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Report: DEA launches probe into NFL prescription drug scandal

07.14.14 at 1:14 pm ET
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The NFL already had its hands full when more than 1,300 former players filed a lawsuit in May alleging that NFL teams illegally distributed painkillers and other potent drugs in order to keep players on the field.

Then federal drug agents got involved.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has launched an investigation into the scandal, sending New York agents to talk to former NFL players in order to determine how team trainers and doctors were able to acquire powerful drugs such as Vicodin, the New York Daily News reported.

“They want to find out who provided and distributed the drugs to football players,”€ one source told the Daily News.

“The allegations in our lawsuit, that the NFL has violated state and federal drug laws, have been confirmed by over 1,300 former NFL players,”€ said Steve Silverman, an attorney for the NFL players. “We are pleased to learn that the DEA and United States Department of Justice are also taking our clients’ allegations seriously and are actively protecting the welfare of NFL players.”

The suit, which includes plaintiffs such as former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley, states that NFL teams would hand out a large supply of drugs without warning the players of the dangers of addiction or other negative side effects. The lawsuit states that McMahon soon became addicted to Percoset, taking around 100 pills a month, even during the offseason.

Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent said in the suit that he suffers from permanent nerve damage after playing eight games with a broken foot one season after taking painkillers following surgery.

The DEA investigation could prove to be a big boost for the NFL players, as federal agents may be able to reveal evidence that previously was unavailable to lawyers in a civil case.

The NFL refused to comment on the DEA investigation.

Read More: DEA, jim mcmahon, Marcellus Wiley, NFL

Braves suspend Dan Uggla for 1 game

07.14.14 at 10:32 am ET
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Braves second baseman Dan Uggla already has been on the outs in Atlanta, playing in just 14 games since May 27.

The three-time All-Star’€™s current situation only got worse Sunday, as Uggla was suspended for Atlanta’€™s final game before the All-Star break with no explanation given.

“I’m not going to say anything other than that it’s an internal matter,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the game. “That’s the way I like to handle stuff, and the Atlanta Braves like to handle stuff. And that’s it. You can ask me 400 different ways and my way is that we’re going to handle it internally.”

According to David O’€™Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Uggla was suspended for arriving late to the Braves‘€™ game against the Cubs on Saturday afternoon.

Acquired by the Braves in a deal with the Marlins in November 2010, Uggla has failed to replicate the success he had his first season in Atlanta, when he crushed 36 home runs. The 34-year-old is hitting .162 with two home runs and 10 RBIs this season.

Uggla, who signed a five-year, $62 million contract before playing with the Braves, is expected to earn $13 million in the final year of his contract.

Read More: Braves, Dan Uggla, Fredi Gonzalez,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony ‘a New York Knick at heart,’ puts faith in Phil Jackson

07.14.14 at 7:51 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.

MLB: Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)


Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony made his return to the Knicks official Sunday, signing a five-year deal reportedly worth more than $120 million.

Anthony, a nine-time All-Star who averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season — his third full season with the Knicks after being traded from the Nuggets — announced his decision on his website Sunday morning.

Wrote Anthony: A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.

In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.

The 30-year-old passed on the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers and Mavericks for an attempt to build a winner with new Knicks president Phil Jackson.

MASHUP POLL: Now that the major free agents have signed, who will win the Eastern Conference next season?

  • Cavaliers (32%, 31 Votes)
  • Bulls (29%, 28 Votes)
  • Pacers (21%, 20 Votes)
  • None of the above (11%, 11 Votes)
  • Wizards (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Raptors (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Nets (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Knicks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Heat (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

Loading ... Loading ...

“We’€™re glad that Carmelo has seen that we have the vision, trusted us with what we anticipate,” Jackson said. “He plied and impressed upon us his desire to win, to be on a competitive team.

“Our message to him was we are going to be a competitive team. It may not be instantaneous. He may not just be able to drop in and win a championship. It’€™s going to be something that we’€™re goal-oriented, and that’€™s the direction we’€™re going. We’€™re really happy he came through and agreed to ply his talents with us.”

Anthony agreed to structure his deal in a way that gives the team more financial flexibility in one year, when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani expire and the team will be able to make a splash in free agency.

“Carmelo did exactly what we kind of asked him to do, give us a break in the early part of his contract,” Jackson said. “So when we have some wiggle room, which will be hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it and provide a more competitive team for our group.”

– When Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith had a run-in with police late Saturday night at a bar in Towson, Md., he became the fifth player on his team to be arrested this offseason.

According to Baltimore County police, Smith was helping an intoxicated woman in the bathroom of the bar when medics arrived to help. Smith repeatedly refused an officer’s order to leave the bathroom. He was arrested and given a criminal citation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Thorpe, Jimmy Smith, Phil Jackson

Mario Gotze scores in extra time to lift Germany to fourth World Cup title

07.13.14 at 5:38 pm ET
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Germany won its fourth World Cup title on Sunday. (AP)

Germany won its fourth World Cup title on Sunday. (AP)

Mario Gotze, German national hero.

In the 113th minute of Sunday’s World Cup final, Gotze took a pass from Andre Schurrle and buried a shot inside the right post to break a 0-0 tie. Germany hung on to the one-goal lead to win its fourth World Cup, and its first since 1990. The Germans are now tied with Italy for the second-most World Cup titles all-time, trailing only Brazil (5).

Gotze and Schurrle nearly combined for a goal in the first minute of extra time. Gotze set up Schurrle in the box, but Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero came up with a huge save to keep the game deadlocked. Romero had no chance when they connected 12 minutes later, though.

Argentina had a good-looking chance in the 97th minute when a long cross from Marcos Rojo ended up falling to Rodrigo Palacio in the box. Palacio couldn’t settle the ball, though, and wound up chipping it out of play. Lionel Messi had a last-minute chance on a free kick from about 15 yards outside the box, but he sent the shot high.

Messi had a couple good runs in the first half, but his best chance came two minutes into the second half. He got behind Germany’€™s defense and had a great look from inside the box, but he sent the shot just wide of the right post. That was as close as Argentina would get in the second half.

Germany’s best chance of the second half came in the 82nd minute when Mesut Ozil set up Toni Kroos at the top of the box. Kroos had time to get set, but he wound up sending the shot wide right.

The first half featured several quality scoring chances. Argentina had the first great chance when Gonzalo Higuain ended up with a breakaway off a bad turnover by Kroos in the 21st minute. Higuain choked away the opportunity, though, as he sent a weak shot well wide of the left post. Nine minutes later, Higuain appeared to avenge himself when he buried a feed from Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the play was correctly ruled offside.

Germany had two great chances late in the first half. In the 37th minute, Thomas Muller made a nice run to set up Schurrle, but Romero made a nice diving save. Then in first-half stoppage time, Benedikt Howedes hit the post with a header off a Kroos corner.

The first half was marred by one of the biggest criticisms of FIFA — its concussion protocol. Germany’€™s Christoph Kramer, who was in the lineup only because of an injury to Sami Khedira in warmups, took a shoulder to the head in the 17th minute. Despite the fact that he had trouble getting up and clearly looked dazed, he was allowed to stay in the game. Thirteen minutes later, Kramer fell to the ground and was finally taken out.

This was the third World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in the last 28 years. Argentina won in 1986, while Germany took the title in 1990.

LeBron James announces return to Cavaliers in Sports Illustrated piece

07.11.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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The wait is over.

After weeks of drama and speculation, LeBron James, arguably the biggest free agent of the millennium, penned an essay for Sports Illustrated on Friday announcing that he is returning to the Cavaliers just four years after breaking the city’s heart and bolting for Miami.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’€™s where I walked. It’€™s where I ran. It’€™s where I cried. It’€™s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart,” James wrote through SI’s Lee Jenkins. “People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’€™m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’€™t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

James added: “I always believed that I’€™d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’€™t know when.”

An Akron, Ohio, native, James spent the first seven years of his career with the Cavs before leaving for the Heat in a highly scrutinized announcement on national television in 2010. James, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, won two championships with Miami and led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

James had been labeled a villain to the Cavaliers and their fans following the ESPN event known as The Decision. Fans burned his jersey in the streets, he was booed as a visiting player in Cleveland and owner Dan Gilbert reviled James in an open letter that stayed on the team’s website for four years before being removed last week.

Now Miami understands Cleveland’s pain. Heat owner Micky Arison expressed his disappointment on Twitter shortly after the announcement.

Gilbert, on the other hand, is feeling much differently than he did four years ago.

James opted out of his contract with the Heat about two weeks after they lost to the Spurs in five games in the championship round.

What followed was a nearly three-week frenzy involving media reports and meetings between Rich Paul, James’ agent, and prospective teams.

Paul spoke to the Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers, Mavericks and Suns. On Wednesday, James and Paul met with Heat president Pat Riley in Las Vegas.

“I looked at other teams, but I wasn’€™t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland,” James wrote. “The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

The Cavs made a three-team deal involving the Nets and Celtics on Wednesday to create enough cap space to bring in James on a maximum salary contract. Now he’ll be playing alongside All-Star Kyrie Irving and the last two No. 1 overall picks – Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

James acknowledged the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland. Although the signing makes the Cavs an immediate favorite in the lowly Eastern Conference, James said Cleveland isn’t a championship team yet.

“We’re not ready right now,” he said. “No way.”

Read More: LeBron James,

Liverpool agrees to sell Luis Suarez to Barcelona; biting ban appeal rejected

07.11.14 at 11:13 am ET
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Liverpool has agreed to sell star forward to Luis Suarez to Barcelona, pending a physical.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

The two sides agreed to a fee of about $102 million.

Suarez, more known lately for his antics with his teeth rather than his elite soccer skills, signed a five-year contract and will be introduced by Barcelona on Wednesday.

Liverpool FC confirms that Luis Suarez will be leaving the club after a transfer agreement was reached with FC Barcelona,” Liverpool, which owned by Fenway Sports Group, said in a statement. “The player now has permission to complete the usual formalities, which will then conclude the transfer.

“We would like to thank Luis for his contribution and the role he played in helping bring Champions League football back to Anfield. Everyone at Liverpool Football Club wishes Luis and his family well for the future.”

Said Suarez: “It is with a heavy heart that I leave Liverpool for a new life and new challenges in Spain. Both me and my family have fallen in love with this club and with the city. But most of all I have fallen in love with the incredible fans. You have always supported me and we, as a family, will never forget it, we will always be Liverpool supporters.

“I hope you can all understand why I have made this decision. This club did all they could to get me to stay, but playing and living in Spain, where my wife’€™s family live, is a lifelong dream and ambition. I believe now the timing is right.”

Barcelona won’t get to use its new star right away, however. FIFA has rejected Suarez’s appeal of a four-month ban from all soccer-related activities for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.

The Uruguay star can now make a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Should Suarez and the Uruguayan FA choose to appeal further, it could be done in front of the organization’s ad-hoc division with the World Cup ongoing.

The ad-hoc division could suspend the sanctions pending a full hearing later in the year, which would allowed him to take part in soccer activities in the meantime.

Read More: Luis Suarez,

Report: Teams show interest in trading for disgruntled Texans WR Andre Johnson

07.11.14 at 11:11 am ET
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Andre Johnson‘s days with the Texans could be numbered.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Johnson has told the Texans he wants to play for another team, and that there are four teams interested in trading for the wide receiver.

Johnson arrived late to offseason workouts, costing him a $1 million attendance bonus he would’ve earned. According to Rapoport, Johnson wanted to earn his money back by working out extra, but the Texans refused, causing a greater divide between the two sides.

Johnson appeared on NFL Network this week and was asked he’ll be a Texan this season.

I don’€™t know,” Johnson said. “I can’€™t answer that question.”

Johnson added: “I just choose not to talk publicly about it. It’€™s in-house and that’€™s the way I choose to keep it. I’€™m not a big media guy, so I won’€™t ‘€” you know, I refuse to talk about it. Training camp’€™s a few weeks away, so we’€™ll see what happens.”

There’s speculation that the Patriots could be one of those teams interested in Johnson. But money could ultimately be an issue. Johnson is set to make $10 million next season, which means the Pats likely would need Johnson to restructure to stay within salary cap restrictions.

Read More: Andre Johnson,

Reds’ Brandon Phillips to have thumb surgery Friday

07.11.14 at 11:08 am ET
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Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will have surgery Friday to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb. He is expected to miss six weeks.

Phillips injured his thumb diving for a ground ball Wednesday night and had an MRI on Thursday. He’s hitting .272 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 86 games this season. Ramon Santiago will start in his place.

“It is a big blow,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “Brandon is a big two-way player. He has hit in the middle of the order most of the year. Defensively, he has been spectacular. It is a blow, but we’ll weather it.”

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Cardinals’ Yadier Molina to undergo surgery, could miss rest of season

07.11.14 at 9:40 am ET
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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will undergo surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, which could sideline him for the rest of the season.

The Cardinals said Molina could miss 8-12 weeks. Molina, who found out the extent of his injury Thursday morning, said he’s pushing for something closer to eight.

“I almost cried,” Molina said before Thursday night’s game against the Pirates. “Mentally, it’s so frustrating. You play hard for something to happen like that, it’s bad.”

St. Louis immediately called up minor leaguer Audry Perez in response. Backup catcher Tony Cruz is the team’s new starter.

Molina suffered the injury Wednesday when he used his hand for balance after sliding feet first into third base. He caught another half-inning before being pinch-hit for by Cruz.

Read More: Tony Cruz, Yadier Molina,

Undecided LeBron James reportedly still takes issue with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s letter

07.11.14 at 9:26 am ET
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LeBron James still is contemplating whether to return to Miami or Cleveland. And there appears to be a longstanding reason why.

According to ESPN.com, one of the biggest reasons James has taken so long to decide where he’ll play next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote about James after he left town in 2010.

The letter, which called James a “coward” and mocked him in various ways, remained on the Cavs’ website for four years before being removed earlier this week.

“If it wasn’t for that letter, this would’ve been done a while ago,” a source told ESPN.

James flew back from Las Vegas to Miami with Dwyane Wade Thursday night. James is said to be planning to fly from Miami to Brazil for Sunday’s World Cup final. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Heat and Cavs expect his decision before he leaves the country.

The Knicks and President Phil Jackson are in a similar wait-and-see mode on Carmelo Anthony‘s decision.

“But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Jackson told reporters at the Knicks’ summer league practice Thursday. “But no, we’re waiting.”

Jackson said he’s still hopeful the star free agent will be back next season, but hasn’t spoken to Anthony since their meeting last week.

“I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo. We really struck a chord,” Jackson said. “The two of us, I think feel really passionately about what we’re trying to get accomplished. It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead and watch us develop a winner.”

The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum level contract worth nearly $130 million over five years. Jackson said he has made about five contract proposals to Anthony.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James,