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Thinking Out Loud: Sliding Providence needs more support from underclassmen 02.12.16 at 5:12 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering why I can never find my glasses when I need them.

— The Friars’ drop to 20th (17th in the coaches poll) is predictable. Two losses without winning in a week will do that, even if one of those losses was to the new No. 1 team. The DePaul loss was crushing, however, and shows how fleeting good fortune can be. I blame myself. That’s the first — and only — game when I missed the pregame shootaround on the road this season.

— I’ve had several conversations with Friars fans who have asked if I’m disappointed with the team’s performance lately. Sure, you always want to win, but disappointed? Absolutely not. First of all, I’m enjoying a great ride watching this team play, and these coaches coach. Plus — a little secret here — this PC team isn’t really a top-10 team, so get over it. That’s not what this team is.

— Are the Friars still good? They probably have the two best players on the court at any given time that Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil are together. But as we can all observe, these Friars need a third or fourth wheel to consistently perform in order to be really good, and the candidates are underclassmen still learning to play at the highest level in the sport.

— Top-10 good is questionable, at best. But still pretty good, and good enough to beat a lot of other pretty good teams around the country. No. 1-ranked Villanova knows how good the Friars can be. So don’t sweat the rankings, they’re fun, but they’re also ultra-subjective. Bring on March Madness.

— Oh, got my tickets this week for the NCAA Tournament first and second rounds at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. And then realized I may not be there if the Friars make the field of 68. Teams can’t play at home (right, Dayton?) so that’s a good problem to have, I suppose.

— Admittedly, the Marquette loss in double overtime this week was very frustrating. Ed Cooley was despondent afterward, but by the time the team landed back in Providence in the wee hours of Thursday morning, sights already were set and focused on Georgetown. Development is still a key factor here, and the problem is it isn’t happening fast enough for anyone’s liking.

— Bentil’s 42-point, 12-rebound performance was eye-popping wow. Only one other player in the country has put together a 40/10 double-double this season — freshman phenom Ben Simmons at LSU (43 points, 14 rebounds vs. North Florida). If the Friars can make any kind of a run in the final six games of the regular season, he’s a legit candidate for Big East Player of the Year, with all due respect to his teammate Dunn.

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Read More: Ben Bentil, Kris Dunn,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Rockets reportedly shopping Dwight Howard, who says, ‘I’m not running’ from adversity 02.12.16 at 8:24 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: All-Star Celebrity Game, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: All-Star Rising Stars Challenge, 9 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Dayton at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Ohio at Buffalo, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Monmouth at Rider, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UCLA at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College hockey: Maine at Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Multiple reports indicate the Rockets are shopping Dwight Howard, although the veteran center insists he’s not asking for a trade.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, to find the eight-time All-Star a new home, but Fegan told ESPN that’s not the case.

“I’m not privy to what the Rockets are doing or not doing with respect to Dwight Howard,” Fegan said. “What I can say, with 100 percent certainty, is that Dwight has not and has never asked the Rockets for a trade. And neither have I.

Howard later backed his agent, telling ESPN, “Dan’s statement is true. I have not asked the Rockets to trade me, nor have I talked about right trades. I want to win. I want this situation to work. I chose this team. And I’m not running because we have been faced with some adversity.”

The Rockets, who replaced Kevin McHale with interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff 11 games into this season, are 27-28 following Wednesday’s 116-103 loss to the Trail Blazers, after which Bickerststaff referred to the Rockets as “a broken team.”

Howard is due to earn $23.3 million next season but is expected to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent. That makes him an option to be traded before next Thursday’s deadline.

There has been speculation that the Celtics will pursue Howard — they certainly could use a center who averages 14.6 points and 12.0 rebounds a game — although there are longstanding questions about Howard’s desire to do what it takes to be a champion. The C’s are said to be interested in Hawks veteran Al Horford, who supposedly is being shopped as well.

