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Thinking Out Loud: NFL’s integrity takes another blow with Ndamukong Suh flip-flop

01.02.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if anyone actually tries to make good on New Year’s resolutions any more.

— Yeah, that “cleaning up the NFL” thing is going really well, don’t you think? Ndamukong Suh stomps on Aaron Rodgers, gets suspended, complains (says his feet were numb), gets reinstated and then ultimately fined $70K for his transgression. Uh-huh. That means, of course, you aren’t completely innocent. And ya know, if your brain wasn’t numb to begin with, big fella, forcing the NFL to pull an about-face here would never have happened in the first place.

— The league simply blew an opportunity to make good on the whole “integrity of the league is priority one” ideal, stated earlier in the season by commissioner Roger Goodell. I understand Detroit’s side of the argument — losing a player of Suh’s ability could be a deciding factor in a playoff game and largely an unfair disadvantage playing without him. But isn’t integrity above all more important? Guess not.

— I’ve got three New Year’s resolutions that I will be trying to fulfill during 2015. Not a big list, but then again, I’m a realist. Any more than three is just asking for failure. Let’s take a chewable bite out of the New Year, shall we?

— Resolution No. 1: I will stop saying, “Oh, that feels nice,” when the security guards frisk me at Gillette Stadium. And at the airport.

— It meant absolutely zero. But we’ll also find out next week if it actually meant something more than that. The Patriots’ loss to Buffalo was a sham perpetrated on the ticket-buying public, a preseason exhibition that just happened to occur during the regular season. The NFL’s attempt at creating more meaningful, more purposeful football at season’s end backfired here — and created a meaningless game for the Pats to plow through. Sure, that’s good in one way, as they largely kept away from further injury. But it’s also not so good in that there was no real chance to work out the on-field difficulties they currently are experiencing.

— Five straight weeks without scoring on the opening possession, after a period of steamrolling teams out of the gate. Trailing at halftime in four of the past five games. OK, how are these good things heading into the playoffs? Just sayin’.

— To my point, apparently Bill Belichick feels similarly, otherwise the team wouldn’t have held a blue-white situational scrimmage this week inside the stadium. And LeGarrette Blount was 100 percent correct when he said, “Nobody can stop us but us.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Ndamukong Suh, Roger Goodell

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets line up candidates for coach, GM vacancies

01.02.15 at 8:28 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: Mavericks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
College basketball: Florida State at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: USC at Utah, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UCLA at Colorado, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Armed Forces Bowl, Houston vs. Pittsburgh (ESPN)
College football: TaxSlayer Bowl, Iowa vs. Tennessee, 3:20 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Alamo Bowl, Kansas State vs. UCLA, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Cactus Bowl, Washington vs. Oklahoma State, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
High school football: Under Armour All-America Game, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)


Doug Marrone

Doug Marrone

— The Jets are lining up candidates to interview for the team’s vacant coach and general manager positions, and team owner Woody Johnson flew to Seattle on Thursday to speak with a trio of candidates who work for the Seahawks.

Assistant coaches Dan Quinn and Tom Cable are on Johnson’s list for a new coach, and director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner will interview for the GM position.

The early leader to be the new coach appears to be Doug Marrone, a Bronx native and former Jets assistant (2002-05) who quit as Bills coach Wednesday after leading Buffalo to its first winning record since 2004. Marrone went 15-17 in two seasons with the Bills after going 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse.

According to the New York Daily News, Marrone is being pushed on Johnson by Charley Casserly, the veteran NFL executive who recently was hired as a consultant to Johnson.

However, Marrone also is being blasted in some circles. The Buffalo News noted that he had a habit of alienating people around him — including players, team executives and reporters — and did not impress with his coaching acumen.

One front office executive told the Daily News it’s doubtful Marrone would succeed with the Jets.

“They’ll be doing the search again in two years,” the executive said. “I don’t think Marrone’s going to win there. He’s never won anywhere he’s been a head coach.”

Meanwhile, former Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly will interview with the 49ers this weekend.

— Lions wide receiver Golden Tate isn’t the name that comes to mind when thinking about Detroit’s dirty players (hello, Ndamukong Suh and Dominic Raiola), but to the Cowboys he’s apparently Public Enemy No. 1.

When Tate played for the Seahawks in 2012, he laid out Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee with a vicious block that left Lee stunned. It also left Tate $21,000 lighter in his wallet when he was fined by the league.

