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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Controversial OL Richie Incognito meets with Buccaneers

08.26.14 at 7:42 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Twins at Royals, 8 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Marlins at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Basketball: Exhibition, Slovenia vs. United States, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Celtic vs. Maribor, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: US Open, 11 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN). 7 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Richie Incognito

Richie Incognito

– Former Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who was widely vilified for his role in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal last year, met with Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith on Monday about the possibility of joining the team. Other reports indicated that there were more interested teams and he was expected to sign with one of them by the end of the week.

Incognito, who has a history of violent behavior on and off the field, reportedly was cleared by the NFL to return to action after being on paid suspension by the Dolphins for the final eight games of the 2013 season. He became a free agent in the offseason.

“If you know my history, I do believe in second chances,” Smith told reporters prior to sitting down with Incognito. “To me, nobody should have a death sentence. If you should, you’re probably in jail.”

Added Smith: “From there, what does it hurt to talk to someone? For me, as we go forward, I’m not holier than thou. I’m going to give everybody the benefit of the doubt until I have information that tells me otherwise. That’s where we are right now. Part of that process is Richie coming in.”

MASHUP POLL: Should Richie Incognito be allowed to return to the NFL?

  • Yes, there's no valid reason to keep him off the field (60%, 61 Votes)
  • Only if he's shown he's completed anger-management training (31%, 32 Votes)
  • No, he's used up his chances and should not play again (9%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 102

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Some Buccaneers players, including quarterback Josh McCown and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, said they would support management’s decision to bring in Incognito if the player can help the team win. Smith said he wouldn’t take the risk if he thought it would create problems.

“Would I have a football player on our team that I thought would mess up our team chemistry? The answer is no. Simple as that,” Smith said. “But I can’t assume that’s the case. To me, you go through the process. You look and you talk face to face with everybody that’s available. That’s what we’re doing.”

– One day after meeting with Jets officials following a 48-hour disappearance and apparently claiming his absence was justified, veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson was suspended indefinitely by the team.

“Obviously, Dimitri felt he acted appropriately, but until we discussed it [Sunday] night, you don’t understand,” general manager John Idzik said, “And, to be honest, we’re still trying to understand all that went behind it. So, I would rather not characterize it.”

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Read More: Dimitri Patterson, Josh Shaw, Lovie Smith, Richie Incognito

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets CB Dimitri Patterson returns to team after going AWOL

08.25.14 at 7:34 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Royals, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Manchester City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: US Open, 11 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Dimitri Patterson

Dimitri Patterson

– Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson met with team brass on Sunday night after failing to show up for Friday night’s game against the Giants and having no communication with the team for about 48 hours.

General manager John Idzik said during a conference call prior to Sunday’s meeting that while Patterson had not returned messages from himself and coach Rex Ryan, Patterson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, let them know earlier Sunday that the player was physically OK, although the reason for his disappearance was not made clear.

“I’d like to talk to him so we could figure out what’s behind it,” Idzik said.

Patterson, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in April and was expected to start in the team’s depleted secondary if he was able to fight through a variety of leg injuries that slowed him down this summer, was last seen at the pregame meal Friday.

“Obviously, as the game went on, we still had major concerns for his health and where he was, but were unable to locate him,” Ryan said.

Added Idzik: “There really wasn’t any warning that we had of something like this,” Idzik said. “There was nothing to indicate this kind of behavior.”

Broncos receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion — his third diagnosed concussion in less than a year — when he was hit by Texans safety D.J. Swearinger, and Peyton Manning was not pleased with the play.

The Denver quarterback let Swearinger know right after the play — on which Swearinger was penalized — then Manning drew a flag for taunting after he yelled at the safety following a touchdown pass on the next play.

On Sunday, Texans coach Bill O’Brien came to the defense of his player.

“D.J. was not trying to do any harm,” O’Brien said. “He was trying to make a play, make a tackle. The call was correct. What you continually have to do is show the guys on tape what a proper tackle is. It’s not leading with the head. It’s hitting with your shoulder and hitting basically between the shoulders and the waist and not above the neck area. But last night’s play was a tough one to say, ‘You were really at fault there.’ ”

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Read More: Albert Ebosse, D.J. Swearinger, Dmitri Patterson, Peyton Manning

Revolution add U.S. World Cup star Jermaine Jones

08.24.14 at 6:25 pm ET
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The Revolution have added U.S. World Cup star Jermaine Jones, the team announced Sunday. The 32-year-old midfielder played every minute for the U.S. at this year’s World Cup and scored a beautiful goal in the team’s 2-2 draw against Portugal.

