year. Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness I think you have to see where he’s at.”

MASHUP POLL: Will Alex Rodriguez return to the Yankees lineup in 2015?

  • Yes, they're paying him, so they'll play him (69%, 228 Votes)
  • No, they'll either trade or cut him (31%, 103 Votes)

Total Voters: 331

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There were reports that some players were upset with Rodriguez when he initially fought his suspension. Girardi said he does not anticipate any issues in the locker room.

“Our teammates enjoy Alex, his presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game. So I don’t think that will be an issue,” Girardi said. “Will he have to deal from some angry fans? Yeah, but we’ll help him get through that. When was the last time Alex hasn’t had to deal with that? So it’s not like it’s something that he’s not used to, and sometimes players thrive on that.”

— According to an ESPN report, a neutral arbitrator will rule on the NFL Players Association’s appeal of Ray Rice‘s indefinite suspension, rather than someone appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell.

“For the first time ever, the league in the Rice appeal has agreed to a neutral arbitrator” in a personal conduct disciplinary case, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in an email to the union’s executive board that ESPN obtained.

Wrote Smith: “This occurs in the context of a difficult set of facts and circumstances [but] it is a positive movement on the overall question of neutral arbitration and a fair personal conduct discipline process.”

The appeal was filed Sept. 16, and the league said at that time that Goodell did not intend to arbitrate the matter.

Smith also told his board that the NFLPA is reaching out to league sponsors to let them know the majority of players represent the league positively, and “that we will address the process issues that have caused them concern.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t mince words Monday when discussing a report from NFL Network’s Deion Sanders that his players don’t want to play for him anymore.

“Personally, I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh said.

Earlier in the season, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer said the locker room was “toxic.”

“I haven’t seen Trent or Deion around much,” Harbaugh said. “If someone has a good story to tell, they want to put their name to it. If I had a good story to tell, I’d want to put my name to it, so I don’t put a lot of credibility to the unnamed source.”

During Sunday’s “NFL GameDay Final,” Sanders said: “They want him out. They’re not on the same page. I really want to know if they’re really playing for the head coach. I got a question with that. Are you really down with your head coach, San Francisco 49ers? Because they way it looks and what I’m hearing, you’re really not down for your head coach. And that’s a problem.

“They really got some problems that we hear rumblings. We all know people inside locker rooms.”

Harbaugh, whose 49ers are 2-2 after Sunday’s 26-21 win over the Eagles, is signed through the 2015 season.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 30, 1962, which Red Sox player wrapped up the season with a .326 average to capture his second American League batting title?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s a lot of negativity. Everyone is going to tell us how terrible we are. That’s just the NFL.” – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, after Monday’s 41-14 rout at the hands of the Chiefs

STAT OF THE DAY: 303 – Yards of offense in the first half by the Chiefs, the most allowed by any Bill Belichick-coached team

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): A Missouri middle school football team pulls off a trick play it calls the “Ugly Kardashian.”

TRIVIA ANSWER: Pete Runnels

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Marilyn McCoo was born on this day in 1943.

Read More: alex rodriguez, deion sanders, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Girardi

Brad Faxon on D&C: U.S. Ryder Cup team ‘recipe for disaster from beginning’

09.29.14 at 11:07 am ET
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PGA golfer and analyst Brad Faxon joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Ryder Cup. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The European team led by Rory McIlroy defeated the United States in the tournament this past weekend. There was dissent among the U.S. players over the team that captain Tom Watson selected.

“It’s interesting because Watson really favored these young guys like Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler,” Faxon said. “And then shunned Chris Kirk, who should have been selected on this team immediately. And then the forgotten man Dustin Johnson, whose suspension from the team took the sting out of what could have been a really, really strong U.S. team.”

Phil Mickelson is one of the golfers who did not approve of Watson’s team management, going as far as publicly criticizing the captain.

Said Faxon: “There’s bad blood between Watson and Mickelson, its going back a long time. I think it’s pretty obvious that the two of them don’t like each other. Watson’s an old-school guy. If you brought Vince Lombardi back now to coach the New England Patriots, could he do it? Not saying Tom Watson is Vince Lombardi, here’s a 65-year-old guy, the oldest captain we’ve have in history. But the last captain to win on foreign soil 20 years ago. And also a guy who’s won five Open Championships.”