Cowboys safety Barry Church said Wednesday that his team had revenge on his mind for the “dirtiest shot I’ve ever seen.”

Responded Tate on Thursday: “Man, I don’t know this guy. I just now heard of him yesterday from this incident. He’s trying to get on the scene, I guess. We’ll see.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Doug Marrone, Golden Tate, Woody Johnson

The year in Boston sports: Most memorable games of 2014

12.31.14 at 11:13 am ET
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This past year was not always the most friendly to Boston-area teams, but that did not mean 2014 was not without the excitement of thrilling games.

The Red Sox battled through a rebuilding season, while the Patriots and Bruins excelled and played in many important games, including the playoffs. The Revolution even made it all the way to the MLS Cup and Boston College and Harvard had exciting upsets that shocked the college sports world.

Here are the most memorable games, wins and losses, for Boston’s teams during the 2014 calendar year.

10. (tie) April 4, MLB: Brewers 6, Red Sox 2

An early ceremony was spoiled by a late comeback during the home opener at Fenway Park. The Red Sox celebrated their 2013 World Series title and received their rings before this game, but that was the only positive on this day.

Unlike their 2013 run, there was no magic ending on this day. Edward Mujica entered the ninth inning in a 2-2 game and imploded, allowing four runs in the final frame. The Brewers celebrated a 6-2 win and the Red Sox were left shaking their heads.

10. (tie) Sept. 28, MLB: Yankees 9, Red Sox 5

A down year for the Red Sox concluded with a farewell to Yankees great Derek Jeter, as the longtime shortstop was honored at Fenway Park before the season’s last game. During the ceremony, Jeter was greeted by current and former Red Sox, received a pair of boots from his former coach Brian Butterfield and was presented with a check for $22,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation. Michelle Brooks Thompson from “The Voice” finished off the pregame event with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect.”

Jeter drove in a run with an infield single during his second plate appearance and was then removed from the game, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. The Red Sox, as they did many times in 2014, lost, dropping a 9-5 decision to finish the season with a 71-91 record.

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Dougie Hamilton, Jon Lester, mike napoli

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 1: Tom Brady overcomes early struggles, leads Patriots to AFC’s top seed

12.31.14 at 10:31 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, has been counting down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 1: Tom Brady overcomes early struggles, leads Patriots to AFC’s top seed. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Tom Brady overcome a sluggish start to lead the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady overcame a sluggish start to lead the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady finished the 2013 season with more than 4,000 passing yards for the sixth time in his career and looked to repeat this performance in 2014. But the Patriots quarterback had his doubters before the season began.

In a column for ESPN and during an interview with Dennis & Callahan, Sam Monson argued that Brady wasn’t among the elite NFL quarterbacks anymore. He said Brady was in a decline and no longer in the prime of his career.

About two months later, offensive lineman Logan Mankins was traded to the Buccaneers, leaving a void on the offensive line. Whether or not the trade played a factor, Brady struggled and appeared to fuel Monson’s claim from the get-go against the Dolphins in Week 1.

Brady completed 51.8 percent of his passes and was kept off of the scoreboard for the entire second half. He didn’t throw an interception, but he was strip-sacked twice by Cameron Wake and had trouble connecting with receivers when the Dolphins rushed him into quick decisions.

“Truthfully, I don’t think we were really jelling anywhere,” Brady said. “There wasn’t much positive from the quarterback position, the receiver position, the tight end position and the running back position. None of us can play like that and expect to win. All of us have to go out and do a much better job than we did today. We’ve got to take the coaching, understand what we need to do better and then go out and execute next week.”

Added Brady the following day on Dennis & Callahan: “When we’re open down the field I’ve got to hit them. I think that’s how I look at it. We’ve got to make more plays down the field to get more chunks, to shorten the field a little bit. It certainly wasn’t our best day passing the ball yesterday.”

Brady and the Patriots did recover somewhat for two straight wins against the Vikings and Raiders, although the quarterback threw for a combined 383 yards and two touchdowns. NFL analysts noted Brady’s play was unimpressive in the first three weeks. One of Brady’s former teammates, Tedy Bruschi, said he worried that New England’s mostly inexperienced offensive line would be a hindrance to Brady going forward.