— The two teams most affected by the death of Monty Williams’ wife held a moment of silence before they played Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

Williams, the former Pelicans coach who now is an assistant with the Thunder, is on indefinite leave from the team as he tends to his children — three of whom were injured in the car crash that took Ingrid Williams’ life.

Thunder star Kevin Durant broke down while speaking with the media during the team’s morning shootaround, saying, “I just love Coach Monty so much, man. I feel for him,” before ending the interview after 15 seconds.

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Read More: Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Mark Davis, Monty Williams
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NBA mourns Thunder assistant Monty Williams’ wife, who dies after car crash 02.11.16 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Jets, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: VCU at UMass, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: St. Francis (Pa.) at Robert Morris, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UConn at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Florida State at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Eastern Kentucky at Morehead State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa at Indiana, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oregon at California, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois State at Evansville, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Radford at UNC Asheville, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Gonzaga at Portland, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon State at Stanford, 11 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Clippers coach Doc Rivers could be forgiven if his mind wasn’t completely on Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Celtics at TD Garden.

That’s because the wife of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, Rivers’ longtime friend, died Wednesday night from injuries sustained the night before in a car crash.

Ingrid Williams, 44, was hit while driving just outside Oklahoma City by a car that crossed the center line. The other driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rivers has known the couple since before they were married, and his son Austin played for Williams for 2 1/2 seasons before being traded to the Clippers. Rivers was informed of Ingrid’s death after Wednesday’s game, and he fought back tears when speaking to the media.

“I’m heartbroken,” Rivers said. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair. There’s no better human being in the world than Monte and Ingrid. Sometimes you question everything, and this is one of those times.”

Condolences poured in for Williams from around the NBA.

Tweeted Pelicans star Anthony Davis: Completely devastated. Ingrid Williams was like a 2nd mother to me when I got to NOLA. My thoughts & prayers are with Monty & the family.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone let his emotions show when coaching his team to a win over the Pistons.

“I apologized to the team. The first half, I coached very angry,” Malone said. “I don’t know if you guys heard, Monty Williams, a good friend of mine, his wife was killed in an accident. … So I apologized to them because it’s taking my anger out on them, and they don’t deserve that.”

Terrell Owens was not selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, his first year of eligibility. He undoubtedly eventually will get in, but it won’t be because he campaigned for it. According to him, that’s behavior better left to Cris Carter.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show, Owens expressed his displeasure with Carter’s frequent criticism, dating back to when they both played. Owens referred to a 1998 playoff game in which Owens’ 49ers team eliminated Carter’s Vikings from the playoffs, after which Carter referred to Owens as “mediocre.”

“For somebody like that, for Cris Carter to come out and say something like that, I just felt like it was disrespectful,” Owens said. “And so now, you look at where I am statistically, I’ve surpassed him. And from what I heard, from a lot of guys, he begged his way into the Hall of Fame.”

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Read More: Cris Carter, doc rivers, Hope Solo, Monty Williams
Video: Bernie Sanders relaxes in New Hampshire by playing basketball 02.10.16 at 10:04 am ET
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Much has been made about Barack Obama’s love of basketball and his pickup games at the White House. Bernie Sanders, who hopes to succeed Obama as president, showed Tuesday he’s got game as well.

The Vermont Senator shot hoops with his grandchildren in Concord, New Hampshire, while waiting for the final results of Tuesday’s New Hampshire Democratic primary — which he won handily over Hillary Clinton. (Donald Trump, fresh off his appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday, won the Republican primary.)

The 74-year-old showed some skill, banking in a series of short shots.

Sanders said in a previous interview that he was a “very good athlete” and his Brooklyn elementary school won the borough championship. He ran track at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, where he said he ran a mile in the impressive time of 4 minutes, 37 seconds.

Sanders has another connection to sports: He was part of the bipartisan House Committee on Government Reform panel that grilled Roger Clemens and other Major League Baseball players on the use of steroids in baseball in 2005.

Read More: Bernie Sanders,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Browns deny using concussion protocol to cover up for intoxicated Johnny Manziel 02.10.16 at 8:21 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:
NBA: Clippers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Lakers at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tulane at East Carolina, 6:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Butler at Seton Hall, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Providence at Marquette, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: LSU at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Memphis at Houston, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Baylor at Kansas State, 8:15 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulsa at SMU, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: San Diego State at Fresno State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Rangers at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: FA Cup, West Bromwich at Peterborough United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Johnny Manziel’s departure from Cleveland can’t come soon enough for the Browns.

On Tuesday the team denied an NFL Network report that it covered up for the fact that Manziel showed up at for practice the final week of the season in an intoxicated state by placing him in the concussion protocol.

NFL Network’s Michael Silver, using an unnamed Browns player as his source, reported that the team “lied” to protect Manziel, who took a couple of hard hits during the team’s Dec. 27 loss to the Chiefs.

“Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of December 30th and complained of concussion symptoms,” the team said in a statement. “He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league’s concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until January 12th after being cleared by the independent neurologist.”

Manziel missed the final regular-season game against the Steelers, and he missed a scheduled medical checkup the morning of that game after reportedly visiting Las Vegas the previous day.

Similar speculation emerged that week, with then-coach Mike Pettine strongly denying the team covered for Manziel.

Silver sent out a series of tweets defending his report, but he backtracked slightly, saying he takes the Browns at their word and regrets using the word “lied.”

The Browns have indicated they plan to release Manziel, who is being investigated by Dallas police after his ex-girlfriend accused him of hitting her in an incident last week.

— The Clippers came down on star Blake Griffin, suspending the injured forward four games and docking him an additional game’s salary because his broke his hand punching a member of the equipment staff last month. The suspension will begin when Griffin returns from his injury in a few weeks.

“We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization,” team owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers said in a joint statement. “Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team.”

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Johnny Manziel, Phil Jackson,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Manziel’s ex-girlfriend details attack, says QB’s hit caused her to lose hearing 02.09.16 at 8:09 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:
NHL: Kings at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Stars at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Bucks, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Spurs at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: North Carolina at Boston College, 8 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Michigan State at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: West Virginia at Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Xavier at Creighton, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Texas-Arlington at Texas State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: New Mexico at Utah State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: FA Cup, Liverpool at Wes Ham, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A day after a dull Super Bowl, much of the talk in NFL circles centered around Cam Newton‘s obnoxious behavior in the postgame interview area. Sadly for the NFL, that storyline had to have been preferable to the other options, as the league’s players got a jump-start on their annual offseason legal problems.

Taking the early lead for most disgraceful behavior is soon-to-be ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose former girlfriend’s affidavit regarding their recent domestic incident was made public Monday.

According to Colleen Crowley, Manziel hit her so hard that she lost hearing in her left ear. She also claims he forced her into the car he was driving, even after she jumped out in an attempt to escape him.

“Fearful for my life, I hit [Manziel] several times, hoping I could back out of the car,” she said in the affidavit, adding that Manziel “threw me off of him and I hit my head on the car window and I fell into the passenger floorboard.”

The incident started in his hotel room shortly before 2 a.m. on Jan. 30. Crowley said that after they argued, Manziel restrained her and led her downstairs to the car. She said she asked the valet for help but he did offer assistance.

The authorities announced Friday, after Crowley spoke with Dallas police, that they are investigating a domestic violence complaint against Manziel.

— In Philadelphia, Bills running back LeSean McCoy is being investigated for his alleged role in a nightclub brawl early Sunday in which two off-duty police officers ended up in the hospital.

According to police and media reports, McCoy was with three friends when his group got into an argument with the officers over a misunderstanding about a bottle of champagne. One officer ended up with a broken nose and broken ribs, while the other received stitches and had a possible skull fracture.

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Read More: Delmon Young, Johnny Manziel, LeSean McCoy,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: PuppyMonkeyBaby leaves lasting impression during Super Bowl 02.08.16 at 7:47 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:
College hockey: Beanpot consolation, Northeastern vs. Harvard, 4:30 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Beanpot championship, Boston College vs. Boston University, 8 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Magic at Hawks, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Women, UConn at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Louisville at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colgate at Army, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Clemson, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Sunday’s Super Bowl will go down as one of the least entertaining ever, a defensive snoozefest that was filled with mistakes by both teams. And as a whole, the Super Bowl commercials were similarly disappointing.

However, there were some memorable spots, including the bizarre PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial for Mountain Dew’s Kickstart energy drink. In an effort to promote the fact that the product is a combination of dew, juice and caffeine, the company featured a creature with a puppy’s head, a monkey’s upper body and a baby’s bottom half (including diaper). The animal enters a room with three men and starts chanting “PuppyMonkeyBaby” while distributing the drink. It then licks the face of one of the men before leading them out the door in a dance.

The commercial horrified many viewers, but it certainly appeared to be generating the most buzz.

Tweeted James Bates of Fox Sports: I’m scared of commercial breaks now… #puppymonkeybaby might start lickin’ stuff again.

Joked comedian Patton Oswalt: That puppy monkey baby is already being used in ISIS recruiting videos. #SB50

— One year after Marshawn Lynch was left on the sideline during the game-deciding play of the Super Bowl, the Seahawks running back appeared to indicated that he’ll be on the sideline for good.

During the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, Lynch tweeted a picture of a pair of cleats hanging from a power line along with a peace emoji. The team retweeted it along with the hashtag #ThankYouBeastMode but said there would be no further comment.

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Read More: Hue Jackson, Johnny Manziel, Marshawn Lynch, PuppyMonkeyBaby
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Peyton Manning hired private investigators after HGH accusation 02.05.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Hawks, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Harvard at Princeton, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Columbia at Yale, 5 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Central Michigan at Akron, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Saint Peter’s at Siena, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Exhibition, Canada at United States, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Peyton Manning‘s legal team hired private investigators to find and interrogate former Guyer Institute intern Charles Sly before the release of the Al Jazeera report that suggested the Broncos quarterback and other star athletes had obtained performance-enhancing drugs, according to a story in The Washington Post.

The Post story indicates that private investigators visited Sly’s parents’ home in suburban Indianapolis and one initially said he was a law enforcement officer but could not provide a badge, leading the family to call 911.

Sly, who said the company shipped HGH to Manning’s wife, Ashley, in 2011 while Manning was rehabbing from neck injuries, recanted the statements he made on hidden camera, claiming he made them up in order to impress a potential business associate. His video statement was recorded one day after he talked to Manning investigators.

Ari Fleischer, the crisis management consultant Manning hired, told the Post that a Manning lawyer examined the Mannings’ medical records at the Indianapolis anti-aging institute but none of the lawyers or investigators removed any records, coerced Sly into recanting, or did anything that would interfere with subsequent investigations.

“When somebody accuses you of doing something you didn’t do — and Al Jazeera refused to tell us who it was — it’s only logical to say, ‘€˜Who is it, and why are they doing this?”€‰” Fleischer said in defense of the private investigation. “That’s human nature.”

Fleischer acknowledged that Ashley Manning received medication from the Guyer Institute, but he did not say if it was HGH, citing her right to privacy.

Manning has repeatedly denied any suggestion that he used PEDs, calling the report “garbage.” His father, Archie, appeared on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” on Thursday and supported his son.

“I always had a saying when he was going through everything and he had to talk to a lot of different doctors and trainers, and I always said, ‘No voodoo.’ That was kind of our theme,” Archie Manning said. “And he didn’t. He said he didn’t. He didn’t.”

— One day after his back-and-forth with NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison, Panthers cornerback Josh Norman turned his attention to the Broncos, calling out wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Responding to Sanders saying Norman “talked himself into the media,” Norman said, “I think you’d have to be pretty darn good at what you do to talk your way into the spotlight. I haven’t been hearing much about him. Obviously he may want to go back and go practice some more.”