According to the team, the Chicago Fire also expressed interest in Jones, and both the Revs and Fire had the available salary budget and designated roster spot to accommodate the move. Jones was assigned to the Revs following a blind draw between the two clubs.

“This is a great opportunity for us to add one of the best players in the United States to our club,” Jonathan Kraft said in a press release. “We thought Jermaine was the best player for the U.S. in the World Cup and we are excited to welcome him to New England. Robert and I have always said that any major DP signing would need to make an impact, on and off the field, and we believe the addition of Jermaine will do just that. When we learned that he was interested in signing with MLS, we immediately informed the league of our interest. He is a dynamic player and is certain to have a tremendous impact on our team and in our community. We look forward to his many contributions.”

“I’m very excited to come to MLS and join the Revolution,” Jones said. “New England is an exciting team on the rise, and I believe I can come in and help the team make a push toward MLS Cup. Playing with the U.S. National Team has given me a great connection with the American fans and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them every weekend. I’m ready to get started with the Revs.”

Reports: Browns’ Johnny Manziel fined by NFL for obscene gesture

08.22.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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Browns backup quarterback Johnny Manziel was fined $12,000 for making an obscene gesture toward the Redskins’ sideline Monday night, according to multiple reports.

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel  

Manziel extended his middle finger in front of Washington’s bench during the third quarter of Cleveland’s 24-23 loss.

Two days later he lost to Brian Hoyer in the competition for the team’s starting quarterback job.

Manziel said after Monday’s game that he had “words exchanged” with Redskins players.

“I felt like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night, and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up,” he said.

 

Read More: Johnny Manziel,

John Calipari calls into Mike Francesa’s radio show to defend coaching ability

08.22.14 at 11:56 am ET
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One appearance on Mike Francesa‘s radio show wasn’t enough for John Calipari on Wednesday.

After making an appearance on the show, the Kentucky basketball coach called in later on as “John from Kentucky” to defend himself after the host questioned his X’s and O’s ability.

“That’s basically saying I can’t coach,” Calipari said. “You know what they call me, the magician. Cal the magician.”

Francesa and Calipari continued their exchange briefly before Francesa hung up on him.

Read More: John Calipari,

Reports: Timberwolves trading for 76ers’ Thaddeus Young, sending pick from Kevin Love deal to Philadelphia

08.22.14 at 11:37 am ET
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The Kevin Love trade appears to have an added element to it, although not directly.

According to multiple reports, the Timberwolves will acquire 76ers forward Thaddeus Young for a 2015 first-round pick and a pair of role players.

Minnesota reportedly will send Philadelphia the Heat’s 2015 first-round pick the Timberwolves will acquire as part of the Love deal with Cleveland. The pick is lottery protected to No. 10 and 2015 and 2016, and unprotected in 2017.

The deal is set to be finalized Saturday in line with the conclusion of the of the deal that will send Cleveland’s Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to Minnesota for Love.

Read More: Thaddeus Young,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Bills coach Doug Marrone fed up with team’s fighting in practice

08.22.14 at 8:01 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: Mariners at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Braves at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Panthers at Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV)
NFL preseason: Raiders at Packers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Bears at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
Basketball: Exhibition, United States vs. Puerto Rico, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA playoffs: Sky at Dream, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA playoffs: Sparks at Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Doug Marrone

Doug Marrone

– Fights are not uncommon in NFL training camps, but the Bills’ inability to avoid confrontations has pushed coach Doug Marrone to the breaking point.

During Thursday’s final practice of training camp in Pittsford, New York, Marrone lit into his players about the fights and shoving matches. After a few players got into a skirmish, he stopped a drill and had those players run sprints. He then barked in the direction of starting defensive end Jerry Hughes on the sideline.

“Why can’t you handle it as players,” he said while looking toward Hughes. “Do you want to play on this team? … If you’ve got a problem with me, you need to come and tell me.”

Marrone and Hughes had a meeting after practice, although Marrone later told the media he was not singling out Hughes.

“That’s directed at anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the team,” Marrone said. “I told Jerry that I love the way he practices and I love the way he plays special teams and how he goes about it. And we’ve got to get some other guys who are starters to do that.”

A day earlier, rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson knocked off center Eric Wood‘s helmet and punched him repeatedly before being wrestled to the ground by two other offensive players.

MASHUP POLL: Are fights between teammates OK in NFL training camp?

  • Only if it involves the Jets (56%, 14 Votes)
  • No, it would get a player thrown out of a game, so they shouldn't do it in practice (28%, 7 Votes)
  • Yes, it shows a level of seriousness and high intensity (16%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Marrone, himself a former NFL offensive lineman, expressed his disappointment with the fighting.