“There’s been only limited improvement over the first few weeks, so that’s somewhat discouraging,” Bruschi said. “Is there still plenty of time? Yes. But I really worry. I really worry about the health of Tom Brady and the interior offensive line and what they’re doing there. To me, inside-out, it starts at the center position, which is a very valuable position now in the National Football League. It’s getting to be just as valuable as the left tackle, how you have to solidify the center of that pocket and the running game because that’s where all the pressure is going to come from. Especially when you have a pocket passer, which is what Tom is.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 2: Red Sox finish in last place after previous year’s World Series title

12.31.14 at 10:13 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 2: Red Sox finish in last place after previous year’s World Series title. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Xander Bogaerts' inability to make the leap to productive full-time player was a key to the Red Sox' struggles. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts’ inability to make the leap to productive full-time player was one of the keys to the Red Sox‘ struggles in 2014. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Expectations for the 2014 Red Sox were as high as ever going into spring training in Fort Myers, Florida. But the play on the field during the season never matched the performance from 2013.

A year after the Red Sox won the World Series, many thought Boston could contend for another title — or at least be competitive. Before the regular season started, team president Larry Lucchino spoke about his faith in the team.

“There were so many sources of satisfaction,” Lucchino said of 2013. “And of course the Boston Strong element that came into it. It was terrific. But there’s also down here right now — and maybe as a consequence of that, and because of the people we have in leadership positions here — there is a good vibe coming out of camp. There’s a good feeling down here.”

Catcher David Ross echoed the front office’s sentiment and said the Sox could pull off consecutive titles.

“Let’s get another championship under our belt, and then, hey, we’ve been rolling pretty good since ol’ No. 3 got here,” Ross said. “Maybe I’ll start that campaign.”

What started as an encouraging year quickly began to fall apart. The Sox dropped the opener to the eventual division champion Orioles, then were swept by the Brewers during their first series of the year at Fenway Park. The home opener, where the Sox players and coaches collected their World Series rings, was marred by a ninth-inning meltdown from newly acquired reliever Edward Mujica.

The Red Sox played fairly well through the first two months, but injuries and inconsistent play from younger position players like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. pushed the Red Sox lower into the American League East standings.

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Read More: Ben Cherington, Jackie Bradley Jr., john farrell, Jon Lester

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Aaron Rodgers questions arbitrator’s decision to overturn Ndamukong Suh’s suspension

12.31.14 at 8:04 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: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Kings at Celtics, 1 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Tulane at East Carolina, noon (ESPNews)
College basketball: Tulsa at Central Florida, noon (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. John’s at Seton Hall, noon (FS1)
College basketball: Temple at UConn, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin, 1 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Houston at Memphis, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Butler at Villanova, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Minnesota at Purdue, 3:15 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Georgia at Kansas State, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: South Florida at SMU, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Marquette at DePaul, 5 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Indiana at Nebraska, 5:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Cornell at Syracuse, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton at Providence, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Georgetown at Xavier, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Peach Bowl, Mississippi vs. Texas Christian, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Fiesta Bowl, Boise State vs. Arizona, 4:10 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Orange Bowl, Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech, 8:10 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)


— Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had his one-game suspension overturned, allowing him to play in Sunday’s wild card game against the Cowboys, although he still must pay a $70,000 fine for stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ ankle.

Hearing officer Ted Cottrell ruled Tuesday that Suh can play after meeting with the player in New York. He reportedly agreed with the league that Suh violated the NFL’s player-safety policy but still decided to reduce the penalty.

Rodgers questioned how Suh could claim his stomp was accidental.

“The only thing I can say is if you step on something in your everyday life or if you step on somebody on the field, the first reaction seems to be looking back and maybe apologizing with your hands or maybe pulling your foot back right away, and I’m just not sure that’s what happened on Sunday,” Rodgers said Tuesday.

MASHUP POLL: Do you agree with the penalty assessed to Ndamukong Suh for his latest transgression?

  • No, he's a repeat offender who needs to miss a game to learn his lesson (91%, 344 Votes)
  • Yes, the fine is enough, he did not deserve to miss his team's playoff game for this (9%, 33 Votes)

Total Voters: 377

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The ruling also was questioned by Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey.

“I didn’t understand that,” Mincey said. “You’ve got to play the game the right way. I’m not knocking him. I like his intensity. I love how hard he plays. But there comes a point where you’ve got to think before you react.