Continued Faxon: “I think this was just a recipe for disaster from the beginning. And I’ll tell you one thing, Tom Watson, he’s a great champion. But I don’t know if he’s a leader among younger people. And he said to me earlier this year when we were playing a round together, I asked him a few questions about the Ryder Cup and the selection process and how he was managing the whole thing and he said to me, ‘You know what, I’m not having a ping pong table in the team room, I don’t care about having fun, I don’t care about having 12 [expletives] on the team as long as they can make putts.’ ”

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Read More: Brad Faxon,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets QB Geno Smith apologizes after swearing at home fan

09.29.14 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Patriots at Chiefs, 8:30 p.m. (ABC, ESPN)
NHL preseason: Flyers at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Coyotes at Canucks, 9 p.m. (NHL Network)
Soccer: Premier League, Newcastle at Stoke City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Jets quarterback Geno Smith was not pleased Sunday after his team dropped a 24-17 decision to the Lions at MetLife Stadium, New York’s third straight loss.

When a fan heckled Smith as he walked off the field, Smith responded with a glare and some choice words: “[Expletive] you!”

During his postgame press conference, the normally even-tempered Smith apologized for yelling the fan, who was seated in a section behind the Jets bench that chanted “We want Vick!” during the game. Smith completed 17-of-33 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, but he threw an interception and lost two fumbles.

“I want to apologize if any kids saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field,” Smith said. “I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation, and it’s part of my learning process. I’ve got to get better with that. I’ve got to let that stuff roll off my back. But today I didn’t do well with that.”

MASHUP POLL: Should Geno Smith be punished for swearing at a fan?

  • Yes, that's inappropriate and he should be fined (37%, 81 Votes)
  • No, it wasn't that big of a deal (33%, 73 Votes)
  • Are you kidding? He should be rewarded for putting a Jets fan in his place (30%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 218

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Coach Rex Ryan, who was fined $75,000 by the league for swearing at a fan who heckled him during halftime of a game against the Patriots in 2011, stood by his quarterback.

“I believe in him,” Ryan said. “I know he’s a hard-working guy. I think he’s got the tools to be really good, In my opinion, it’s not a question of if it’s going to happen, it’s a question of when. He’s going to be that kind of guy. I think he’s a good quarterback. I think he’s going to have a chance to really be something one day.”

Added Ryan: “I’m not going to replace him. I feel good about Geno, and again, I think he’s going to get it turned. I know he’s a tough, resilient young man. I think we’re going to win, and we’re going to win soon.”

Smith’s teammates voiced support as well. Defensive end Sheldon Richardson suggested that the critical fans “shut up.”

Added offensive lineman Willie Colon: “Just a frustrated quarterback. I cuss a lot, too. I’m trying not to cuss right now.He’s just passionate. There’s a lot put on his shoulders. A lot. Day to day, he hears it. So I feel bad for the kid, but I stand up for him.”

— Former Patriots assistant coach Charlie Weis was fired as head coach at Kansas on Sunday, a day after a 23-0 loss to Texas on homecoming day in Lawrence.

Weis was 6-22 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Jayhawks, who will be coached on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Clint Bowen.

“I normally do not favor changing coaches mid-season,” Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger said in a statement, “but I believe we have talented coaches and players in this program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin making progress right away.”

Weis previously struggled in five seasons at Notre Dame before being fired in 2009, then served as an assistant with the Chiefs and as offensive coordinator at Florida.

— The aunt of Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed after being struck by a sprint car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, defended her late nephew and called for Stewart to be punished in an open letter to USA Today.

Wendi Ward questioned the toxicology report that indicated Kevin was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death, noting: “Seems to me the wrong man was on trial. Tell me why Tony Stewart was not taken in for testing, why his car wasn’t impounded? Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact. Tell me how a lap before [the incident] everything was fine, but the following lap was poor lighting. Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means.”

“Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?

“I guess we will never know why all of this was not taken into consideration. Or will we never know why a fellow driver did not check on this young man or his family? Or do we know why? I do, because I have seen the video. It’s there, and it’s real.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 29, 1968, the Red Sox closed out the season with a 4-3 loss to the Yankees. Despite going 0-for-5, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League batting title with a .301 average. Which Sox player finished first in the AL with 109 RBIs?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “A lot of fans told me that they came a long way to see these last games and I felt it was right to play here. Don’t think I didn’t think about it, I thought about it.” – Retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on playing at Fenway Park over the weekend

STAT OF THE DAY: 75 – Consecutive games with at least three catches for Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, an NFL record

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Nationals left fielder Steven Souza Jr. makes a diving catch for the final out of Jordan Zimmerman’s no-hitter against the Marlins.

The Athletics clinch a postseason berth on the season’s final day behind a complete-game shutout from Sonny Gray.

Dodgers manager for the day Juan Uribe wears Don Mattingly‘s jersey to start the game, then switches to the jersey of Tommy Lasorda.

Ohio State assistant football coach Anthony Schlegel destroys a fan who runs onto the field during Saturday’s game.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Ken Harrelson

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Suzzy Roche of The Roches was born on this day in 1956.

Read More: Charlie Weis, Geno Smith, Kevin Ward Jr., Rex Ryan

Dave Stewart looks forward to ‘perfect challenge’ after being named Diamondbacks GM

09.26.14 at 11:33 am ET
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Former Athletics pitcher Dave Stewart was named the senior vice president and fourth-ever general manager of the Diamondbacks.