“Figure it out. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game,” Marrone said. “There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion.”

– Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount played in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles after being charged with misdemeanor marijuana violations one day earlier.

“[I] didn’t consider it a punishment to send them home,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’d rather them play more.”

Blount, who played for the Patriots last season, rushed seven times for 32 yards.

“I’m sorry for the distraction I caused my team,” he said. “I apologized to the team and the coaches.”

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Read More: Doug Marrone, Jerry Hughes, Jurgen Klinsmann, Le'Veon Bell

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Former NFL referee Mike Carey asked out of working Redskins games because of name

08.21.14 at 7:36 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Reds, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Mexico vs. Tokyo, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Illinois vs. Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Steelers at Eagles, 7:30 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA playoffs: Mystics at Fever, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA playoffs: 9 p.m. Stars at Lynx, (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Longtime NFL referee Mike Carey, who retired after last season, was ahead of the curve on the Redskins controversy, but he only made it public this week.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Carey — the first African-American referee to work a Super Bowl — said he quietly requested to not work the team’s games beginning in 2006 because of the nickname, and “the league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington.” The Post checked the game logs and found this to be accurate.

“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me,” said Carey, who will serve a rules analyst for CBS this season.

Added Carey: “Human beings take social stances. And if you’re respectful of all human beings, you have to decide what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it. ‘€¦ I know that if a team had a derogatory name for African-Americans, I would help those who helped extinguish that name. I have quite a few friends who are Native Americans. And even if I didn’t have Native American friends, the name of the team is disrespectful.”

MASHUP POLL: Should an NFL referee be allowed to avoid a team's games because he objects to the nickname?

  • No, it sets a dangerous precedent for an employee to make a stand against a team like that (65%, 180 Votes)
  • Yes, the league should continue to accommodate any such requests (35%, 96 Votes)

Total Voters: 276

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Asked why it took until 2006 for him to make his request, Carey explained: “There was an epiphany for me that it was time. I was never comfortable with the name. I’€™ve never said [the team'€™s name] in my games. But then I realized it wasn’€™t an option to be part of them anymore. For me, I just knew. I knew that everybody — everybody — deserves a level of respect.”

Kevin Durant has been offered a 10-year deal worth at least $265 million by Under Armour, and his representatives have taken the offer to Nike to see if his current endorsement company will match it, according to an ESPN report.

Durant’s contract with Nike requires him to stick with the company if it matches any other offer, the story notes.

As part of Under Armour’s deal, Durant would receive stock and incentives including a community center built in his mother’s name.

Durant turned down a much larger offer from adidas as a rookie in 2007 to sign with Nike. However, his new representatives at Jay Z‘s Roc Nation have pushed for tougher negotiations with the sneaker giants. Adidas reportedly dropped out of the bidding last week.

Under Armour, which gets only about 1 percent of its revenue from basketball shoes, is based in Baltimore, near Durant’s hometown of Seat Pleasant, Maryland.

– Kent State football player Jason Bitsko, the team’s starting center, was found dead in his bed Wednesday morning. He was 21.

Bitsko, who started all 12 games last season, his third with the team, was discovered by a roommate who checked on him when he failed to wake up for practice. The roommate called police, who arrived minutes later.

His teammates were told of Bitsko’s death after the morning practice. The school is providing counseling services and support.

“Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because he was family,” coach Paul Haynes said. “As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a time.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 21, 1986, which recently acquired Red Sox infielder scored six times in a 24-5 rout of the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’€™ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got. Absolutely. No question in my mind about that. ‘€¦ I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing [tobacco] is what gave me cancer.” – Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, during a Wednesday appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, discussing his battle with mouth cancer

STAT OF THE DAY: $2.6 billion – Worth of the Patriots, according to Forbes, ranking them second (to the Cowboys) in the NFL

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Nationals win their ninth in a row as Anthony Rendon hits a walkoff single in the ninth inning to beat the Diamondbacks.

A Brewers fan is treated to a new beer by the Milwaukee broadcast team after losing his drink while pursuing a foul ball.

Pacers president/Celtics legend Larry Bird takes the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Jack Hoffman, the 8-year-old cancer patient who scored a touchdown in Nebraska’s spring game last year, gets support from the team as he prepares to undergo another round of chemotherapy treatment in Boston.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Shortstop Spike Owen

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Kenny Rogers was born on this day in 1938.

Read More: Jason Bitsko, Kevin Durant, Mike Carey, Redskins

Falmouth youth Tyler Smith has no tolerance for tears while battling cancer: ‘It’s either fight or die’

08.20.14 at 12:51 pm ET
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Three years ago, sitting in his hospital bed, Tyler Smith couldn’t take any more.

Tyler Smith decided to skip the tears and focus on fighting cancer. (Courtesy the Smith family)

Falmouth’s Tyler Smith decided to skip the tears and focus on his fight against cancer. (Courtesy the Smith family)

The 10-year-old from Falmouth, the kid with a permanent smile on his face, knew the drill. His friends and loved ones would enter his room. Since he’d lost his hair due to the chemotherapy, he would see the sadness in their eyes. Tyler knew the term “leukemia” instantly frightened everyone. He’d see the tears well up, and you can be certain he knew what was coming next.

“Everyone who visited would say how sad it was that I was sick, and then they would start to cry,” Tyler explained. “Pretty much everyone was crying.”

Everyone cried, with one notable exception. Tyler Smith chose not to shed tears about his cancer. He decided to beat it.

“You can’t avoid cancer once you have it,” he said. “It’s either fight or die.”

Tyler decided to make a new rule. If anyone wanted to visit him, there was absolutely no crying.

“I’m a hockey player, and hockey players don’t cry,” he said.

* * *

Cancer was not — and still isn’t — a death sentence for Tyler. Now 13, with a full head of bushy brown hair, he actually credits the disease with helping make him a better person. Thanks to the cancer, he says, he is a much more sensitive person.

“Before this all happened, cancer didn’t mean anything to me,” he said. “Now it means something.”

Tyler was diagnosed in July 2011 with acute lymphoma leukemia (ALL), which is a cancer that starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow. Just as the word “acute” would indicate, the disease progresses at a rapid speed. ALL will kill if not treated quickly.

In this case, the cancer was not immediately diagnosed. Tyler and his family moved from Cape Cod to North Carolina in March of 2011. Before the Smith family finished unpacking, Tyler was suffering from extreme fevers, ones that reached as high as 105 degrees. His parents took him to the doctor but were told he had a virus or the flu. The fevers disappeared but always returned.

“When we came back to the Cape for the Fourth of July, Tyler got sick again,” said Brian Smith, Tyler’s father. “We were boating at the time, and he had such little strength that he couldn’t even get out of the boat.”

Tyler’s parents took him to the pediatrician he had seen since the day he was born, but the doctor was hesitant to say anything specific was wrong. Tyler’s mother, Paula, was heartbroken that her son was in pain. She decided to take matters into her own hands.

“There’s something wrong,” she said to the doctor. “You told me to trust my instincts as mother, and I want you to do blood work to find out what’s not right.”

A mother’s instinct drove the doctor to do more testing. A mother’s instinct kept her son alive.

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Tyler Smith,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets coach Rex Ryan brushes off criticism about blitzing Bengals backups

08.20.14 at 8:11 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: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mets at Athletics, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Padres at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, South Korea vs. Japan, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League Baseball: World Series, Nevada vs. Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The Jets won Saturday night’s preseason game over the Bengals, 25-17, but the Cincinnati coaching staff wasn’t pleased with the strategy New York used.

Jets coach Rex Ryan had his team employ a variety of blitzes against the Bengals backups after Cincy starting quarterback Andy Dalton lit up New York’s struggling secondary, going 8-for-8 for 144 yards and a touchdown, with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

“Notice he didn’t bring that stuff when our starters were out there,” Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said (via Cincinnati.com). “We’d have scored quicker. If he wants to put his starting defense out there and blitz all that garbage against our third-stringers, if he feels good about it, then all the power to him.”

Said Bengals backup quarterback Jason Campbell (who was inactive, leaving third-stringer QB Matt Scott to deal with the blitzing): “Some of it was a little extreme. I remember back in the day, preseason games you didn’t see any blitzes. Everyone was so vanilla all the way to the regular season. Now it’s a different day and age and teams really just throw it all out there.”

Ryan brushed off the comments.

“I don’t know why they’d be shocked,” he said. “I don’t worry about their team.”

– Former punter Chris Kluwe, who accused the Vikings of releasing him after the 2012 season because he was a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, reached a settlement with the club Tuesday to avoid a lawsuit.

Kluwe will not receive any money, but the Vikings will donate to five gay rights-related charities over the next five years.

“This will help a lot of people that really do need that help,” Kluwe said at a press conference, adding that team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf “want to make this a reality where there is no discrimination in sports, there is no homophobia.”

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Read More: Chris Kluwe, Rex Ryan, Steve Moore, Todd Bertuzzi