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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos WR Wes Welker suffers second concussion in 4 weeks 12.09.13 at 8:01 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.

NFL: Cowboys at Bears, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Nuggets at Wizards, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Bryant at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Manchester at Butler, 8 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Blue Jackets at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Hull City at Swansea City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘€¢ The Bernard Pollard curse has struck again, but this time it’s an ex-Patriot who suffered the injury.

Broncos receiver Wes Welker left Sunday’s victory over the Titans with a concussion for the second time in a month, after taking a hit to the head from Pollard late in the second quarter of Sunday’s game in Denver.

Welker, who earlier in the game caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season — giving the Broncos a record four players with 10 touchdown receptions this season — walked off the field under his own power but did not return in the second half.

The Broncos play again Thursday night against the Chargers, and there already is speculation that Welker, who also was concussed in a Week 11 win over the Chiefs but returned for the following week’s game against the Patriots, will skip that game. Per the league’s concussion protocol, Welker will have baseline testing Monday.

Pollard is well known to New England fans for causing injuries to Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Stevan Ridley. He also was the defender when Welker suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the final regular-season game in 2009, although Welker suffered the injury trying to make a move, without any contact.

‘€¢ Meanwhile, Welker’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, heard the criticism about his play in cold-weather games, and he had a message for his critics after rallying Denver from an 11-point deficit for a 51-28 rout of the Titans on a day when the temperature was 18 degrees at kickoff.

“Whoever wrote that narrative can shove it where the sun don’t shine,” Manning said.

Entering the game, Manning had a career record of 3-7 in games when the temperature was 32 or below at kickoff. He proceeded to set a team record with 39 completions (on a team-record-tying 59 attempts). Manning passed for 397 yards and four touchdowns, closing to within five of Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50.

Said Manning: “I wasn’t trying to answer [the criticism], because I didn’t give it any validation in the first place.”

Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said he doesn’t expect Manning’s critics to relent.

“They’ll find something [to talk about],” Knighton said. “They’ll probably say, well, he’s not good … below zero or something. They’ll find something, but I consider us a weatherproof team, and he’s a Super Bowl champ. We’re not really worried about that. We’ll play anywhere, any weather, any conditions.”

On a side note, Broncos kicker Matt Prater also didn’t let the frigid temperatures bother him, as he kicked an NFL-record 64-yard field goal just before halftime. Two of the four kickers who shared the old record of 63 yards also kicked theirs in Denver, where the altitude offers some assistance — although Prater noted that the benefit from the thin air was evened out by the temperature (14 degrees when he kicked).

“Yes, it kind of takes out the altitude factor,” he said.

‘€¢ Adrian Peterson did not enjoy his trip to Baltimore on Sunday. Not only did the Vikings suffer a 29-26 on a touchdown in the final seconds, Peterson was carted off the field in the second quarter with a sprained foot and did not play another down — although he did watch from the sideline.

But Peterson’s main issue was with the officials. The Vikings were called for pass interference on Baltimore’s winning drive, nullifying an interception. That was just one of the calls that had Peterson upset.

“Some of the calls that were made, you just went, ‘Wow. I can’t believe that was called,’ ” Peterson said.

The running back also had an issue with the Baltimore fans, who braved a snowstorm but were not as well-behaved as Peterson would like.

“They’ve got the worst fans in the NFL,” Peterson said. “[They were] throwing snowballs the entire fourth quarter, like kids.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 9, 1992, the Red Sox signed which free agent who eventually wound up in the Hall of Fame?

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Bernard Pollard, Matt Prater, Peyton Manning
Grand jury charges sought in death of Adrian Peterson’s son 10.16.13 at 10:14 am ET
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The saga surrounding Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and his deceased 2-year-old son continues.

On Tuesday, Tom Wollman, Lincoln County state’€™s attorney, said he intends to ask for more serious grand jury charges for Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, for his connection in the death of Peterson’€™s son, Tyrese Robert Ruffin.

“We’ll seek a grand jury review in the near future,” Wollman said.

Ruffin died on Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D., after being hospitalized with serious head injuries.

Patterson, the live-in boyfriend of Ruffin’€™s mother, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery. Bond was set at $750,000 cash.

Peterson made headlines on Sunday when he opted to play against the Panthers, two days after the boy’s death. He carried the ball 10 times for 62 yards in Minnesota’€™s 35-10 loss. This prompted criticism of Peterson, with a writer for the New York Post questioning him for playing.

Bobby Ruffin, who said he served as a father figure to the boy, went on Facebook and explained that Peterson did not know he was the biological father until a few months ago. Ruffin also complained about the perception that Peterson had an emotional connection to the child.

