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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bengals players tweet happy thoughts after Steelers’ loss

01.18.16 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:
NBA: Celtics at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pelicans at Grizzlies, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Magic at Hawks, 5 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Warriors at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Loyola (Md.) at Boston University, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Syracuse at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Hampton at N.C. Central, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Westward at Swansea City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— In case you thought a week would be enough time for the Bengals to get over their bitter loss to the rival Steelers, think again. Cincinnati players expressed their glee Sunday night after Pittsburgh was eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to the Broncos.

The Bengals were frustrated last Saturday, with much of their ire directed at controversial Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter, who walked onto the field and got into an argument with Bengals defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones in the final seconds of the game. Jones was assessed a flag after pushing an official who was trying to keep him away from Porter, putting the Steelers in position for an easy field goal that won the game.

Porter later was fined $10,000, as was fellow assistant Mike Munchak, who pulled the hair of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson during an incident on the sideline. A total of $83,665 in fines was assessed for that game.

So, with the hard feelings still lingering, it made the Bengals happy to know the Steelers’ season now is over.

Wrote George Iloka: And just like that all is right in the world again. … I have my closure now.

Tweeted Dre Kirkpatrick under a picture of him smiling: What goes around comes around #karma.

Mohamed Sanu tweeted out a series of smiley emojis following the word “Mood,” then wrote: I guess I can’t be in a good mood outta the blue lol.

Tweeted Rey Maualuga: #icanfinallysleepinpeace.

— In case you missed it, there was some confusion during the coin flip before overtime of the Packers-Cardinals game Saturday night. After the Packers called tails, referee Clete Blakeman tossed the coin, but it never turned over, settling on heads on the ground. Blakeman then decided to toss it again, and again it was heads. Arizona again won the toss. The Cardinals received the ball and marched downfield for a game-winning touchdown.

“There is nothing in the rulebook that specifies [a required flip],” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement. “But the referee used his judgment to determine that basic fairness dictated that the coin should flip for the toss to be valid. That is why he re-tossed the coin.”

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Rey Maualuga

Thinking Out Loud: Chandler Jones owes it to Patriots fans to fess up

01.15.16 at 5:56 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Arnie Beyeler?

— Should anyone have a problem with what a professional athlete does on his or her own time? As long as it doesn’t directly affect anyone but you, have at it. But when someone like the Patriots’ Chandler Jones — even if he realized in mid-process he had made a big mistake — engages in actions that might put his health at risk, and therefore affect (many) others, how does this change the picture?

— I’m no prude, that’s for certain. But pardon me, professional athletes should be held to a higher/different standard than the general public, if only for the fact they’re paid handsomely to play a game. It’s a privilege, and that should not be forgotten. There are others to answer to, and decisions made that can affect coaches, teammates, and yes — fans.

— So he apparently made a mistake. We all do that. But when you’re a pro athlete, you’re put on a pedestal whether you like it or not. Own up to it, that’s the only lesson to be learned here. The Patriots did their best to squash it, that’s their job. But Chandler Jones had some ‘splainin’ to do, especially to his teammates, if you ask me. His apology this week was appropriate, if not exactly timely.

— I’m really glad that I was not in the media during Babe Ruth‘s heyday. I’d get really tired of having to ask him about the all-night drinking bender he was out on the night before.

— Although I can’t imagine what ESPN’s Cris Carter might say about the Babe if he had the chance. Friday on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike,” when asked about Chandler Jones, the brilliant wordsmith replied, “I think he was smoking marijuana and I think he was smoking some marijuana laced with PCP, or angel dust, and I think that’s what made him trip out.”

— Wow. Thanks for playing, Cris. Is this from a personal experience? Better have your posse ready to assist your employment search, or a fall guy to blame this one on. Or a good lawyer.

— And yet, ESPN continues to embrace/employ a knuckleheaded ex-athlete like Carter, put him on the air, and hope he says exactly something like this. It’s embarrassing, really. It isn’t just that ignorance is bliss, but that ignorance is rampant.

