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Steelers unsure of what James Harrison can offer after LB comes out of retirement 09.24.14 at 9:13 am ET
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Ten-year linebacker James Harrison has come out of retirement to help a depleted Steelers defensive corps.

The Steelers began the 2014 season with Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier manning the linebacker position. But injuries have forced the Steelers to get creative, which meant coaxing Harrison back to the field. Jones suffered a broken wrist last week against the Panthers and will miss at least eight weeks. Shazier will sit out at least one game with a sprained right knee.

Coach Mike Tomlin said is unsure of Harrison’€™s role with the team right now, despite the little depth the team has.

“We need to see what he is capable of doing before we etch out any roles for him or others,” Tomlin said.

Harrison had a strong nine-year career with the Steelers, averaging at least nine sacks per season from 2008-2011. After recording 67 tackles and 16 sacks in 2008, the linebacker was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

But last year, Harrison joined the Bengals after he refused to take a pay cut with the Steelers. He recorded two sacks and 16 total tackles in a limited role. Tomlin said he isn’t concerned about how Harrison played with the Bengals and wants to see what the linebacker can bring to the table in 2014 with Pittsburgh.

“I don’€™t care about what he did in Cincinnati or what their schematics are,” Tomlin said. “€œI’€™ll base my judgments based off of his capabilities based on what I see back in this setting among us.”

Read More: James Harrison,
NFL roundup: Titans, Wesley Woodyard agree to 4-year deal 03.14.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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Just two days after he visited with the Patriots, Wesley Woodyard agreed to a reported four-year deal with the Titans. According to ESPN.com, the contract is worth $16 million.

“Wesley is a player who has experience playing both 3-4 and 4-3 systems and in our new scheme he fits as one of those inside linebackers,” said Titans general manager Ruston Webster. “He is smart and fast. He also brings the leadership qualities and intangible that we look for in a player, which makes him a good fit for us.”

The former Broncos linebacker has served as a captain either on special teams or defense since his rookie season with the Broncos in 2008. He moved to the middle linebacker spot in 2013 after Stewart Bradley suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason game against Seattle.

— The Lions have re-signed tight end Brandon Pettigrew to a four-year deal, Detroit announced Friday. Pettigrew will reportedly make $16 million, $8 million of which is guaranteed.

Over the course of five seasons with Detroit, the 28-year-old Pettigrew has caught 284 passes for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns in 71 games. At the same time, Pettigrew has had six fumbles and 34 drops.

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Read More: Brandon Pettigrew, James Harrison, Jason Hatcher, Justin Tuck
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mets manager Terry Collins says, ‘I don’t answer to fans’ 05.15.13 at 8:04 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: Red Sox at Rays, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Twins, 1 p.m. (WGN)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The struggling Mets have lost four straight games, but the bigger news out of New York on Tuesday was manager Terry Collinsswipe at the fans in an attempt to defend his handling of controversial outfielder Jordany Valdespin.

Valdespin irked the Pirates on Friday when he flipped his bat in celebration after hitting a meaningless home run in a 7-3 loss. On Saturday, Valdespin was sent up as a pinch-hitter and was drilled by Pittsburgh pitcher Bryan Morris. Valdespin went to first base without incident, but when he eventually returned to the dugout he slammed down his helmet. The Mets did not retaliate.

Media members and some fans on Twitter questioned whether the team put Valdespin in a bad situation. Collins would have none of it.

“I don’t answer to fans. They don’t play this game,” Collins said Tuesday. “They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there.”

Added Collins: “I don’€™t care what the perception is. All I know is what goes on here. I’€™ve been doing this for 42 years. I don’€™t care what anybody on the outside thinks. I know how to get it done in the clubhouse. I’€™ve been doing it a lot longer than a lot of people. He’€™s fine. He handled it great, I thought, the way he went about it. He went to first base. He didn’€™t throw his bat any place. ‘€¦ He did it the right way. And now it’€™s over. Now we move on.”