Tony La Russa, who became chief baseball officer of the Diamondbacks earlier this year, hired Stewart because of his good track record in baseball. La Russa was Stewart’€™s manager from 1986 through 1992, and also in 1996. The two won three consecutive American League championships from 1988 through 1990 and claimed the World Series title in 1989 over the Giants.

“I’ve known Stew for nearly three decades, and his diverse background includes championships on the field as player and coach, in the front office and in contract negotiations as a player representative,”  La Russa said in a statement Thursday.

Stewart will replace former GM Kevin Towers, a person Stewart served under as a special assistant with the Padres. Stewart also has been a special assistant for the Athletics and was an assistant GM for the Blue Jays. He was a pitching coach for three different big league clubs.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy success as a player and coach and really enjoyed my time representing players, but this is the perfect challenge for me,” Stewart said in a statement. “To try and put together the pieces of a championship team is something I can’t wait to begin and I could not be more excited about doing it with De Jon [Watson] and alongside a Hall of Famer who I respect greatly in Tony.”

Watson will join Stewart with Arizona as senior vice president/baseball operations. Watson had spent the last eight years with the Dodgers, with the last few years as the vice president of player development.

Read More: Dave Stewart, tony la russa,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: NFL security boss denies receiving Ray Rice elevator video

09.26.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Fresno State at New Mexico, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, 8 p.m. (FS1)
MLS: Revolution at Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL preseason: Flames at Canucks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— NFL security chief Jeffrey Miller staunchly denied having seen the second Ray Rice elevator videotape after a law enforcement official said he mailed it to Miller in April.

“I unequivocally deny that I received at any time a copy of the video, and I had not watched it until it was made public on September 8,” Miller said in a statement from London, where the Raiders and Dolphins will play Sunday.

The unidentified official previously told The Associated Press that he mailed the video to NFL headquarters in April, and he has a short voicemail from a woman confirming receipt of the package and saying, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” On Thursday the official allowed the AP to report that Miller was the intended recipient.

“Since the NFLPA and NFL have launched separate investigations into the league and the Ravens’ handling of Ray Rice‘s case, I want to make a few things clear. No one from the NFL ever asked me for the inside-elevator video,” the official said Thursday. “I mailed it anonymously to Jeff Miller because he’s their head of security. I attached a note saying: ‘Ray Rice elevator video. You have to see it. It’s terrible.’ I provided a number for a disposable cellphone and asked for confirmation that it was received. I knew there was a possibility Mr. Miller may not get the video, but I hoped it would land in the right hands.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you believe the NFL security chief that he did not view the Ray Rice video that was sent to him?

  • No, he's clearly lying as part of the league's cover-up (64%, 94 Votes)
  • Yes, there's no indication he actually had it himself (36%, 54 Votes)

Total Voters: 148

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The official insisted his only goal was for the NFL to have more information before deciding how to punish Rice.

“My intention wasn’t to bring down commissioner Goodell or anyone else at the NFL,” he said.

The official also said he has no desire to be a part of former FBI director Robert Mueller’s investigation into the NFL’s handling of the situation.

“I know nothing else about this case,” he said.

— Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, who missed a chance to earn a $500,000 bonus for innings pitched when a rain delay forced him out of his final scheduled start Wednesday, said he will not pitch this weekend in an attempt to get the extra check.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said the team was prepared to let Hughes pitch again — he needs only one out in order to reach 210 innings — but Hughes declined.

“I just didn’t think it was right,” the right-hander said. “If I were fighting for a playoff spot, I’d 100 percent be available. But given the circumstances, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Devon Still, Phil Hughes, Ray Rice,

Woman claims Cowboys owner Jerry Jones paid her money to keep quiet for alleged sexual assault

09.25.14 at 10:29 am ET
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A former stripper claiming that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones allegedly sexually assaulted her in a bathroom now says Jones also paid her money for almost five years to keep quiet about the incident.

Jana Weckerly said Jones performed unconsented sexual acts on her and forced her to watch Jones receive oral sex from another woman in a Texas hotel bathroom in 2009. Since then, Weckerly claims Jones has sent hush money to her bank account.

The updated lawsuit says Jones attempted to pay off Weckerly until the five-year statute of limitations expired. A hearing will be held Friday to determine if the lawsuit was filed too late because of the statute. The lawsuit does not state on exact date or location the alleged incident took place.

The updated lawsuit filed Monday is seeking $1 million in damages from Jones. Jones’ attorney Levi McCathern has denied the allegations that Jones committed any such acts.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to embarrass and extort Jerry Jones,” McCathern said in a statement earlier in September.

Read More: Jerry Jones,