Wrote Ruffin on Friday: So tired of this poor Adrian Peterson [expletive]. Let me blow all your minds. The boy who died was my son. Yes A.P. he was the biological father but I raised him and he carried my name. Tyrese Robert Ruffin. I don’€™t blame AP for not really caring cuz him and I both found out recently who the biological father was.

AP met my son for the first time [Thursday] when my son was already in coma. I was here [Friday] when we pulled the plug, not him. He was happily practicing and has no problem playing on Sunday.

So yea this isn’€™t all out yet but I’€™m sick of the poor AP [expletive]. He didn’€™t know or even meet my son. Sorry for the outburst but put yourself in my place.

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Joseph Robert Patterson, Tom Wollman, Tyrese Robert Ruffin
Report: Vikings star Adrian Peterson leaves team to visit 2-year-old son beaten into critical condition 10.11.13 at 11:39 am ET
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Vikings running back Adrian Peterson reportedly left the team Thursday to visit his 2-year-old son, who is said to be in critical condition in a South Dakota hospital after allegedly being beaten by the live-in boyfriend of the boy’s mother.

TMZ.com reported that emergency responders arrived at an apartment where the boy lives late Wednesday afternoon and found the child unresponsive. After the child was taken to the hospital and medical experts determined the injuries to his head were consistent with abuse, 27-year-old Joseph Patterson was detained and charged with aggravated felony assault and battery of an infant. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Patterson has a history of domestic violence.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday morning that Peterson was back in Minnesota and expected to address the media after the team’s 11 a.m. practice.

Read More: Adrian Peterson,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Rutgers stands by incoming AD Julie Hermann despite accusations of emotional abuse 05.28.13 at 7:58 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.

MLB: Phillies at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Angels at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Pacers, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Incoming Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, in a conference call with reporters Monday, insisted she will not resign despite reports that she emotionally abused volleyball players at Tennessee when she was coach there 16 years ago.

“I never considered withdrawing because I feel very qualified to lead Rutgers into the future and into the transition into the Big Ten,” Hermann said. “And I do feel the support of the Rutgers community.”

Hermann, who has spent the past 15 years as an executive in the athletic department at the University of Louisville, denied ever knowing about a letter her players at Tennessee wrote criticizing her coaching style, although she acknowledged that she was an intense coach and may have made a few mistakes. She said she has matured since then.

However, one former player emailed ESPN and said the team met with Hermann the end of the season and shared the complaints they had detailed in the letter.

“All of the things that were written are unfortunately true,” wrote Abbey (Blazer) Watkins of the abuse. “Many of these things happened to me personally. I truly hope Julie has changed but refuse for anyone to deny the fact that our dreams had been crushed and our hearts broken. ‘€¦ For her or anyone else in the room to say that meeting didn’t happen is appalling.”

Rutgers president Robert Barchi stood by his decision to hire Hermann, who on June 17 is scheduled to take over a program that is trying to recover from the negative publicity generated by abusive former basketball coach Mike Rice.

“Rutgers was deliberative at every stage of this process,” Barchi said in a statement. “Over the course of the search, Julie’s record established her as a proven leader in athletics administration with a strong commitment to academic success as well as athletic excellence, and a strong commitment to the well-being of student athletes.”

Former New Jersey Gov. and current State Sen. Dick Codey, who said former AD Tim Pernetti was made a scapegoat, blasted Hermann and Barchi.

“[Pernetti's] successor is someone who is an obvious liar, a flat-out liar,” Codey told The Associated Press. “She shouldn’t be the AD anywhere, whether it’s Rutgers or anywhere else. She should stay in Louisville and not come back to the state, and Barchi should go to Louisville himself because he is not a leader. It’s dumb and dumber.”

‘™¦ Reds manager Dusty Baker offered his opinion about a weekend feud between pitcher Johnny Cueto and Cubs pitcher Matt Garza by telling reporters Monday that he’d like to see the players fight it out.

“Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with,” Baker said. “I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that.”

Garza was angry after Cueto threw a pitch over David DeJesus‘ head during Sunday’s game.

Said Garza after the game: “If he wants to say something to me, he knows where my locker is. If he’s got a problem, he can throw at me, and I’ll do the same. Hopefully, he grows … up. I hope he hears this. I really don’t care. I don’t know if there’s anything between him and [DeJesus], but I’ll stop it. I don’t think you intentionally try to injure somebody. I hope the league looks at it. I don’t want him suspended or anything. I hope his players talk to him and show him the way it is.”