Collins said if Valdespin had been hit a second time Saturday, the Mets “would have answered.” He also acknowledged that Valdespin’s antics can rub people the wrong way.

“[Valdespin] is an energetic guy, he plays with flair, he’€™s going to [tick] people off once in a while,” Collins said. “The issue is we have to be careful he doesn’€™t [tick] those guys [his teammates] off. That’€™s where he has to be careful what he says and how he handles himself, because everybody has tried to help.

“In the four years I’€™ve been around him, there’€™s been a number of people that have thrown their hands up, but you can’€™t ever give up on talent like that.”

‘™¦ Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison, in his introductory press conference Tuesday with the Bengals, revealed that he spends between $400,000 and $600,000 per year on “body work.”

“I’ve always been what everybody’d like to call — excuse my English — is ‘massage whore,’ ” Harrison said. “I can’t think of nothing else. They done called me it so long I’m starting to believe it.”

Added Harrison: “I have a hyperbaric chamber. I rent a hyperbaric chamber when I’€™m in Arizona. I have massages and I bring people in from New York, Arizona to where I’€™m at. There’€™s that cost. Like I said, I get body work almost every single day except Saturday and Sunday. I have a homeopathic doctor and I do a lot of homeopathic things.  It’€™s just a lot, supplements, so on and so forth.”

The 35-year-old said he feels as good as he has in a few years, although the Steelers apparently weren’t convinced, as they released him after a nine-year run.

‘™¦ A man who was trying to dribble a soccer ball 10,000 miles from Seattle to Brazil in time for the 2014 World Cup died Tuesday morning after being hit by a pickup truck in Oregon, two weeks after his trip began.

Richard Swanson, 42, was raising awareness for the One World Futbol Project, which donates soccer balls to people in developing countries. He was on Highway 101 South near the Oregon coastal town of Lincoln City when he was struck from behind around 10 a.m. by a driver who remained at the scene.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 15, 1990, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted four former stars: Elvin Hayes, Neil Johnston, Earl Monroe and which seven-time All-Star guard who ended his NBA career by playing one season with the Celtics in 1977-78?

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Read More: James Harrison, Jordany Valdespin, Richard Swanson, Terry Collins
NFL poll: 61 percent of players disapprove of commissioner Roger Goodell 01.28.13 at 10:10 am ET
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According to a poll of 300 NFL players conducted by USA Today between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, 61 percent of the players said they disapprove of the job done by commissioner Roger Goodell.

Most of the players’ displeasure centered around increased fines for dangerous hits on receivers and quarterbacks, as well as Goodell’s handling of the Saints’ bounty scandal.

The players were granted anonymity, although Steelers linebacker James Harrison didn’t need it.

“I think it’s obvious that I disapprove,” said the oft-fined Harrison. “I feel like what he’s doing is not totally for the safety of players. … A lot of stuff they’ve done, [such as] fining guys crazy amounts of money for helmet-to-helmet hits and all that and saying you’re doing this for the safety of players — but yet you want to add extra games to the regular season.

“In the true interest of player safety, I would have no issue with it. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about money. Who hired Roger Goodell?”

Responded league spokesman Greg Aiello: “Roger Goodell has tremendous respect for NFL players and always seeks their views on a wide range of issues. He values their input tremendously in working to make the game better. Roger broke into the league 30 years ago working closely with players, and he hasn’t changed that approach.”

Read More: James Harrison, NFL, Roger Goodell, Rumor Mill
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant tries to boost confidence of Alex Rodriguez 10.17.12 at 7:33 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 playoffs: Giants at Cardinals, 4 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
MLB playoffs: Yankees at Tigers, 8 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Jazz at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA finals: Fever at Lynx, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he got in touch with struggling Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez a couple of days ago, trying to boost the confidence of the third baseman who was batting .130 in this year’s playoffs before being benched for Tuesday night’s Game 3 of the ALCS against the Tigers.

“I just said to him, ‘You’re Alex Rodriguez. You’re A-Rod. You’re one of the best to ever do it,’ ” Bryant said after scoring 31 points in Tuesday’s preseason loss to the Jazz. “I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, ‘Hell with it,’ and just do your thing.

“Hopefully the next game they’ll kind of give him a chance, maybe put him back at third and let him respond to the pressure, which I think he’ll do.”

Bryant, who expressed his displeasure after A-Rod was removed for a pinch-hitter in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles, explained that he and A-Rod became friends after appearing in a commercial together a few years ago, and they bonded despite their dissimilar approaches.

“We’re different,” Bryant said. “But you’re talking about, he’s one of the best to ever play. I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he’s the best. … Where, I don’t.”

‘™¦ Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith announced that he will be selling his 13 Gold Gloves (which he won consecutively between 1980 and 1992), 11 of his All-Star Game rings and two World Series rings among more than 100 pieces of memorabilia he collected during his distinguished career with the Padres and Cardinals.

The Southern California auction house that is handling the sale indicated that Smith is selling “as part of his estate and family planning.” Bidding opens Nov. 14 and concludes Dec. 1.

“I am honored to share a portion of the memorabilia from my professional baseball career with fans and collectors,” Smith said in a statement. “My family and I have decided together which of my pieces to keep and which to share. I will forever cherish every experience associated with earning these awards that I shared with the Cardinal Nation and the baseball community. I hope those who are passionate about collecting and preserving such items will gain a similar measure of joy through their ownership.”

‘™¦ Controversial Steelers linebacker James Harrison, the first NFL player to use CRT padding in his helmet, said he has not had any concussion-like symptoms since using the technology.

“I haven’t seen any spots or had any blackouts,” said the hard-hitting Harrison, who estimated that he has had “double digit” occasions when concussion-like symptoms have occurred.

About 100 players have since started using the extra padding.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 17, 2004, the Red Sox began their comeback against the Yankees in the ALCS, winning Game 4 on David Ortiz‘ home run in the 12th inning. Which Yankees reliever — a former Sox hurler — surrendered Ortiz’ homer?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, James Harrison, kobe bryant, Ozzie Smith
Steelers’ James Harrison: Jonathan Vilma’s lawsuit is ‘win-win’ 05.25.12 at 3:46 pm ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison, notorious for his questionable hits as well as criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, said Wednesday that Jonathan Vilma‘s lawsuit can help the players even if the Saints linebacker loses.

“It is really a win-win, whether [Vilma] wins the case or if he loses it,” Harrison told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review following an OTA. “If he loses it, it shows that Goodell does have too much power, and if he wins it, it opens up the floodgates.”

Vilma’s lawsuit is another extension of the NFL’s bounty scandal, in which the Saints set up a system that encouraged and rewarded players for harming opponents. The lawsuit claims Goodell’s statements about Vilma were false and damaging to his reputation.

Harrison criticized the penalties handed down to Saints coach Sean Payton and Vilma, saying they were much harsher than the punishment given to the team as a whole.

“He only gave the team a half-million dollar fine and two second-round draft picks, and that’s a billion-dollar organization,” Harrison said. “But yet you take a whole year’s pay away from the guy that is below him and you take a whole year’s pay away from the head coach. But the actual team themselves, you slap them on the wrist.”

Harrison has been fined by the NFL on multiple occasions for dangerous hits. He was suspended in December for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

Read More: Colt McCoy, James Harrison, Jonathan Vilma, Roger Goodell
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Amar’e Stoudemire chides Knicks teammates 01.30.12 at 7:51 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:
NBA: Bulls at Wizards, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Thunder at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Missouri at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Knicks entered the season with high expectations. It started well, with a Christmas Day victory over the Celtics. However, New York has lost nine of its last 10 games to fall to 7-13, and now there is speculation that coach Mike D’Antoni is on the hot seat, although the front office isn’t talking — about anything.

Amar’e Stoudemire vented after Saturday’s loss to the Rockets, urging his teammates to make D’Antoni’s job easier.

“We have to prepare ourselves better as individuals,” Stoudemire said. “Coaches give the game plan. We have to be ready to execute the game plan. If we’€™re not ready to execute the game plan, we’€™re not helping our teammates.

‘€œWe have to learn to comprehend and learn from our mistakes, and right now we’€™re not doing that.”

Meanwhile, veteran point guard Baron Davis, acquired before the season, has been practicing with the team but has yet to appear in a game as he returns from a back injury. According to a New York Post report, some Knicks are surprised Davis did not make his debut during the team’s four-game road trip.

One player who has benefited from Davis’ absence is former Harvard standout Jeremy Lin, who played the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s game, finishing with nine points and six assists.

‘™¦ Steelers linebacker James Harrison is at it again. This is the guy who was offended by being invited to the White House after a Steelers Super Bowl victory, because, he said, the president didn’t invite the Steelers when they didn’t win. He took a similar approach to the NFL’s decision to allow players to tweet during Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

Tweeted Harrison before the game: Why u think the NFL “wants us” to tweet during the Pro Bowl but wont “let us” till 90 min AFTER a real game? I wont tweet during today’s game.

For the record, the NFL ban on tweeting is for 90 minutes before a game, not after.

‘™¦ Following the arrest of Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona on charges of identity fraud, the issue of Dominican players using different names and birthdates in an attempt to make themselves more attractive to major league teams has come to the forefront. The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation and quotes some major league executives who appear hopeful that the situation will improve, although not before a few more players are exposed for similar violations.

“These are like time bombs,” Yankees senior vice president for baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But people are absolutely getting the message. Major League Baseball, the consulate and the major league clubs are all committed to this, and it will get better.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 30, 1973, the Patriots had perhaps their best draft ever. Which three players did they select in Round 1?

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Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Fausto Carmona, James Harrison, Mike D'Antoni
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Giants show little respect for Jets in advance of game 12.22.11 at 8:00 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:
NFL: Texans at Colts, 8 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI)
College football: MAACO Bowl, Arizona State vs. Boise State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Florida State at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois vs. Missouri, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Long Beach State vs. Xavier, 11:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Jets and Giants play Saturday, and despite coach Tom Coughlin‘s request that his team not get caught up in a verbal back-and-forth with Rex Ryan and friends, the Giants can’t help themselves.

Ryan has been trying to claim that the Jets are taking over New York from the Giants.

Said Giants running back Brandon Jacobs: “They’re going to need a hell of a lot more than this game to make that happen.”

Added Giants offensive lineman Kareem McKenzie: “Chirp if you want. That’s up to the individual that wants to go ahead and talk. I don’t think it’ll have any outcome on the game itself. Unless [Ryan] is going to suit up, I don’t see any difference.”

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks, meanwhile, isn’t interested in being too respectful of Jets standout Darrelle Revis. Asked if Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL, Nicks said: “I mean, he’s a decent corner. He’s decent.”

Added Mario Manningham about all the Jets cornerbacks: “I ain’t about to them on a pedestal. They’re still cornerbacks like we faced all year.”

‘™¦ In the latest major poll, the Packers ranked far ahead of the Cowboys for favorite NFL team. Green Bay received 22 percent of the vote to Dallas’ 11 percent during a Public Policy Polling survey of 700 respondents nationwide taken last weekend. The Patriots ranked seventh at 6 percent.

“It’s nice to see these types of responses in surveys that show the broad appeal the Packers have nationally,” Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy said. “The success of the team certainly helps. We’ve felt for some time that if the Packers aren’t a fan’s favorite team, we’re the fan’s second favorite team. Football fans like the Packers’ story as well as our strong history and tradition.”

As for America’s favorite quarterback, Tim Tebow is leader at 15 percent, following by Eli Manning (14) and Peyton Manning (12). Tom Brady tied for fourth with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees at 10 percent.

‘™¦ James Harrison finally appears to understand why he was suspended for one game for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Now, however, Harrison wants to know why the Browns aren’t being punished for allowing McCoy to return to the game with a concussion.

“If he was hurt so bad I don’t know why they let him back in … two plays later,” Harrison said Wednesday, in his return to practice after his suspension. “Something should be done to them, I would think. I don’t know. I got a game, what should they get?”

The Browns’ failure to properly monitor McCoy led to the league’s decision to put a certified trainer in the press box at each game going forward.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On. Dec. 22, 1954, who retired as a player and was named coach of the Bruins?

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Read More: Brandon Jacobs, Colt McCoy, Hakeem Nicks, James Harrison
Steelers LB James Harrison’s appeal of suspension denied 12.16.11 at 11:16 am ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison will miss Monday night’s game against the 49ers after his appeal of his one-game suspension was denied by the league Friday.

Harrison, 33, was punished for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy that left the QB with a concussion. It was Harrison’s fifth flagrant hit on a quarterback. Harrison cannot practice with the team until Dec. 20.

Read More: James Harrison, Rumor Mill,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall predicts he will be ejected Monday night 10.14.11 at 7:37 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY FRIDAY:
No games scheduled

SATURDAY:
NHL: Bruins at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (NESN)
MLS: Crew at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

SUNDAY:
NFL: Cowboys at Patriots, 4:15 p.m. (Fox)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall said he hasn’t been playing with enough emotion this season, and he promised that will change Monday night against the Jets. In fact, Marshall predicted he’ll be so fired up that he will “get kicked out of the game in the second quarter” and “might do something to get fined $50,000.” Pressed to clarify, he insisted, “I’m not joking.” Marshall even offered specific examples of what he might do, including picking a fight with Jets linebacker Bart Scott or punting a football 15 rows into the crowd.

Marshall was diagnosed with a personality disorder in the offseason, and he claims that his attempt to keep his temper in check has hurt him as a football player. “I’ve been living in a bubble a little to control my emotions,” he said.

‘™¦ The Jets jettisoned one of their disgruntled receivers when they traded Derrick Mason to the Texans this week. However, Santonio Holmes remains in New York, and on Thursday he took aim at his offensive line for the second straight week.

‘€œI may be criticized again for saying it, but I think it starts up front,’€ Holmes said. ‘€œThe big guys know it. [If] they give Mark [Sanchez] enough time to sit in the pocket and complete passes, I think everything changes. The routes that are being run are short routes, ‘€˜Hey, let’€™s get the ball out of Mark’€™s hands quick. Let’€™s move the ball down the field and let’€™s go from there.’€™ But if you can’€™t protect the quarterback for four or five seconds, then there’€™s no point in dropping back seven yards to throw a football when he doesn’€™t have enough time. So, we pretty much have to roll with the way our offense is rolling right now.’€

‘™¦ Steelers linebacker James Harrison was voted by 287 of his peers as the NFL’s meanest player, with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis No. 2. Other names of significance in the Sports Illustrated poll: No. 3 Ndamukong Suh, No. 4 Richard Seymour, No. 8 Hines Ward and No. 15 Shawne Merriman. No Patriots made the list.

‘™¦ North Carolina and Michigan State will play basketball on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) in San Diego. On Thursday, the White House announced that Barack Obama will attend the game, called the Carrier Classic. The Carl Vinson is the same ship that carried the body of Osama bin Laden from Pakistan to its dumping point in the Arabian Sea in May.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 14, 1975, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the World Series to the Reds, 6-5, in 10 innings. The game is remembered in Boston for a controversial play in the 10th in which which Sox catcher Carlton Fisk made contact with which Reds player who had dropped a bunt in an effort to move the eventual winning run to second base?

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Read More: Barack Obama, Brandon Marshall, James Harrison, Santonio Holmes