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Read More: Dave Mirra, Emmanuel Sanders, Josh Norman, Peyton Manning
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Panthers CB Josh Norman reminds Rodney Harrison of Patriots nightmare 02.04.16 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Islanders at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Ducks at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Knicks at Pistons, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Pelicans, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Ohio State at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Tulsa at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Central Florida at Tulane, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: South Florida at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: UConn at Memphis, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Oregon, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Murray State at Southeast Missouri State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah at Oregon State, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Portland at Pepperdine, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Josh Norman

Josh Norman

— The Rodney Harrison-Josh Norman feud took an ugly turn Wednesday — at least as far as Patriots fans are concerned.

After Harrison suggested that the Broncos try to injure Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in order to gain an advantage, Norman, the controversial Panthers cornerback, responded by bringing up the Patriots’ loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl XLII.

“You would have to ask [David] Tyree about that one. Remember [No.] 85, when he caught it over his head?” Norman joked, referring to the incredible catch by the Giants wide receiver during New York’s game-winning drive while Harrison tried in vain to dislodge the ball. “Rodney’s been saying a lot of things this year, he really has. To comment on something like that … I don’t know.”

Added Norman: “It’s something I don’t think this game would want. I don’t think it’s something the Panthers would want, and I know it’s nothing that me, as his teammate, would want. I don’t want it to happen, period.”

Harrison, known for his physical — critics would say dirty — play during his career, started this week’s back-and-forth when talking about Newton’s skill with the ball.

“If I see Cam Newton running the ball and he’s a quarterback and I’m on defense, I’m trying to hurt him,” the NBC Sports analyst said. “I’m trying to knock him out of the game.”

Added Harrison: “I guarantee you that as many compliments that Denver’s defense is giving Cam Newton, those guys are in the background saying, ‘If we can knock him out of the game, that’s the difference between us winning and losing the Super Bowl.’ ”

Meanwhile, if Norman is unhappy with Harrison (with whom he also feuded in December), he must really be upset with former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski. The Boston College product — also known for his aggressive, sometimes over-the-line play during his 16-year career — told Bleacher Report on Wednesday that he would take a similar approach to Harrison in an attempt to slow down Newton.

“I’d hit him as hard as I possibly could, and probably at the bottom of the pile I’d try to get him by the neck and choke him,” Romanowski said to laughs. “And hopefully he can’t breathe for a long time.”

— The Flames are not pleased after the NHL handed defenseman Dennis Wideman the second-longest suspension for physical abuse of an official in league history, a 20-game ban.

Wideman, a former Bruin, was skating back to the bench after taking a hard hit during a game last month when he encountered linesman Don Henderson and knocked the official to the ice from behind. Wideman, who later apologized, was diagnosed with a concussion after the game, but the NHL called the hit “a forceful blow that was no accident.”

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Read More: Bill Romanowski, CTE, Dennis Wideman, Josh Norman
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos send home rookie safety after detainment as part of prostitution sting 02.03.16 at 8:10 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Pistons at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Warriors at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. John’s at Xavier, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Penn State at Iowa, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton at Villanova, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Marquette at Seton Hall, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Kansas State at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Arizona State at Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Red Wings at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Chelsea at Watford, 2:45 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

— The night before Super Bowl 33 between the Falcons and Broncos in 1999, Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Now a radio analyst for the Panthers, Robinson talked to Carolina’s players Sunday, calling the incident the “worst night of my life.”

Apparently the Broncos could have benefited from Robinson’s advice. Practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was sent home by the team Tuesday after being detained and questioned by police as part of a prostitution sting in the San Francisco area.

According to reports out of nearby San Jose, a suspected prostitute led police to a car where Murphy and his brother were waiting, and Murphy’s brother was cited for solicitation.

“Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said in a statement. “Ryan is returning to Denver, but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”

Murphy, who grew up in Oakland and played at Oregon State, was drafted by the Seahawks in the seventh round last spring. He was waived in September, and the Broncos signed him to the practice squad in November.

— The Browns appear ready to move on from troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel, implying Tuesday that they will make a move in March, when the league’s new year begins and his release would minimize the impact on their salary cap.

“We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field,” new vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement. “Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules.”

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