Baker said Garza might have been less confrontational had he not allowed four runs in four innings (although the Cubs went on to win in 10 innings, 5-4).

“Would he have been as upset if he got the win instead of potentially getting the loss?” Baker questioned. “If you’ve got something to say, you go over and tell them. Johnny ain’t running. That guy can say what he wants to say, but he can say it to his face.”

‘™¦ Vikings running back Adrian Peterson raised a few eyebrows with his comments about gay marriage in a recent interview. Gay marriage becomes legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1.

“To each his own, [but] I’m not with it,” Peterson said on Sirius/XM NFL Radio. “I have relatives who are gay. I’m not biased towards them. I still treat them the same. I love ‘em. But again, I’m not with that. That’s not something I believe in. But to each his own.”

The topic came up when Peterson was asked about punter Chris Kluwe, an advocate for gay rights. Kluwe recently was cut by the Vikings and signed with the Raiders.

Peterson said he was “hurt” by the departure of Kluwe, saying the punter was a good friend, but he denied that politics played a role in the team’s decision.

“I’m sure the Vikings organization didn’t release him based on that,” Peterson said. “They know Kluwe. They’ve been knowing him for a long time. They know he’s outspoken.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 28, 2000, in a memorable matchup at Yankee Stadium, Pedro Martinez outdueled Roger Clemens and led the Red Sox to a 2-0 victory over the Yankees. Which Red Sox player hit a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the ninth inning for the game’s only runs?

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Dusty Baker, Johnny Cueto, Julie Hermann
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has surgery to repair sports hernia 02.08.13 at 10:15 am ET
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Adrian Peterson was playing through a painful sports hernia in his abdomen when he ran away with the NFL MVP award this past season, the Vikings revealed Thursday.

Peterson had surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday to repair the hernia, a tear in the abdominal muscles that can cause severe pain in the pelvic and groin area and often holds athletes out of the lineup. He had mentioned playing through abdominal pain, but the nature and severity of the injury hadn’t been disclosed.

Meanwhile, Peterson ran for more than 200 yards twice in the last five weeks of the season, finishing the year with a total of 2,097 yards rushing. He was also the league’s offensive player of the year, with 12 touchdowns and an average of 6.0 yards per carry, and he finished eight yards short of the single-season rushing record.

“We expect a speedy recovery with no long-term concerns,” the Vikings said in a statement on their website.

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Vikings,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Saints LB Jonathan Vilma gets in dig at Jets while criticizing anonymous teammate 01.03.13 at 7:51 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.

College football: Fiesta Bowl, Oregon vs. Kansas State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Northeastern at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Stanford at USC, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)


‘™¦ An anonymous Saints player blasted first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in a New Orleans Times-Picayune story than ran Wednesday, and that did not sit well with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

“I’m bothered you reported it,” Vilma told the paper. “We’re not the Jets, who run to the media for everything.”

Under Spagnuolo, the Saints defense was ranked last in the NFL in total defense and allowed the most yards ever in one season (7,042). The unnamed player criticized Spagnuolo for his performance and his personality.

“He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap,” the player said. “[Spagnuolo has] no patience and zero personality. [He] has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. [I] think it’s even harder after having [former defensive coordinator] Gregg [Williams], who guys enjoyed.”

Meanwhile, Williams, who left his position with the Saints for the same job with the Rams a year ago but was suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal, will not return to St. Louis, according to a report from Fox Sports. Williams’ son, Blake, who was the Rams’ linebackers coach this past season, also reportedly will not be retained.

‘™¦ The Jets get criticized for talking to the media too much, and now they might get fined for not talking enough. With Rex Ryan reportedly vacationing in the Bahamas while owner Woody Johnson searches for a new general manager, the team has yet to hold a season-ending press conference. The Jets scheduled a conference for Tuesday, but the league mandates it must be held within a week after the final game.

Ryan received a public vote of confidence from Johnson in a team statement on Monday, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty regarding the rest of the coaching and front office staff.

“Everyone is in limbo,” a source told ESPN.

‘™¦ Adrian Peterson, who rushed for the second-most yards in a single NFL season (2.097), wants to contribute to the Vikings in another way. The running back acknowledged Wednesday that he’s been pushing for a chance to help on special teams.

“For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get in on field goal block,” Peterson said. “Come in off the edge, you know? It’s just going to take one block for them to really be like, ‘OK, you know what? Let’s take the chance and let you go out there and get it done. Kickoff return, I wouldn’t mind getting back there. I’m in it to win.”

Peterson, who returned 16 kickoffs as a rookie in 2007 (averaging 25.8 yards), isn’t likely to have his request approved by coach Leslie Frazier, especially after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking for an extra point earlier this season.

“He always asks,” special teams coach Mike Priefer said. “He’s a football player. Gunner, field goal block, returner. The guy is awesome. I always say yes, and then I ask the head coach and he says no. I know what the answer is going to be. I don’t even have to ask.”

Countered Peterson: “I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times. You never know what can happen.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 3, 1998, the Patriots lost to the Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 7-6. Which Patriots receiver set a team playoff record (since broken) with nine receptions for 104 yards?

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Gregg Williams, Jonathan Vilma, Rex Ryan
Top Stories of 2012, No. 3: Tom Brady puts together MVP-caliber season 12.31.12 at 7:44 am ET
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Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 3: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
No. 4: Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers

Only four players in NFL history have won at least three MVP awards. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who on Sunday wrapped up a terrific regular season, has a chance to join that group.

Brady threw for 4,827 yards and 34 touchdowns this season while only being intercepted eight times. He led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.

In a 42-14 victory over the Texans on Dec. 10, Brady was hearing “MVP” chants from the Gillette Stadium crowd, and in his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan the next day he acknowledged it.

“I heard it. I’m very flattered to even be considered for something like that,” Brady said. “Honestly, the most important thing for me is winning games and enjoying it with my teammates. Everything that I do is dependent on them, on the group of guys that I play with, and the successful years we’ve had with our team has been all about team football. That’s what our team has been built on, and that’s what our team is about.”

Other top candidates for MVP include Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Peterson led the NFL in rushing yards (2,096 — just nine short of the NFL single-season record) and led the Vikings to a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 2009. Manning, who already has four MVPs, returned from a year off to pass for 37 touchdowns and lead the Broncos to a 13-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Adrian Peterson, Bill Belichick, Eric Dickerson
Jets’ Darrelle Revis says he will return to ‘doing what I do best’ after ACL surgery 10.15.12 at 1:21 pm ET
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Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis made his first public comments since his Sept. 23 injury and said he was confident he would return as a dominant player after recovering from ACL surgery that is scheduled for Wednesday.

Revis was injured with four minutes left in the third quarter of the Jets’€™ 23-20 overtime win in Miami on Sept. 23. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Revis said “there’€™s no question that I [will] be back to where I was in the previous years of performing and doing what I do best.”

Added Revis: ‘€œIf everything goes right and I do everything right with this procedure and this process for the next four to six months, yeah. ‘€¦ I’€™m a confident player. I never had an injury like this. This is all new for me as well. But, yeah, I’€™m a hard worker. I know I’€™m going to work my butt off and get back to where I need to be.’€

Revis consulted with other NFL players who have returned from ACL injuries including Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and teammate Antonio Cromartie. Revis has been doing exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ACL already. His return timetable is six to nine months.

‘€œI just want to get back as fast as possible where I feel comfortable [to go] out there and play like I usually do,’€ Revis said. ‘€œI think that’€™s the biggest goal. If I don’€™t feel ready ‘€¦ time will tell. We really don’€™t know. As soon as I feel 100 percent, I’€™ll be ready to go whether that’€™s January, February, March ‘€¦ it doesn’€™t matter.’€

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Darrelle Revis, Jamaal Charles
Vikings defense instructed not to touch Adrian Peterson 08.15.12 at 12:07 pm ET
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The Vikings defense isn’t allowed to touch Adrian Peterson, who’s back at practice after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery over seven months ago.

“The rules are simple,” Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Do not touch 28. If you touch him, you’re cut.”

Last season Peterson appeared in all 16 regular-season games. He had 208 carries for 970 yards and 12 touchdowns. It was the first time in Peterson’s career in which he did not surpass 1,000 yards rushing in the season.

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Jamarca Sanford, Rumor Mill,
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson reportedly will return to action 08.12.12 at 9:22 am ET
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It’s been eight months since Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last was on the football field with the team, that drought may end soon.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Saturday that the Vikings are close to taking Peterson off the active/PUP list. According to Anderson, Minnesota will have Peterson participate in the team’s walkthrough on Sunday with full participation starting on Tuesday.

Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL on December 24 in a win over the Redskins ending his season just one game early.

“I’m ready to get hit. It might sound strange, but just to get that feel,” Peterson said.

It has been an interesting offseason for the 26-year-old as he was charged with a misdemeanor resisting arrest and has been able to push his court date back from September 27 to November 15. He was also hospitalized on July 30 after suffering an allergic reaction to food he ate.

Read More: Adrian Peterson, Rumor Mill,