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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Hal Steinbrenner says Yankees ‘not going to be afraid to spend money’

01.15.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Rangers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Thunder at Rockets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Cavaliers at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Auburn at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Richmond at George Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Memphis, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Nebraska at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Belmont at Murray State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah at Arizona State, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: BYU at Pacific, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)


— The Yankees have made it clear the team is not willing to spend the kind of money it would take to land top free agent pitcher Max Scherzer this offseason. However, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner apparently is leaving the door open for a significant upgrade of some kind.

“Look, it’s not over ’til it’s over,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday from the owners meetings in Arizona. “We still have a full month before spring training. We’re always going to continue to improve. I’m not putting a cap on it. We’ve certainly filled some holes that we had. We’ll keep going for the next few weeks.”

Added Steinbrenner: “We’€™re still the New York Yankees, all you guys know that. We know what the fans expect. We know what the town expects. We’€™re not going to be afraid to spend money.”

The Yankees are expected to surpass the $200 million payroll mark this year, although Steinbrenner noted a team does not have to spend that much to win.

“There’s just a certain amount I’m going to go,” Steinbrenner said. “You all know my opinions about payroll, where you should be and where you really don’t need to be to win championships.”

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch‘s media sessions — in which he repeats a version of the same answer to every question — have become painful to watch, and many fans want them to end.

One fan started an online petition asking the NFL to change its media policy and stop “bullying” Lynch by fining him (a total of $100,000 this season) for failing to cooperate, noting that talking to the media “should be a personal choice.”

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Read More: Hal Steinbrenner, Marshawn Lynch,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James returns, pushes coach in Cavaliers’ loss

01.14.15 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Hawks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Wizards at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: North Carolina at NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Providence, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Kansas State, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: UCLA at USC, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa State at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Xavier at Villanova, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Florida State at Pittsburgh, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Wyoming, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Stanford at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)


LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers lineup following his two-week absence with back and knee issues, but the team continued to struggle, dropping a 107-100 decision to the Suns that left Cleveland one game below .500 at 19-20. And during the game, James did not do much to dissuade rumors he lacks respect for coach David Blatt, pushing the coach aside when the two were arguing a call with a referee.

However, after the game both the player and coach said James was only trying to prevent Blatt from getting a technical foul following a questionable offensive foul call on James.

“[Blatt] was getting a little fired up about it, too, and he was on his way to a technical, so I just got him up out of the way before he got a T,” James said. “So, I was just protecting my coach.”

Said Blatt: “I just thought my guy was taking a lot of hard hits, and I didn’t like it and I was expressing my opinion. And LeBron stepped in to sort of protect me in that situation, which is more than fine. What I really wanted to do is protect him.”

Meanwhile, James looked like his old self on the court, recording 33 points, seven rebounds and five assists in almost 37 minutes, and showing the quickness he lacked earlier this season.

“I couldn’t make those moves two weeks ago,” James said. “I know it and for me to come back and feel [like] myself again it was pretty good.”

— Rumors continue to persist that Mikhail Prokhorov will sell the Nets, but the team issued a denial Tuesday.

“As we have said for many months, ownership is always open to listening to offers — that’s just good business,” Prokhorov spokeswoman Ellen Pinchuk said in a statement. “There is nothing imminent in terms of a sale of any stake in the team.”

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Read More: David Blatt, Kurt Busch, LeBron James, Mikhail Prokhorov

Bills confirm hiring of Rex Ryan

01.12.15 at 10:57 am ET
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The Bills on Monday confirmed that Rex Ryan has been hired to be their coach. Ryan agreed to a five-year deal worth a reported $5.5 million per year to remain in the AFC East.

Ryan, fired by the Jets after their 3-13 season, replaces Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract Dec. 31.

“Following an extensive search, we are pleased today to announce that Rex Ryan is our new head coach,” Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. “Rex brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position that we feel will be a tremendous benefit to our players and the entire Bills organization.

“He was very impressive during the interview process, as were many of the candidates to which we spoke, and we feel Rex is the best fit for our team,” added Pegula, who interviewed 12 candidates. “We look forward to his leadership and expertise in directing our team to the playoffs and bringing a championship to Buffalo for our fans.”

Ryan was rumored to be on the short list for the Falcons, but Atlanta apparently was not ready to commit while Buffalo was following a second interview Saturday night.

The Bills reportedly plan to hire 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman to run the offense. The Bills said they would like to retain defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, although there are concerns about differences in his and Ryan’s defensive preferences.

Read More: Greg Roman, Jim Schwartz, Rex Ryan, Terry Pegula

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Lions enjoy irony of Cowboys’ overturned call in loss to Packers

01.12.15 at 7:15 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.

NBA: Pelicans at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
NHL: Lightning at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
College football: National championship, Oregon vs. Ohio State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)


— The Cowboys lost to the Packers on Sunday after a catch by Dez Bryant on fourth down was overturned on review late in the fourth quarter, much to Dallas’ dismay.

Although it’s clear Bryant lost control of the ball after it hit the ground — which by rule makes it an incompletion, he insisted after he game that he could not understand the ruling.

“Look, I’ll tell you this, I’ve never seen that a day in my life,” Bryant told reporters. “I want to know why it wasn’t a catch.”

Added Bryant: “All I know is I had possession, I had possession of the ball coming down. That’s possession, right? One, two, reach. Bam, that’s possession.”

The Lions, who lost to the Cowboys the previous week thanks in part to a changed call that the league later admitted should have been a Dallas penalty, could not help but enjoy the irony, and they weighed in on Twitter.

Tweeted Eric Ebron: Karma Always Comes Back Around.

The fact that the player involved was Bryant, who ran on the field last Sunday to argue the initial pass interference call and probably should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, made it that much more ironic.

Tweeted Cornelius Lucas: It’s Funny how life works’€¦ Haha.

Added Cory Hilliard: Poetic Justic. Sorry Cowboys fans, but this is hilarious.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was a little more sympathetic, as he had a key catch overturned in 2010 on a similar call. Tweeted Johnson: Sorry @dallascowboys. We know the feeling.

— According to reports out of New York, the Jets have settled on their new leadership. Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is said to be the choice for coach, and Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan will be the general manager.

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Read More: Dan Quinn, Dez Bryant, kobe bryant,

Thinking Out Loud: No reason for new owners to move PawSox

01.09.15 at 3:12 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Nelson de la Rosa.

— The U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to select Boston as the potential host city for the 2024 Olympic Games is a stunner. I’m speechless. OK, not really. But it doesn’t mean the Olympic Games are coming here. It means there’s a chance they do. Boston has to beat out Paris, Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, Melbourne and perhaps South Africa, too — and Paris would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its previous role as host (1924). Frankly, that’€™s tough competition. But in beating out Washington, San Francisco and two-time Olympic host city Los Angeles for the U.S. candidate bid, well, that’s still wicked pissah.

— This will be debated ad nauseam over the next few weeks, months and years — the International Olympic Committee won’t make the call on the host city until September of 2017 — but if the U.S. is expecting real New Englanders to embrace this bid? To get behind it? To root for it? To show national pride? To spend their tax dollars? To willingly put up with construction congestion and traffic snarls? Well, the latter already is a way of life around here. Whatevah.

— After watching a story on the local news this past week, I cannot imagine, under any set of circumstances, why any potential new owner(s) of the Pawtucket Red Sox would consider moving the team from Pawtucket and McCoy Stadium. This would be devastating news for Pawtucket, and for Rhode Island. Even if the stadium lease can be voided (reportedly it was renewed to 2021), why would a new ownership group do that?

— Part of the attractiveness of a place like McCoy — and many other minor league ballparks — comes from the “old school” feel the stadium gives you and gives to the sport — even after the wildly successful renovations to the old stadium back in 1999. The prices remain affordable for those who can’t (or won’t) spend the big bucks on a trip to Fenway. The team is ultra-competitive, the players often make the short trip up I-95 to help the big club. These factors make the relationship between the big league Sox and the minor league Sox one of the most unique in all of sport — and, of course, in all of baseball.

— If the new owners are from the Boston Red Sox ownership group — reported to be the case — what more do they need here? To be closer to Fenway? More money? Higher ticket prices? New fan base? Total control and world domination? It’s already a “model franchise,” considered one of the best in the country. Where would a new stadium be located — and would the community support the team like Pawtucket has done through thick and thin since 1977, when the late Ben Mondor purchased a dirty piece of coal and transformed it into an absolute diamond gem of an organization?

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Read More: John McDonald, Mike Piazza, Olympics, Pawtucket Red Sox

Mayor Martin Walsh on MFB: Olympic candidacy ‘allows us to be on a world stage’

01.09.15 at 1:40 pm ET
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Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the United States Olympic Committee’s decision to have Boston be the country’s nominee for the 2024 Summer Games as well as opposition to the plan. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

One of the biggest concerns about Boston hosting such an event is the traffic. Walsh said traffic is prime issue regardless.

“Boston’s growing. Our population is growing,” he said. “We produced 25,000 new jobs last year, which means more people coming into the city of Boston. We have to deal with transportation infrastructure regardless of the Olympics coming. Because we put a plan out to grow the population of Boston to about 700,000 people by the year 2030. So we really have to look at our subways, our rail, our bus routes and our transportation traffic, because you’ve got to get people in and out of the city. So I think that whether or not we get the Olympics, at the end of the day we still have to figure out the traffic solutions.”

Walsh said the city can use the Olympics as a boost to get these projects going and promote Boston’s image worldwide, and he said he won’t forget other issues affecting the city.

“The benefits for the city of Boston and the benefits for the region is that we get these revenues to actually do projects that need to happen. And I think that that’s what people have to look at. And I think that people will understand that once we talk about it,” Walsh said. “I was asked a question today about is this the most important thing for me as mayor of the city of Boston to get the Olympics in Boston. It’s not. The most important thing for me in Boston is making sure that we strengthen our educational system, making sure that transportation works, making sure that we have the public transportation, the MBTA, working properly, making sure that we continue economic development in the city of Boston. Those are all important pieces for me as mayor. They happened also to work in helping us get the Olympics here and build out the Olympics.

“I think what the Olympics will do for Boston for the next three years allows us to be on a world stage, to promote the city of Boston and to promote Massachusetts, to say that we are a world-class city that has incredible hospitals, incredible industry, incredible talented people, incredible universities. And at the end of the day if we’re not chosen for the Olympics that’s all a big, positive plus for the city of Boston and for this region, regardless of whether or not we end up getting to host the Olympics in 2024 or not.

“If we get the Olympics in 2024 I think the legacy for the city of Boston and the legacy for the region, we become an Olympic city. There are a handful of Olympic cities in the United States of America. We go on a very elite stage.”

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Read More: Martin Walsh, Olympics,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former Dolphins RB Rob Konrad survives 9-mile swim to shore after boating accident

01.09.15 at 8:06 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Bulls at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Cavaliers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Akron at Toledo, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Green Bay at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Boston College at Northeastern, 7:30 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College hockey: Dartmouth at UNH, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Notre Dame at Western Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)


Rob Konrad

Rob Konrad

— Former Dolphins fullback Rob Konrad, who starred at St. John’s Prep in Danvers in the early 1990s, is recovering after swimming about 9 miles to shore through the night after falling from his fishing boat off the Florida coast.

According to reports out of Florida, Konrad departed Boca Raton alone for a fishing excursion Wednesday morning. He told Coast Guard officials that he caught a fish and fell off his 36-foot boat while trying to land it. The boat, which was on autopilot, continued on.

Friends contacted authorities Wednesday evening when Konrad did not return. After about 10 hours in the water without a life jacket, Konrad made it to shore early Thursday morning and walked up to an oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach to ask for help. The 38-year-old was taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

“He was lucky he was able to swim 9 miles throughout the night in the dark and frigid waters,” Coast Guard public affairs specialist Mark Barney told “He was pretty exhausted.”

Konrad, who played at Syracuse after his standout prep career in Massachusetts, played for the Dolphins from 1999-2004. He now works as a financial adviser as chairman of Alterna Financial in Florida.

— Former NHL star J.P. Parise, who played briefly for the Bruins, died Wednesday night at the age of 73 after a one-year battle with lung cancer, the family announced Thursday.

Parise, whose son Zach plays for the Wild, spent most of his career with the Minnesota North Stars. He started with the Bruins in 1965-66 but was lost in the expansion draft of 1967. He also had stints with the Maple Leafs, Islanders and Cleveland Barons. He recorded 594 points in 890 games from 1965-79.

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Read More: J.P. Parise, Rob Konrad,

USOC ‘excited’ with choice of Boston as American city to compete for 2024 Games

01.08.15 at 7:18 pm ET
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TD Garden could be an Olympic venue if Boston wins the bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

TD Garden could be an Olympic venue if Boston wins the bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. (Getty Images)

The first step has been taken toward Boston becoming an Olympic city.

On Thursday evening, the United States Olympic Committee announced that it has chosen Boston to be America’s representative in the worldwide competition to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

Boston beat out Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco as the USOC made the announcement after a meeting at the Denver International Airport. It is the first time Boston will be America’s choice to beat out other bids from across the globe. Los Angeles has hosted The Games twice previously, in 1932 and 1984.

“We’€™re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst, in a statement.

The statement also indicated that “a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting” took place over several hours.

Boston’s official reaction was no surprise.

“This selection is in recognition of our city’€™s talent, diversity and global leadership,” Boston mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.

“It is an exceptional honor for Boston to be chosen as the U.S.representative in the running for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our goal is to host an Olympic and Paralympic Games that are innovative, walkable and hospitable to all. Boston hopes to welcome the world’€™s greatest athletes to one of the world’€™s great cities.”

Now, comes the hard part.

The group heading up “Boston 2024″ will be required to fill in the details of its limited Olympic venue and transportation plans, gain public support and convince many skeptics that Boston can put on the world’€™s most prestigious international sporting event in just nine years.

Boston enters a fray that could include some of the most high profile cities in the world, including Paris, Rome, Hamburg or Berlin, Budapest, and Istanbul.

The final decision on the 2024 Games won’t come until the International Olympic Committee convenes at a meeting in Lima, Peru in 2017.

Among the existing venues that could play host are TD Garden, Harvard Stadium, Conte Forum (Boston College) and Agganis Arena (Boston University). The IOC’€™s new bidding guidelines, known as Agenda 2020, could help Boston’s bid. Last year, the IOC approved guidelines pointed toward holding down the cost of staging the Olympics, making use of existing facilities as well as low-cost temporary venues.

Read More: 2024 Boston Games, Boston, IOC, Larry Probst

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan reportedly set to interview with Bills

01.08.15 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Devils at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Wild, 8 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Rangers at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Rockets at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Heat at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Michigan State at Iowa, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: LSU at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Radford at Gardner-Webb, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: George Mason at Richmond, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Bonaventure, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Stanford at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Rutgers at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona State at Oregon State, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Pepperdine at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)


— Following a five-hour interview with the Falcons on Tuesday, former Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly will meet with the Bills on Thursday about their coaching vacancy.

According to an NFL Network report, Ryan will return to Atlanta for a second interview when the team puts together its list of finalists. He also has interviewed with the 49ers.

In the meantime, he’ll explore the possibility of remaining in the AFC East. Ryan was fired Dec. 29 after going 50-52 in six seasons (including postseason) in the Meadowlands.

Where will Rex Ryan land?

  • Falcons (42%, 182 Votes)
  • Bills (21%, 93 Votes)
  • Broadcasting (20%, 87 Votes)
  • 49ers (12%, 54 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 438

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Former Jets linebacker Bart Scott said Ryan can win with the right personnel.

“I think it depends where he goes. If he goes where there is a quarterback, he has a very great chance of winning. He showed what he can do with a decent quarterback and a below-average quarterback in terms of performance,” Scott told Yahoo Sports. “You send him to a place where there is a leader in terms of a quarterback, who commands respect not just from other teams but from the skill position players in that building, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous.

“It is dangerous to give that man a lead. Last time I played in that system when we had a lead, we put up 60 sacks and teams were afraid to play us. Downright afraid of us.”

If he does not return to the sideline, Ryan is expected to spend next season in broadcasting. He reportedly has spoken with ESPN and CBS.

— J.R. Smith’s debut with the Cavaliers was one he won’t want to remember. Smith, traded from the Knicks this week, went 0-for-5 in 18 minutes off the bench in a 105-93 loss.

Asked before the game how he would do without yet learning the team’s plays, Smith said with a smile: “My motto is, ‘When in doubt, shoot the ball.’ So when in doubt, I’m going to shoot it, and hopefully that don’t catch nobody off guard.”

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Read More: J.R. Smith, Rex Ryan,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: UFC champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, brother of Patriots’ Chandler Jones, enters drug rehab

01.07.15 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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 Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Rangers at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Rockets at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Suns at Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NC State at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Syracuse at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Temple at Tulane, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Seton Hall at Xavier, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Colorado at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kansas at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: TCU at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: DePaul at Creighton, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: SIU Edwardsville at Belmont, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)


Jon Jones celebrates after his title defense Saturday. (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Jon Jones celebrates after his title defense Saturday. (Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

— UFC standout Jon “Bones” Jones, brother of Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, entered a drug treatment facility Tuesday, three days after defending his light heavyweight championship with a unanimous decision against Daniel Cormier in Las Vegas.

Jones, 27, was randomly tested last month by the Nevada Athletic Commission and tested positive for the main metabolite of cocaine, benzoylecgonine. Because it’s not banned for non-competition use, Jones was not penalized before Saturday’s fight.

“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” UFC president Dana White said. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”

Jones, who pleaded guilty to driving while impaired after a one-car accident in upstate New York in 2012, issued a statement to Yahoo Sports in which he apologized to his family, including his fiancee and their four daughters.

Chandler Jones, during his Monday appearance on Middays with MFB, said he watched his brother’s fight on TV and congratulated him afterward.

“I spoke to him directly after the fight,” Chandler said. “He was very excited. I was happy for him. It was a great day for our family.”

A third brother, Arthur, is a defensive end for the Colts.

Mike Tannenbaum, who served as general manager of the Jets from 2007-12, was named executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins effective Feb. 1.

Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey, who just completed his first season, will report to Tannenbaum. Coach Joe Philbin will continue to report to owner Stephen Ross.

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Read More: Chandler Jones, Jon Jones, Mike Tannenbaum, O.J. Simpson