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Read More: Chandler Jones, Cris Carter, David Bowie, Jim Simpson

Friday’s Morning Mashup: San Antonio makes push to land Raiders

01.15.16 at 8:11 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:
NBA: Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Timberwolves at Thunder, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Cavaliers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Akron at Toledo, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: George Washington at Dayton, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Evansville at Illinois State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Monmouth at Iona, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Bruins at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Boston University at Boston College, 6 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College hockey: Merrimack at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Raiders were left out of the NFL’s preferred plan regarding Los Angeles, but they might have another option. San Antonio billionaire Red McCombs said Wednesday that he spoke with Raiders owner Mark Davis to pitch a plan for the Texas city.

Talking to ESPN San Antonio, McCombs — who owned the Vikings from 1998-2005 — said he would be willing to invest his own money in the team if needed. The 88-year-old said he has locations in mind along with 12 corporate sponsors ready to make “serious commitments.”

“We would be happy to be investors if that what he wants,” McCombs said. “We have investors lined up if that what he wants. If he wants to keep it all to himself, that’s OK too.”

Davis reportedly already owns land in San Antonio where he could build a stadium should he choose to leave Oakland, where he has struggled to get a new facility.

“He was born and raised there [in Oakland] and he has a great feeling for the state of California,” McCombs said of Davis. “But it appears he is going to need to go somewhere.”

After the NFL announced Tuesday that it approved a plan for the Rams and possibly the Chargers to move to a new stadium in Inglewood — with the Raiders to step in only if the Chargers remain in San Diego — Davis made it clear he was shopping around for a new home immediately.

“We don’t have a lease right now at the Oakland Coliseum,” Davis said. “America, the world is a possibility for the Raider Nation.”

— When the Knicks visit Memphis on Saturday it will mark the first meeting between Knicks coach Derek Fisher and Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes since their confrontation in October at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife that led to a two-game suspension for Barnes.

Barnes said he will avoid contact with his former Lakers teammate because, as he told the New York Daily News, “I don’t talk to snakes.”

Said Barnes: “I know I’ve got to keep my mouth shut because then he’ll run and tell. So we’re focused on playing that team [the Knicks]. And when I’m retired, him and I will cross paths again.”

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Read More: Derek Fisher, Mark Davis, Matt Barnes, Red McCombs

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Giants reportedly promote Ben McAdoo to head coach

01.14.16 at 7:49 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:
NHL: Blackhawks at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Raptors vs. Magic, 3 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Cavaliers at Spurs, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: UConn at Tulsa, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Winthrop, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UAB at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: BYU at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Eastern Illinois, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Murray State at Belmont, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Louisville, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Washington at Arizona, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: California at Stanford, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Saint Mary’s at Pacific, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ben McAdoo

Ben McAdoo

— The Giants reportedly have settled on offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to replace Tom Coughlin as head coach, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday night.

Macao, 38, also interviewed for the vacancy with the Eagles before the Giants made their offer.

“Excited for Coach McAdoo,” cornerback Prince Amukama said in a text to The Associated Press. “I figured him or [defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] would have been a great pick. I’m sure his players and the fans are all excited.”

Macho was an assistant with the Saints in 2004 and 49ers the following season before an eight-year run with the Packers, including the final two as quarterbacks coach. He joined the Giants in 2014 and has helped sparked an offensive surge, as Eli Manning has thrown 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, Coughlin continues to conduct interviews for other openings, most recently stopping in San Francisco to meet with 49ers brass after a visit with the Eagles.

CBS analyst (and former Giants quarterback) Phil Simms said teams should not be scared away due to Coughlin’s age (69).

“The shape he’s in and the life he leads, his age isn’t the factor we put on him,” Simms said during in a Wednesday conference call for NFL on CBS.”He’s not like other coaches. That’s for sure.”

Added Simms: “This guy knows what he’s doing. There’s no guesswork. We’ve seen what does. Look at the Jacksonville success before New York. Even Boston College. He will turn a team around fast.”

Hue Jackson would not admit it when he was introduced Wednesday as coach of the Browns, but there are reports that he wants the team to move on from troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“I don’t know Johnny personally,” Jackson said. “I know who he is, but at the same time I think I have to give everybody on our football team a fair opportunity to see who they are, to truly learn who they are, and then make decisions from there.”

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Read More: Ben McAdoo, Hue Jackson, Lawrence Phillips, Tom Coughlin

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rams players take to social media to thank St. Louis fans, turn attention to new Los Angeles home

01.13.16 at 8:10 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:
NHL: Celtics at Flyers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: SMU at East Carolina, 6:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Georgetown at St. John’s, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Duke at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Temple at Memphis, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: TCU at Baylor, 8:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Marquette at Villanova, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Mississippi at LSU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: USC at UCLA, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oregon State at Colorado, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Premier League, Arsenal at Liverpool, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Chris Long

Chris Long

— Following Tuesday’s news that the Rams were approved for a move back to Los Angeles, players took to social media to express their thanks to St. Louis and their excitement for their new home.

The Rams will play in a new stadium in Inglewood that will be built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The Chargers — who had proposed sharing a Los Angeles-based stadium with the Raiders — have been given the option of striking a deal to share the Rams’ facility. If the Chargers stay in San Diego, the Raiders will be given the opportunity to join the Rams.

While politicians and executives in St. Louis expressed their frustration with the NFL, the players reached out to fans of both cities.

Defensive end Chris Long traded tweets with heartbroken St. Louis fans, writing: Humbly, eternally gratefully: Thank you St. Louis. I’m sorry we fell short the past 8 years. You treated me like family anyways. I love yall . . . I will always remain involved in trying to continue to give back to the community that supported me through thick and thin.

As for his new fans in Southern California, Long wrote: Los Angeles You are getting a team that is hungry to win. See y’all soon.

Added linebacker Alec Ogletree: #thereturn it’s official!!! Appreciate the support and love we got here in stl. Def will miss this place. Now it’s time for a fresh start!!!

Wrote linebacker James Laurinaitis: While it is very exciting to be [a part] of bringing football back to Los Angeles, it is a bittersweet feeling. Out fans in STL have supported me since day 1 when I was drafted and I will never forget that. Thank you for your undying support of me and my family for the last 7 years! We are grateful! Go LA Rams!

— Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who already has 10 children with several women — and famously struggled to remember their names during a “Hard Knocks” appearance — is set to become a father yet again. His wife, Terricka, told Us Weekly that she is pregnant with twins, even though her husband had a vasectomy.

“I didn’t even tell Antonio right away because I didn’t think it was possible,” Terricka said. “I was going back and forth in my head how it could even happen. In my head we were good to go, we were having free sex! I just really thought that his procedure was the best protection you could have at this point.”

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Read More: Antonio Cromartie, Chris Long,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Bengals still upset with Steelers coaches for behavior in Saturday’s game

01.12.16 at 8:10 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:
NBA: Celtics at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Bulls at Bucks, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Pelicans at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: George Washington at UMass, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: DePaul at Xavier, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Kansas at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Miami at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Mississippi State at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tulane at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Davidson at Dayton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Providence at Creighton, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Auburn at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa State at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Maryland at Michigan, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: New Mexico at UNLV, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Lightning at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Manchester United at Newcastle, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Bengals’ season is done, but their complaining is not. There are some lingering hard feelings after Saturday’s 18-16 loss to the rival Steelers, and much of the anger is directed at the Pittsburgh coaching staff.

Following a key play late in the game in which Vontaze Burfict was penalized for hitting Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in the head — Burfict, a repeat offender, on Monday received a three-game suspension from the league — Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones received another penalty for bumping an official while trying to get at Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter, who had walked onto the field. That helped set up the Steelers for their game-winning field goal.

Porter, who was no stranger to controversy when he played linebacker in the NFL for 13 seasons until 2011, remains the subject of some Bengals’ ire.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for those guys,” Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth said of the Steelers. “Joey Porter is not one of them. He’s not one of the guys I respect very much. He’s a guy that has always run his mouth. He’s always been disrespectful to people.”

Added Whitworth: “To me, Joey Porter just doesn’t have a lot of class. As a coach, there’s a different standard.”

In the first half, Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak picked up a penalty for grabbing the hair of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson during an altercation on the sideline.

“Coaches are supposed to be held to a higher standard when it comes to stuff like that,” Jones said. “Even with Mike Munchak grabbing Reggie’s hair. Thank God that wasn’t me. I wouldn’t have just walked away.”

The league said it is reviewing the conduct of the coaches and other players during the game and could consider further discipline.

— The Broncos, meanwhile, have their own issues with the Steelers as the teams prepare to meet Sunday in the divisional round in Denver.

During the teams’ meeting last month in Pittsburgh, Steelers center Cody Wallace approached a pile of players, left his feet and delivered a head-to-head hit on Broncos safety David Bruton Jr.

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Read More: Adam Jones, Cody Wallace, Joey Porter, Kirk Cousins

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan hires twin brother Rob as assistant head coach

01.11.16 at 7:45 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:
NHL: Bruins at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College football: National championship, Alabama vs. Clemson, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College basketball: Bucknell at Lehigh, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Last month Rex Ryan hinted a possible reunion with his twin brother, Rob, saying “it is fun to be around him, there’s no question about it, and I know he’s a great coach.” On Sunday Rex made it official, announcing that Rob would be his assistant head coach for defense.

“I’m excited to have Rob join our staff and I think he will be a great asset for our defense,” Rex said in a statement. “He has a tremendous working knowledge of our schemes and I look forward to his input.”

What’s not clear is the fate of last year’s defensive coordinator, Dennis Thurman, who has assisted Rex for many years. Rex made no announcement regarding other staffing changes.

The Ryan brothers last worked together in 1995 when they were Cardinals assistants on a team coached by their father, Buddy. Rob then moved to college before returning to the pros to coach linebackers for the Patriots under Bill Belichick from 2000-03. He then served as an assistant for the Raiders, Browns, Cowboys and most recently the Saints, who fired him as defensive coordinator in November.

“On a personal note, it’s been a number of years since we have worked together,” Rex said. “And so we are both really looking forward to this opportunity.”

— Lionel Hollins’ tenure as Nets coach last just a season and a half, as he was fired Sunday following the team’s 10-27 start, second worst in the league. And general manager Billy King, in the final year of his contract, was reassigned.

Now the team reportedly has its sights set on John Calipari. According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Nets want the Kentucky coach to be coach and team president.

“It’s clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership,” owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement. “With the right basketball management and coach in place, we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching.”

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Read More: John Calipari, Lionel Hollins, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan

Thinking Out Loud: No reason to panic after No. 8 Providence suffers home loss to Marquette

01.08.16 at 5:14 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Sammy Sosa?

— It’s what we love and hate about sports, all at once. You’re riding high, but at any given moment — BOOM — goes the dynamite.

— For eighth-ranked Providence to lose to a young but very talented Marquette team Tuesday night, you’d think the season was over based on the reaction from some fans — and some media folks. Look, pardon me ladies, but if you’ve never strapped on a protective cup before I’ll explain this to you: Losses happen. Inexplicable losses happen. It’s a part of competition. And this one wasn’t inexplicable.

— There’s a reason why the Golden Eagles had the fifth-ranked (or higher) recruiting class in the country last year, because the kids are good. Six-foot-11 freshman Henry Ellenson is an NBA lottery pick, just like Kris Dunn. The Celtics‘ Danny Ainge was in attendance at the Dunk Tuesday night, and don’t think for a minute he didn’t envision Ellenson in green and white.

— At the same time, the Friar kids weren’t so good. Some of that was Marquette’s doing, but some of it was poor execution and decision-making by PC, including the attempt at a last shot to win it. Early, there were three Friars in la-la land on the floor, because they certainly didn’t seem to be clued into the game being played. It happens with young, inexperienced players — and hopefully they learn from it. But slow starts are becoming a trend with this team.

— Maybe Ken Pomeroy is right? His KenPom college basketball rankings, based on a formulaic equation, are followed widely in hoop circles, and this week he had the Friars rated a mere 33rd nationally. The answer is, undoubtedly, somewhere in the middle of the muck, but it’s also worth noting that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

— Not for nuthin’, but while they’re still the No. 8 team in the country for another day or two, this was the first time in the history of the Big East Conference that Providence found itself the highest-ranked team in the league. Think about that for just a sec, and realize you’ve come a long way, baby.

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Read More: Ben Bentil, Henry Ellenson, Kris Dunn,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Roger Clemens, Roy Halladay trade barbs about Hall of Fame candidacy

01.08.16 at 8:04 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:
NHL: Bruins at Devils, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Western Michigan at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Cavaliers at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Thunder at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Buffalo at Kent State, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Valparaiso at Oakland, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Western Michigan at Akron, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UIC at Detroit, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah at Colorado, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Women, UConn at Houston, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: FA Cup, Liverpool at Exeter City, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Roger Clemens generally has taken the high road as sportswriters continue to deny him entrance to the Baseball Hall of Fame, insisting Thursday, “I have distanced myself from the subject and moved on.” However, a dismissive comment from a former teammate caused him to go on the offensive.

Roy Halladay, who played his first season in 1998 alongside Clemens on the Blue Jays and went on to win two Cy Young Awards and appear in eight All-Star Games during his 16-year career, tweeted Wednesday that he agreed with writers who leave Clemens and Barry Bonds off their ballots.

Wrote Halladay before the balloting was announced: When you use PEDs you admit your not good enough to compete fairly! Our nations past time should have higher standards! No Clemens no Bonds!

Clemens, who received 45.2 percent of the vote — 7.7 percent more than last year but well short of the 75 percent needed — texted a Houston TV reporter with his response.

“What is disheartening is getting a call or a text from family or friends about an ill-informed player making an asinine statement. The latest coming from a former Blue Jays pitcher,” Clemens wrote.

“Just to enlighten him, he was accused of using amphetamines by the ‘strength coach.’ You should be very careful when putting tweets out while not having your facts on the matter at hand.”

Answered Halladay on Twitter: I’ll let my reputation speak for itself.

— As expected, the Broncos will go with Peyton Manning at quarterback when they open the playoffs a week from Sunday. And backup Brock Osweiler says he’s OK with it.

“I stand behind Peyton. I stand behind Coach. I stand behind this team,” Osweiler said Thursday. “You’re going to see the same exact guy out of me as you’ve seen the whole season. Bottom line: I just care about this football team winning games. If coach thinks Peyton gives the team the best chance, then I fully support that.”

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Read More: Brock Osweiler, Peyton Manning, roger clemens, Roy Halladay

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James’ marketing company parts ways with Johnny Manziel after latest issues

01.07.16 at 8:13 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:
NBA: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Bryant at Wagner, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois at Michigan State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Alabama at Mississippi, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Old Dominion at Louisiana Tech, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Santa Clara at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

— Hours after LeBron James expressed concern for Johnny Manziel, the NBA star on Wednesday ended his company’s marketing agreement with the troubled Browns quarterback.

LRMR, the company run by James and his friends Maverick Carter, Rich Paul and Randy Mims, had been handling Manziel’s endorsement deals since the former Heisman Trophy winner was drafted two years ago. However, Manziel has had frequent off-field issues, including his reported visit to Las Vegas on Saturday and his absence from the team’s facility the following morning when he was supposed to meet with trainers after suffering a concussion the previous weekend.

On Wednesday morning, prior to the Cavaliers‘ game in Washington, James said he was not fully aware of Manziel’s latest issues, but he said the 23-year-old would be better off focusing on his personal issues.

“I’ve heard a little bit of it and it’s just a distraction for not only himself but for everyone that’s around him, including family, people that represent him, the people around him,” James said. “He’ll figure it out at some point — we all hope.”

Manziel spent 10 weeks last offseason in a rehab facility that specializes in alcohol and substance abuse, but his problems continued throughout the season.

“I will continue to support and advise him as a friend,” said Carter, James’ longtime adviser. “However, because Johnny needs to focus on personal growth, the next phase of his career and because LRMR continues to expand beyond marketing, we made the mutual decision that it was best to terminate our business relationship.”

— The Buccaneers surprisingly parted ways with coach Lovie Smith despite his improvement from two wins last season to six this year.

Smith was 8-24 in two years, and the Bucs decided to move on after failing to qualify for the playoffs for the eighth straight time. Working against Smith was the fact that the team lost five of its last six games to finish last in the NFC South for the fifth consecutive year.

“This decision was difficult on a variety of levels,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve.”

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