“Sometimes it happens. I’ve done plays like what Suh did, so I’m not mad at him. It happens like that sometimes. You’re frustrated, you’re down and you’re losing and things like that.”

Suh has been fined eight times and suspended once previously for his behavior, but because he had not committed a fine-worthy transgression since Week 1 of 2013, he had been removed from the “repeat offender” list under a new formula used by the league.

— The Texas A&M student assistant coach who hit two West Virginia players on the sideline during Monday’s Liberty Bowl was fired Tuesday.

Coach Kevin Sumlin apologized to West Virginia as well as his own team’s fans for Michael Richardson’s actions in the first half of the game, which the Aggies went on to win.

“I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed, as his behavior reflected poorly on our program,” Sumlin said. “I also want to apologize to the Aggie faithful, as they deserve a program to be proud of, not only in our play, but in the integrity and respect we show on and off the field. This student assistant coach’s actions are not representative of our program.”

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Darren Sanders, Kevin Sumlin, Michael Richardson

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 3: Celtics trade Rajon Rondo to Mavericks

12.30.14 at 4:29 pm ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 3: Celtics trade Rajon Rondo to Mavericks. To read other stories in this series, click here.

The rumors began to swirl quickly one night, and he was out of Boston by the next.

After eight-plus seasons with the Celtics, point guard Rajon Rondo was traded to the Mavericks with rookie Dwight Powell in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and two draft picks — a 2015 first-rounder and a 2016 second-round selection.

The Celtics said in a statement after the trade they were appreciative of what Rondo did during his time in Boston.

“We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

“We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics, both on the court and in the community working with kids,” Celtics managing partners Wyc Grousbeck, Irv Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Robert Epstein said. “We will always cherish the time he was here.”

The trade finally happened on a late December day, though the first discussions about Rondo leaving the C’s came a year earlier. The Celtics limped to a 25-57 record in 2013-14, and many thought Boston would unload its top player. But Rondo was sidelined for most of the year because of a torn ACL from the season prior, and he was limited to just 30 games. A trade would have to wait.

With one year remaining on his contract, the rumors brewed throughout the summer before the 2014-15 season that Rondo would be moved elsewhere. Reports said Rondo would be everywhere from Sacramento to Houston before the season started.

Rondo said that he couldn’t focus too much on all of the trade speculation. It was just part of the game.

“I don’t have too many feelings involved in this business,” Rondo said. “I’ve played my heart out for the game, but business is business. I can be here today, gone tomorrow. You never know. For me to get bent out of shape, or to feel threatened by the Celtics drafting a point guard, it means nothing.”

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Read More: Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Jameer Nelson, rajon rondo

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 4: Red Sox trade Jon Lester, John Lackey, others in trade deadline fire sale

12.30.14 at 9:19 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 4: Red Sox trade Jon Lester, John Lackey and others in trade deadline fire sale. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Jon Lester was one of many Red Sox players sent packing as the team underperformed during the 2014 season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jon Lester was one of many Red Sox players sent packing as the team underperformed during the 2014 season. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Red Sox‘ 2014 season was forgettable at best.

The Sox stumbled out of the gate and never fully recovered. By July, they had endured countless losing streaks, including one that lasted 10 games, and had fallen into last place in the American League East, a spot they held for the rest of the season.

Much of the struggles were a result of on-field performance. The Sox had one of the worst offenses in baseball for most of the season, and had as many as five rookies on the big league roster at a time at one point.

However, the Sox had their share of problems off the field as well. It started with A.J. Pierzynski, who not only struggled as a player — he hit .254/.286/.348 in 72 games with the Red Sox — but also reportedly was a negative clubhouse presence.

But the most notable off-field dilemma involved Jon Lester and his contract, which was set to expire at the end of the season. The left-hander regularly fielded questions from the media regarding the status of negotiations for a new deal with the Sox. Lester had said before the season that he’d be willing to take a discount to stay in Boston. However, the Red Sox‘ initial offer — worth a reported $70 million over four years — apparently was way too low to spark productive discussions.

The Red Sox‘ fortunes seemingly had turned after Pierzynski was designated for assignment July 9. The Sox won eight of their next nine games and had general manager Ben Cherington thinking his team could be a buyer at the trade deadline.

But the Sox stumbled again. They lost their next five games and began sinking further into last place with less than a week before the July 31 deadline.

On July 26, the first shoe dropped.

The Sox traded pitcher Jake Peavy to the Giants for pitching prospects Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree. Peavy’s struggles and expiring contract and the Sox’ position in the standings factored into the decision to trade him.

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Read More: John Lackey, Jon Lester, Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lions’ Dominic Raiola stunned by ‘ridiculous’ suspension to Ndamukong Suh

12.30.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Cavaliers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers, noon (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa at Ohio State, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at West Virginia, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois at Michigan, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Cincinnati at NC State, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Maryland at Michigan State, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Davidson at Virginia, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Florida at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Mississippi at Dayton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Music City Bowl, Notre Dame vs. LSU, 3 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College football: Belk Bowl, Georgia vs. Louisville, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Foster Farms Bowl, Maryland vs. Stanford, 10 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)


— The NFL came down hard on Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for his latest transgression, but teammate and fellow troublemaker Dominic Raiola can’t understand why.

Suh was suspended for Sunday’s wild card playoff game against the Cowboys after stepping on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ ankle during this past Sunday’s game. Suh can appeal the suspension and receive an expedited appeal.

Raiola, who was suspended for the Packers game after stepping on a Bears player’s leg the week before, insisted Suh did not try to hurt Rodgers, despite video that shows Suh making no attempt to avoid putting full pressure onto a defenseless Rodgers after backing up onto him.

“The play … he wasn’t even looking at [Rodgers],” said Raiola, who also was fined for a cheap shot in a November game against the Patriots. “He was getting pushed back a little bit. It was ridiculous what Fox did right after it. It was crazy, watching it. I couldn’t even listen to those guys after he did it.

“There is no way, at that point in the game, that he did something like that in purpose. No way.”

Teammate Larry Warford was a little more understanding of the NFL’s approach, considering Suh is a repeat offender who has been fined seven times and suspended once over his career.

“It’s part of what has been happening around here. Obviously, they’re going to be stricter on us. That is just a fact of what happened a week before,” Warford said, adding: “They’re obviously a lot stricter with our team. It’s something we have to fight through. A little adversity. We’ll make it through.”

— Johnny Manziel denied reports that he threw a party Friday night, but the Browns quarterback admitted he overslept Saturday morning and missed treatment for his hamstring injury. And for the second time this month, he claimed he understands he needs to grow up fast.

“It’s about actions,” he said Monday. “It’s about being accountable and doing what I’m going to say instead of looking like a jackass.”

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Read More: Dominic Raiola, Johnny Manziel, Michael Richardson, Ndamukong Suh

Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 5: Bruins bounced by Canadiens in Eastern Conference semifinals

12.29.14 at 10:26 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, will count down the top stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 5: Bruins bounced by Canadiens in Eastern Conference semifinals. To see the previous entries, click here.

The only thing that could possibly sting more than the Bruins’ Game 6 loss to the Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals would be a Game 7 loss to Montreal in the playoffs.

Unfortunately for Bruins fans, that’s exactly what happened in 2014.

The B’s and Habs met in the playoffs for the 34th time in their history in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and the series was as heated, exciting and back-and-forth as one would expected from two longtime rivals. So it was only right for this series to come down to the ninth Game 7 between the teams.

The problem was only one team showed up for the start of the May 14 meeting. Dale Weise scored 2:18 into the first period and the Canadiens rolled to a 3-1 win at TD Garden to eliminate the top-seeded Bruins and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

For all the hype and drama leading up to a Game 7 at home against their bitter rivals, the Bruins played an uninspired first period in which they looked slow against the Canadiens’ speed and hesitant with the puck, resulting in Weise’s early goal. They committed three penalties and turned the puck over seven times in the period.

“That’s why we lost,” Milan Lucic said after the game.

Montreal went up 2-0 when Max Pacioretty scored on a one-timer midway through the second period. The Bruins finally beat Habs goaltender Carey Price, who made 29 saves, with 2:02 left in the second on a power-play goal by Jarome Iginla.

Daniel Briere finished the B’s off with a power-play goal with under three minutes to play to put Montreal up 3-1 late.

“We definitely didn’t play our best,” Patrice Bergeron said. “It’s the team that plays the best at this time that goes forward, and it wasn’t us. We definitely could have been — should have been — a lot better.”

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Read More: Carey Price, Dale Weise, Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban