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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Rex Ryan takes blame after Jets’ latest embarrassment 10.06.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Nationals at Giants, 5 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB playoffs: Dodgers at Cardinals, 9 p.m. (FS1)
NFL: Seahawks at Washington, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)

AROUND THE WEB:

— While the Patriots appear to have righted their ship with Sunday’s rout of the Bengals, things are only getting worse for the Jets. In New York’s 31-0 loss to the Chargers, Geno Smith was yanked in favor of Michael Vick, but neither quarterback could find the end zone.

Coach Rex Ryan attempted to deflect the blame after his team fell to 1-4.

“First off, I apologize to our fans — those that are left,” Ryan said. “This is on one person and that’s it. It’s certainly not on a quarterback and one individual that way. It’s on me. Clearly got outcoached. I thought we had a good plan going in and obviously that wasn’t the case.”

Added Ryan: “Even if we had Joe Namath, it wouldn’t have made a difference.”

MASHUP POLL: WIll Jets coach Rex Ryan last the season?

  • No, this team is being embarrassed and is desperate for a change (73%, 374 Votes)
  • Yes, he's earned enough respect to not get fired midseason (27%, 138 Votes)

Total Voters: 512

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Smith, who reportedly missed a team meeting Saturday night because he and a few teammates were at a movie and got confused by the three-hour time change between New York and San Diego, completed 4-of-12 passes for 27 yards and had a 7.6 passer rating when he was pulled at halftime for Vick (9-of-20 for 47 yards).

Smith acknowledged that it was “a pathetic show on my part. I didn’t help at any point during the game, so I’m going to look myself in the mirror.”

However, Ryan said he still plans to start Smith next Sunday when the Jets host the Broncos, despite the frustrating loss.

“I’ve never been in a spot like that,” Ryan said. “We’re scratching, we’re clawing, anything we can do, but it seems like — at this stage — like too great a challenge, but I know it’s not.”

— Multiple reports out of San Francisco indicate Jim Harbaugh will not return to the 49ers after this season, with the relationship between the fiery, opinionated coach and the front office getting worse.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer said Harbaugh’s style has “worn thin” with the organization, adding: “I don’t see any way Jim Harbaugh comes back next year as the head coach of the 49ers, even if they hoist the Lombardi [Trophy].”

Team owner Jed York attempted to downplay the rumors Sunday, tweeting: Jim is my coach. We’re trying to win a SB not a personality or popularity contest. Any more questions?

— Five days after his second arrest for DUI, Michael Phelps announced that he will enter a six-week program to help him “better understand myself.” Although he will not swim competitively at least through mid-November, Phelps did not indicate any desire to give up his comeback bid.

“The past few days have been extremely difficult,” Phelps said in a statement. “I recognize that this is not my first lapse in judgment, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I’m going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself.”

Added Phelps: “Swimming is a major part of my life, but right now I need to focus my attention on me as an individual, and do the necessary work to learn from this experience and make better decisions in the future.”

Phelps retired from swimming after the 2012 London Olympics with 18 gold medals. He is bidding to compete in the 2016 Rio Games and appeared on track to get back to form.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 6, 1906, which Red Sox player homered in his final at-bat, as he committed suicide before the following season, shortly after he was named manager?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tonight was just kind of our night. A lot of things went in our favor. We made a few things happen and that was good. We just have to really give all the credit to the players for the way they played. They’€™€™re resilient, they’€™€™re tough and they worked hard this week and they played hard tonight. I’€™€™m proud of them for that.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, after Sunday’s 43-17 victory over the Bengals

STAT OF THE DAY: 6 – Quarterbacks in NFL history with 50,000 passing yards, as Tom Brady became the latest during Sunday’s victory over the Bengals

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): During the Royals’ series-clinching victory over the Angels, Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain makes two impressive catches in the fifth inning.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Chick Stahl

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Kevin Cronin, lead singer of REO Speedwagon, was born on this day in 1951.

Read More: Geno Smith, Jim Harbaugh, Michael Phelps, michael vick
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees manager Joe Girardi expects Alex Rodriguez to be his third baseman next year 09.30.14 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Athletics at Royals, 8 p.m. (TBS)
NHL preseason: Islanders at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL preseason: Rangers at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
Basketball: FIBA World Championship for Women, United States vs. Angola, 2:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Roma at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Derek Jeter is gone, and Alex Rodriguez is coming back. And manager Joe Girardi said he’s planning to insert A-Rod at third base assuming he proves he’s ready.

The oft-injured Rodriguez, who will turn 40 next July, was suspended for all of 2013 for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

“We’ve got to see where he’s physically at, and if he can play the field, how many days he can play the field and how many days he needs to DH,” Girardi said at a news conference Monday. “I don’t think really any of us know about him until we actually get him into games in spring training.”

Added Girardi: “He hasn’t played in a year. That’s not easy to do, to sit out a year. Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness I think you have to see where he’s at.”

MASHUP POLL: Will Alex Rodriguez return to the Yankees lineup in 2015?

  • Yes, they're paying him, so they'll play him (69%, 228 Votes)
  • No, they'll either trade or cut him (31%, 103 Votes)

Total Voters: 331

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There were reports that some players were upset with Rodriguez when he initially fought his suspension. Girardi said he does not anticipate any issues in the locker room.

“Our teammates enjoy Alex, his presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game. So I don’t think that will be an issue,” Girardi said. “Will he have to deal from some angry fans? Yeah, but we’ll help him get through that. When was the last time Alex hasn’t had to deal with that? So it’s not like it’s something that he’s not used to, and sometimes players thrive on that.”

— According to an ESPN report, a neutral arbitrator will rule on the NFL Players Association’s appeal of Ray Rice‘s indefinite suspension, rather than someone appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell.

“For the first time ever, the league in the Rice appeal has agreed to a neutral arbitrator” in a personal conduct disciplinary case, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in an email to the union’s executive board that ESPN obtained.

Wrote Smith: “This occurs in the context of a difficult set of facts and circumstances [but] it is a positive movement on the overall question of neutral arbitration and a fair personal conduct discipline process.”

The appeal was filed Sept. 16, and the league said at that time that Goodell did not intend to arbitrate the matter.

Smith also told his board that the NFLPA is reaching out to league sponsors to let them know the majority of players represent the league positively, and “that we will address the process issues that have caused them concern.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t mince words Monday when discussing a report from NFL Network’s Deion Sanders that his players don’t want to play for him anymore.

“Personally, I think that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh said.

Earlier in the season, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer said the locker room was “toxic.”

“I haven’t seen Trent or Deion around much,” Harbaugh said. “If someone has a good story to tell, they want to put their name to it. If I had a good story to tell, I’d want to put my name to it, so I don’t put a lot of credibility to the unnamed source.”

During Sunday’s “NFL GameDay Final,” Sanders said: “They want him out. They’re not on the same page. I really want to know if they’re really playing for the head coach. I got a question with that. Are you really down with your head coach, San Francisco 49ers? Because they way it looks and what I’m hearing, you’re really not down for your head coach. And that’s a problem.

“They really got some problems that we hear rumblings. We all know people inside locker rooms.”

Harbaugh, whose 49ers are 2-2 after Sunday’s 26-21 win over the Eagles, is signed through the 2015 season.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 30, 1962, which Red Sox player wrapped up the season with a .326 average to capture his second American League batting title?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s a lot of negativity. Everyone is going to tell us how terrible we are. That’s just the NFL.” – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, after Monday’s 41-14 rout at the hands of the Chiefs

STAT OF THE DAY: 303 – Yards of offense in the first half by the Chiefs, the most allowed by any Bill Belichick-coached team

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): A Missouri middle school football team pulls off a trick play it calls the “Ugly Kardashian.”

TRIVIA ANSWER: Pete Runnels

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Marilyn McCoo was born on this day in 1943.

Read More: alex rodriguez, deion sanders, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Girardi
Roger Goodell continues to deny seeing Ray Rice videotape 09.10.14 at 9:55 am ET
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The sports world is still reacting to the shocking Ray Rice video and the player’s subsequent release from the Ravens.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claimed in a CBS interview Tuesday he had not seen the video of Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer inside an elevator in Atlantic City. Goodell and the league had only suspended Rice for two games before the second video was released.

“We had not seen any video tape of what occurred in the elevator,” Goodell said in the interview. “We assumed that there was a video, we asked for the video, we asked for anything that was pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity.” 

The Ravens and coach Jim Harbaugh initially supported Rice after the incident occurred in February. In July, Harbaugh said he would “stand behind” Rice and was “proud” of how the running back handled the situation. After the TMZ video was released this week, though, Harbaugh said his feelings on the matter were swayed in the other direction.

“[The video] is something we saw for the first time today. All of us,” Harbaugh said. “It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”

Jets backup quarterback Mike Vick, who spent more than a year in jail for organizing a dog-fighting ring, said Rice’s actions have no place in the game.

“It’€™s very sensitive,” Vick said. “I think we all got to realize as professional athletes that we are professionals. And we have to be able to maintain our poise in all situations, on and off the field. There’€™s just no room for that.”

While most have disapproved of Rice’s actions, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. said he thinks the NFL overreacted. Mayweather, who previously pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges and spent two months in jail in 2012, said there are other things people do that aren’t seen by the cameras.

“I think there’s a lot worse things that go on in other people’s households, also,” Mayweather said. “It’s just not caught on video, if that’s safe to say.”

Read More: Floyd Mayweather, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Vick, Ray Rice
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jonathan Martin ‘beyond blessed’ to be traded from Dolphins to 49ers 03.12.14 at 8:02 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:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Heat, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College vs. Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: American at Boston University, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Virginia Tech vs. Miami, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Florida vs. Rutgers, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Butler vs. Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: UCF vs. Temple, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: DePaul vs. Georgetown, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Brewers at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Mariners, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Barcelona, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Martin has a new home, and it’s a familiar one.

The Dolphins traded the offensive lineman to the 49ers, where he will be reunited with Jim Harbaugh, who coached him at nearby Stanford and called him a “personal friend” following last year’s bullying scandal in Miami. San Francisco will send an undisclosed draft pick to the Dolphins.

Martin, who has been taking classes at Stanford, expressed his excitement on Twitter, writing: Big news…. Beyond Blessed.

And: Opportunities are few in the NFL… Can’t wait to get to work #9erEmpire

 

 

Added his agent, Ken Zuckerman, in an interview with The Associated Press: “This is great for him to get back on the field, and he’s in Palo Alto right now. It couldn’t be much better. I just think everyone wanted this to happen. Harbaugh knows Jonathan, I think the Dolphins were compensated and Jonathan wants to get back on the field. It’s a good day.”

Martin, 24, has two years remaining on his contract, which pays him a base salary of $824,933 this year.

Steve Williams, the former longtime caddie for Tiger Woods, has been quiet lately, but he said in a recent interview that there still are some hard feelings since the two split in 2011.

“There’s been a lot of ‘€¦ this, that and the other … but the hatchet hasn’t been buried,” said Williams, who now caddies for Adam Scott. “It’s just personal things and a difference of opinions on how things went down … and I need to sort that out with him.”

Williams was Woods’ caddie when the golf star was caught up in an infidelity scandal in 2009, but he claimed to be unaware of what Woods was doing.

“So many people feel I must have known something, but I didn’t know,” he said. “If I’d known something, I would have said [so]. I don’t sugarcoat anything.”

— A high school wrestling match in Minnesota ended with an impressive display of sportsmanship when Blaine sophomore Malik Stewart was pinned by St. Michael Albertville sophomore Mitchell McKee in the state championship 120-pound match but then went over to McKee’s father, who is dying of cancer, and congratulated him.

“[McKee] won,” Stewart told KARE-TV. “He was pretty proud, and his dad was pretty proud. So I went over there and I shook his hand, embraced it a little bit, and told him to stay strong and everybody loves him.”

Added Stewart, whose father died of a heart attack when Stewart was 7 years old: “I got a little teary because I lost the match, and I knew the hard times he was going through. The crowd went wild and I heard a couple of people say after I did it, ‘ That was pretty classy,’ but I just did it straight from the heart.”

Said McKee of Stewart: “It was a big match for him, and to be able to hug my dad like that and not be mad and storm off like a lot of kids do — really respectful.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 12, 1985, Larry Bird scored a team-record 60 points in a 126-11 victory over the Hawks in New Orleans. Whose record did he break?

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Read More: Jim Harbaugh, Jonathan Martin, Steve Williams, Tiger Woods
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jim Harbaugh plays down reports of rift with 49ers 03.05.14 at 7:57 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: Warriors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Mavericks at Nuggets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hawks at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Rutgers at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Duke at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Nebraska at Indiana, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Louisville at SMU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Louis, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Colorado at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Arizona at Oregon State, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Utah at California, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at UNLV, 11:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Capitals at Flyers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (FS1)
MLB preseason: Braves at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Reds, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: United States vs. Ukraine, 1:50 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Italy vs. Spain, 3:55 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Mexico vs. Nigeria, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNews)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jim Harbaugh has been the subject of rumors and reports that he wants out of San Francisco and/or that the team is tiring of his surly behavior. The 49ers coach played down the situation Tuesday, dismissing a suggestion that he wants to leave the team before his contract expires in two years.

“No,” he told Sports Illustrated. “Zero opportunity or chance of that in my mind.”

Added Harbaugh: “I see all these reports about how I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. They presume I covet some kind of extension. I have never said to anybody that I want to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never said that to anybody — my wife, my brother, my dad. I make plenty of money.

“The other one is that I want more power. I have never said that, nor do I want any more power than I have. I coach the team. I’ve told my owner I don’t want any more power. I want to coach the team. And I’ve never told anybody else otherwise.”

There have been reports that Harbaugh is at odds with general manager Trent Baalke and that the team eventually will need to choose between the two.

“We’re both demanding and we want to be accountable for ourselves, for each other,” Harbaugh said. “If you haven’t had a brother, you probably don’t understand the relationship between the GM and the head coach. We’re partners on the same team. I have great respect for him. He works extremely hard at it and is very good at it. We are all part of a team. I believe in the structure we have. I don’t want to change anything that we do in that regard.”

As for the Browns trying to acquire him in a trade, Harbaugh indicated that was not of his doing, nor did he have any intention of going along with it.

“There was never any opportunity to leave the San Francisco 49ers,” he said. “If that existed, it existed in somebody else’s mind, not mine. I am too fond of my team, the players, the coaches. I really feel like we have one of the best, if not the best organizations in football.”

Mike McQueary, who brought the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal to light after witnessing the former Penn State assistant coach molesting a boy, revealed to some Nittany Lions players that he was sexually abused as a child, according to a story in ESPN The Magazine.

McQueary, then a Penn State assistant, allegedly told the team’s receivers in a positional meeting about his history of abuse, explaining that he could relate to the boy who was abused by Sandusky. The meeting was held Nov. 9, 2011, one day after prosecutors revealed that McQueary had witnessed the incident a decade earlier.

McQueary refused comment about the matter and only told the magazine that he still has respect for longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was forced out after the scandal broke and died shortly thereafter.

“I love that man more than you can ever possibly say,” McQueary said. “He’s an unbelievable man. He did unbelievable things. He handled this thing in the best way he could. Was it foolproof or perfect? No. But I didn’t handle this in a foolproof or perfect way either. I am loyal to him to this day. I absolutely love him.”

The story also indicates that McQueary, who filed a $4 million whistleblower lawsuit against the school after his contract was not renewed in the summer of 2012, had a gambling problem and at least once bet on Penn State to cover an eight-point spread against Michigan State in a 1996 game when he was a backup quarterback.

Ian Kinsler, who was traded from the Rangers to the Tigers this offseason, turned some heads with his comments in an ESPN The Magazine story in which he called Rangers general manager Jon Daniels a “sleazeball” and said he hoped Texas went 0-162 this year.

On Tuesday, Kinsler backtracked from the comments and put some blame on the writer.

“I’m not happy about it. I think that the story was written for drama, and taken a little out of context,” he said. “I understand there were some things directed at the GM, but as far as my teammates and the fans, there’s nothing negative to say about that, and I think the quotes taken about the general manager were taken a little out of context.”

As for the 0-162 comment, Kinsler said: “That’s a matter of telling a joke.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 5, 2002, Joe Kerrigan was fired as Red Sox manager by the new ownership group. Who was named interim manager until Grady Little was hired six days later?

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Read More: Ian Kinsler, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary
NFL roundup: Anquan Boldin re-signs with 49ers, defends coach Jim Harbaugh 03.04.14 at 10:19 am ET
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Wide receiver Anquan Boldin will return to the 49ers, the veteran announced via his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

San Francisco also announced Monday that the two sides agreed to a two-year deal, but the team did not disclose the terms of the contract. According to ESPN NFL insider ED Werder, sources believe Boldin agreed to a deal worth $12 million that includes a guaranteed $9 million.

“We are pleased that Anquan has chosen to continue his career as a 49er,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a team statement. “He is a consummate professional whose love and respect for the game provide a tremendous example for all players.

“Anquan has been a very productive player throughout his career, and we look forward to his future contributions to our team and community.”

Last season, the 33-year-old wide receiver had 85 catches for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns.

During a press conference following the announcement of the deal, Boldin also came out in defense of his coach Jim Harbaugh. A recent report by the San Francisco Chronicle stated that a rift existed in the 49ers locker room because of the coach.

“I don’€™t think there’€™s any rift between players and coaches, particularly coach Harbaugh,” Boldin said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “He has good rapport with all the guys I know of. There’€™s no gripes in the locker room when it comes to coach Harbaugh. He wants to win and everybody in the locker room wants to do the same. We’€™re usually on the same page and if not, we have it where we can talk to him and he can talk to us.”

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Read More: Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard, Brent Grimes, Donald Butler
Browns confirm they attempted to trade for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh 02.24.14 at 10:16 am ET
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On Sunday, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam confirmed a report from earlier in the weekend that his team attempted to trade for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

“There was an opportunity there, and it didn’t materialize,” Haslam said of the deal that would include the 49ers receiving a draft pick, according to USA Today.

San Francisco and its coach, though, had already said that the report was false.

49ers CEO Jed York denied the potential move via the following tweet on Friday.

Early Saturday, Harbuagh followed up with a similar message, telling CSN Bay Area, “For the record, I echo Jed York’€™s comment — ‘€˜isn’€™t true.’€™ I know nothing about a trade with the Cleveland Browns and us involving me.”

Some of the speculation comes from a season-ending press conference that Harbaugh conducted on Jan. 21 when he said he had conversations with the Browns regarding his coaches. At the time it was assumed those talks had to do with his assistants.

While the 49ers have denied the report, CBSSports.com said Sunday evening that the relationship between Harbaugh and San Francisco’€™s front office has progressively gotten worse.

According to CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora, sources say Harbaugh, who has two seasons left on a five-year, $25 million contract, and general manager Trent Baalke are hardly speaking, and there is some suggestion that the team will eventually need to decide between the two.

Despite the apparent issues with members of the front office, Harbaugh and York have shown interest in Harbaugh penning a long-term contract with the team. After unsuccessful talks about an extension last season, the two sides are expected to return to negotiations this offseason.

Read More: Jim Harbaugh,
Richard Sherman: ‘No love lost’ between Seahawks, 49ers 01.16.14 at 9:57 am ET
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When the clock runs out Sunday during the NFC championship at Seattle’€™s CenturyLink Field, don’€™t expect the Seahawks and the 49ers to congratulate each other on a well-fought game.

“There’€™s no love lost and there’€™s no love found,” said Seattle’€™s’€™ Richard Sherman, according to ESPN. “I don’€™t know if there’€™s going to be handshakes after this one. It’€™s going to be intense and it’€™s going to be physical.”

Over the course of the season, the NFC West rivals split the two games they played against each other, with each team winning on its home turf.

Sherman spoke openly about the intensity of the team’€™s rivalry, saying he did not hate the 49ers.

“There’€™ll be dislike, strong dislike,” Sherman said. “It’€™s playoff football, so there’€™ll be a lot of intensity, anyway, even if we weren’t two teams very familiar with each other. But there’€™s going to be a lot of chippiness in a hard-fought game.

“The two best teams in the NFC are the ones that are here.”

The outspoken cornerback also went on to compare the coaches for both teams. According to Sherman, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has a more relaxed style and allows players to be themselves during practice.

“If you’€™re a loose guy who dances at practice, like me, he lets you be that guy,” Sherman said. “It’€™s all some of us have ever known in the NFL. He makes the game a lot more fun.”

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Read More: Jim Harbaugh, K.J. Wright, Percy Harvin, Pete Carroll
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Phil Kessel in middle of Maple Leafs-Sabres brawl 09.23.13 at 8:14 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:
NFL: Raiders at Broncos, 8:25 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL preseason: Capitals at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN, NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Coyotes at Canucks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
WNBA playoffs: Phoenix at Los Angeles. 10 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Someone forgot to the tell the Maple Leafs and Sabres that the regular season has not yet started. The teams engaged in an all-out brawl Sunday, and the man in the middle of it all was Phil Kessel.

Sabres behemoth John Scott attempted to engage Kessel to avenge a mismatch moments earlier, but the Leafs forward would have none of it, instead whacking Scott in the leg with his stick twice — including once from behind while Scott was locked up with another Toronto player. Kessel later poked Scott with his stick while the 6-foot-8 defenseman was being restrained.

Kessel received a match penalty for swinging his stick — and awaits further punishment from the league — but the former Bruin was quick to place the blame on Buffalo afterward.

“It was pretty stupid, right? He said he was going to jump me,” said Kessel, who is eight inches shorter than Scott. “What are you going to do? He’s a big boy, so if he’s coming after me, what are you going to do?”

The Sabres were unhappy that moments before, Toronto’s Jamie Devan, who stands 6-foot-5, fought Buffalo 6-footer Corey Tropp, who let the ice bleeding — although the Leafs contended that Tropp instigated that fight.

“That guy’s a big guy, 6-foot-5,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said of Devan. “And [Tropp's] a smaller guy, but certainly a battler. So guys weren’t happy about it.”

The brawl was capped by a goalie fight between Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.

“I just asked him if he wanted to go, and obviously I don’t think he seemed that he actually wanted to go, but that’s the way it goes,” Bernier said. “It’s a hockey game, but you get hyper in energy and I wanted to defend my teammates.”

‘€¢ A couple of NFC powerhouses apparently are having some in-house issues after facing adversity early in the season.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy argued on the sideline during Sunday’s 34-30 loss to the Bengals, and the QB acknowledged after the game the discussion was about play-calling.

“We’re both passionate about the game and competitive,” Rodgers said. “We want to win very badly and, you know, I went over and talked to him after that. Just got on the same page. Needed to talk; we did, and we moved on.”

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where the top story was the leave of absence for All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith — who was arrested Friday morning for suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession but played Sunday — running back Frank Gore reportedly had some choice words for coach Jim Harbaugh during a 27-7 loss to the visiting Colts that left the Niners at 1-2 — the first time the 49ers have been under .500 during Harbaugh’s tenure.

Gore had 11 rushes for 82 yards along with two catches for 21 yards, leading to questions as to why he only touched the ball 13 times. He offered no answers after the game, saying: “I’ve got to watch the film.”

The Niners have been outscored 56-10 in their last two games.

“We felt flat,” cornerback Tarell Brown said. “We felt flat and looked flat.”

‘€¢ Jeannie Buss, daughter of the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, wrote in her updated memoir, “Laker Girl,” that she was “stunned” when her brother, Jim Buss, decided to hire Mike D’Antoni as coach after reaching out to Jeannie’s fiancé, Phil Jackson.

Although she claims she wants her brother “to realize that I’m not the enemy,” Jeannie takes him to task for getting Jackson excited about returning to the organization only to let him down.

Wrote Buss: The sequence of events — Phil almost coming back and then being told someone else was better for the job — practically destroyed me. It almost took away my passion for this job and this game. It felt like I had been stabbed in the back. It was a betrayal. I was devastated.

I felt that I got played. Why did they have to do that? Why did Jim pull Phil back into the mix if he wasn’t sincere about it?

Phil wasn’t looking for the job, and then he wasted 36 hours of his life preparing for it when they were never in a million years going to hire him anyway.

How do you do that to your sister? How do you do that to Phil Jackson?

I hope the flirtation with Phil wasn’t just a PR stunt. I still can’t get my head around the whole story.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 23, 1969, Dick Williams was dismissed as Red Sox manager. Who replaced him for the remainder of the season?

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Frank Gore, Jeannie Buss, Jim Harbaugh
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees, Orioles managers have angry confrontation 09.10.13 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: World Cup qualifier, Mexico at United States, 7:40 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who famously went on a hypocritical, holier-than-thou rant against Ryan Dempster after the Red Sox pitcher hit Alex Rodriguez with a pitch last month, continued his crusade against the American League East on Monday, sparking a confrontation with Orioles manager Buck Showalter during the teams’ game in Baltimore.

In the first inning, Girardi walked to the end of his dugout and started yelling at O’s third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, accusing him of stealing signs. That didn’t sit well with Showalter, who stormed out of his dugout after the frame, angrily yelling and gesturing at his counterpart. Girardi left his dugout as well, as did the players, before the umpires interceded and issued warnings to both teams.

“He was yelling at the third-base coach,” Showalter said. “Somebody’s wearing black and orange, I’m not going to let that happen.”

Girardi would only say: “It was something that I saw. I’m going to leave it at that.”

Showalter and Dickerson strongly denied any sign-stealing. Dickerson said Girardi yelled at him, “I know what you’re doing.”

“I’m a grown man. I don’t see why he was yelling at me,” Dickerson said. “I just said, ‘You don’t know anything. You don’t even know me to be yelling at me.’ I’m just trying to do my job over there and nobody’s going to yell at me for nothing.”

The O’s won the game, 4-2, putting another dent in New York’s chances to earn a postseason berth. The Yankees trail the Rays by three games for the second wild card, with the Orioles and Indians in their way as well.

‘€¢ Talk after the 49ers’ 34-28 victory over the Packers on Sunday centered on Clay Matthews‘ late hit on Colin Kaepernick and the way the officials handled it.

After Matthews dove and collided with Kaepernick out of bounds on a run in the second quarter, San Francisco lineman Joe Staley got in Matthews’ face and the two had an angry exchange, with Matthews appearing to be more aggressive, punching and smacking Staley. The officials gave Staley an unsportsmanlike penalty that matched the one on Matthews for the hit, and they negated the play entirely.

The NFL on Monday announced that it was handled incorrectly, that Staley should not have been penalized and the run should have stood.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh, meanwhile, voiced his disappointment with Matthews, who had said before the game that Green Bay would target the scrambling Kaepernick.

“Like I said last week, usually a man will tell you his bad intentions if you just listen,” Harbaugh said. “That certainly was a cheap shot, launching, clotheslining to the neck-head area. Bad play.”

Harbaugh also took a shot at Matthews for slapping Staley.

“If you’re going to go to the face, come with knuckles, not an open slap,” the coach said. “I think if that young man works very hard on being a tough guy, he’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap.”

Responded Packers coach Mike McCarthy: “Clay Matthews is not a dirty player, by no means. I addressed Harbaugh’s comments in the team meeting, and as always, we’ll stay above it.”

‘€¢ The U.S. men’s national soccer team plays Mexico on Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio, in a World Cup qualifying match, and U.S. defender Matt Besler will miss the match after receiving a controversial yellow card in Friday’s loss to Costa Rica.

Costa Rican winger Joel Campbell walked behind Besler, bumped into him and flopped to the ground, claiming to be injured. Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez, who was not near the play as the ball was up the field, jogged over and gave Besler a yellow card after communicating with his linesman. Because it’s Besler’s second yellow in World Cup qualifying play, he has to sit out a game.

Tweeted Besler: It’s difficult putting into words the feeling, but watching the video confirms what I already knew. ‘€¦ I’m extremely disappointed this is the reason I won’t get a chance to represent my country in another Mexico match, with a chance to qualify.

The United States sits in second place in the final CONCACAF qualifying round, one point behind Costa Rica. The top three teams earn automatic berths in the World Cup, while the fourth-place finisher faces New Zealand for another spot.

The incident can be seen at the 5:40 mark.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 10, 1999, Pedro Martinez pitched perhaps his best game ever — a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts and no walks at Yankee Stadium, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory. Which Yankee had the lone hit, a home run in the second inning?

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Read More: Buck Showalter, Clay Matthews, Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh