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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers coach Doc Rivers bemoans ‘bum’s luck’ after injuries KO Blake Griffin, Chris Paul 04.27.16 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Giants, 3:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Hornets at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Lightning, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Timbers at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Club Atletico de Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— A bad week got worse for the Clippers on Tuesday, as Blake Griffin was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his partially torn left quadriceps tendon, and Chris Paul underwent surgery on his broken hand that will sideline him indefinitely.

Both players were injured in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Trail Blazers that left the first-round series tied heading into Wednesday’s Game 5. One day after it appeared things might finally be lining up for a long playoff run after three years of disappointing finishes, the team appears headed for another frustrating ending.

“It’s bum’s luck three years in a row,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “What can you do? All you can do is you’ve just got to keep going.”

It seemed likely that Paul would not return this postseason after he got his hand caught in Gerald Henderson’s jersey and suffered a broken third metacarpal in his right hand. However, now there is speculation that he might return in a few weeks, if the team was able to reach the Western Conference finals.

“It’s not as long as I think some may think it would be,” Rivers said. “That’s the good news, but we don’t know how long yet.”

Rivers attempted to stay positive despite the setbacks, insisting: “We have won games before without key guys, and I think we can win games in the future without key guys.”

Added Rivers: “I get down for like five minutes, and I was [Monday] night, but you wake up in the morning and you feel like we’re going to find a way, and it’s my job to try to get them to feel like I feel. If we do that, I think we’ll have a fighting chance.”

— Assuming Tom Brady’s four-game suspension holds, one of the games he’ll miss will be a home game against the Dolphins. But there is no rejoicing in Miami, as the Dolphins have their own issues.

Tuesday was the first day of voluntary veterans minicamp under new coach Adam Gase, and it was marked by a couple of noticeable absences.

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Curt Schilling, doc rivers
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon rips Phillies, then blows save against them 09.15.15 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Malmo FF at Paris St. Germain, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester United at PSV Eindhoven, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon’s return to Philadelphia on Monday was an eventful one. Before the game, the outspoken reliever shared his frustrations about his former team. Then he proceeded to suffer his first blown save of the season, allowing a game-tying home run in the 10th inning (Washington went on to win in 11 innings).

Papelbon, who left the Red Sox as a free agent to sign a four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies in 2011, said he is not the one to blame for Philadelphia’s struggles the past couple of seasons, and he doesn’t care if anyone was offended by his desire to be traded.

“If I say something, I mean it,” Papelbon said. “I’m not going to take anything back that I’ve ever said or did because I believe that it’s right. I don’t know if I got a bad rap here or whatever, but I can promise you I was far [from] the bad guy on this team. I was one of the few that wanted to actually win and I was one of the few that competed and posted up every day.”

Papelbon criticized the front office for giving up on the present in favor of a rebuilding plan, noting that president Pat Gillick said last offseason that the team was two years away from competing at the earliest.

“I think the blame goes all the way from the front office all the way down to the bat boy,” he said. “When you don’t have an organization that wants to win it’s pretty evident when they go out and publicly say, we’re not going to win.”

Although he owns the Phillies’ career saves record with 123 (with a 2.31 ERA), Papelbon said he doesn’t care if he’s not welcomed back in Philadelphia going forward.

“I don’t like the barbecues at the alumni weekend anyway,” he said. “It doesn’t really hurt my feelings. The way I look back on it is I came here as a free agent and I looked to produce day in and day out, and I felt like I did that. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys fall by the wayside, but I was still be able to be there and grinding every day and posting up so that’s the way I look at it. It just so happened to be an unfortunate situation where you just lost one game after another.”

— The hits keep on coming at Rutgers, as yet another member of the school’s football team is facing legal trouble.

On Monday, one day after Rutgers announced that senior captain Leonte Carroo was suspended indefinitely, it was revealed that he had been arrested for an domestic violence incident Saturday outside the team’s training and administrative building. Carrie is the seventh member of the team to be arrested this month. The other six were kicked off the team.

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Flood, Leonte Carroo, Ndamukong Suh
Thinking Out Loud: NFL’s integrity takes another blow with Ndamukong Suh flip-flop 01.02.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if anyone actually tries to make good on New Year’s resolutions any more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Brandon Browner, Ndamukong Suh, Roger Goodell
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Aaron Rodgers questions arbitrator’s decision to overturn Ndamukong Suh’s suspension 12.31.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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


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

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

Rodgers questioned how Suh could claim his stomp was accidental.

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

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

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

Total Voters: 377

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Darren Sanders, Kevin Sumlin, Michael Richardson
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lions’ Dominic Raiola stunned by ‘ridiculous’ suspension to Ndamukong Suh 12.30.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: Dominic Raiola, Johnny Manziel, Michael Richardson, Ndamukong Suh
Lions postpone talks with Ndamukong Suh until after season 07.29.14 at 10:31 am ET
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Lions president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew said Monday that the team is postponing contract talks with All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh until after the season.

Suh is entering the final year of his contract. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement after the season, the Lions could still use their franchise tag on him.

“[Suh has] told me he wants to be here. I have a good relationship with him,” Mayhew said. “I know I want him to be here. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Suh said after practice Monday that he doesn’t want to discuss his contract situation.

“It won’t be a distraction to me,” Suh said. “I’m just out here playing football and having fun.”

Lewand said Detroit’s salary-cap situation isn’t the reason for delaying contract talks.

Suh has 27 1/2 sacks in four NFL seasons. He was selected second overall by the Lions in 2010.

Read More: Ndamukong Suh,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos coach John Fox calls out Colts owner Jim Irsay for ‘cheap shot’ about Peyton Manning’s lack of titles 10.16.13 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB playoffs: Red Sox at Tigers, 8:07 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Magic at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Rangers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘€¢ When Colts owner Jim Irsay parted ways with quarterback Peyton Manning after the 2011 season, the pair had an emotional press conference in which they lamented the move.

Apparently, there was more to the decision than was being let on. With Manning set to make his return to Indianapolis on Sunday night with the Broncos, Irsay said in an interview with USA Today on Tuesday that the Colts drafted Andrew Luck No. 1 overall and passed on re-signing Manning because they wanted more playoff success.

“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [rings],” Irsay said. “Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.

“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the ‘Star Wars’ numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this [ring].”

That didn’t sit well with Manning’s current coach, Broncos boss John Fox.

“I saw the comments. And to be honest with you, I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot,” Fox said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “To me, in my opinion, they were disappointing and inappropriate.

“Peyton would never say anything. He’s too classy to do that. They sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me. For a guy who has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won four MVP awards … be thankful of that one Super Bowl ring, because a lot of people don’t have one.”

Irsay took to Twitter later in the day and insisted he was talking about building “well-rounded teams around great QBs,” and accused his critics of having “negative agendas.”

‘€¢ Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who last week lost his appeal of a $100,000 fine for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1, could be in trouble again.

Suh led with his helmet when he hit Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the chest following a pass in Sunday’s game. The hit wasn’t penalized, but in a video posted on Tuesday, vice president of officiating Dean Blandino indicated it should be reviewed.

“No. 90 hit the quarterback, lowered his head, that was not called,” Blandino said in the video. “Potential helmet to the body.”

Suh has been fined $177,500 in his 3½ NFL seasons and was suspended two games in 2011 that cost him an additional $165,294 in salary.

‘€¢ A man who put on a bear costume with a Dodgers jersey and climbed atop the Cardinals dugout to entertain the fans at Dodger Stadium during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night has become a bit of a media sensation.

Mark Monninger, a 50-year-old furniture store owner, said he pitched the idea to the team of having a mascot but was told no. He showed up at a regular-season game and attempted to perform but was ejected. He knew the same fate awaited him Monday when he made his move in the eighth inning.

“The time came, and I headed off,” Monninger told LA’s NBC4 News. “I knew it was only going to be a few seconds before they asked me to leave, and that’s what happened.

“If I was going to try out for a character like this, I’d just have to jump in and do it.”

Monninger’s ejection — and subsequent banishment from Dodgers property for six months — was followed by a Dodgers rally in a 3-0 victory, leading some to credit the “Rally Bear” for providing a spark.

“I wanted to try to get them going,” Monninger said. “They really needed a win [Monday] night to keep the series going.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 16, 2004, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the ALCS to the Yankees, 19-8, before embarking on their historic comeback. Bronson Arroyo started for the Red Sox and managed to avoid being saddled with the loss despite allowing six earned runs in two-plus innings, as the Sox tied the score after three innings. Which former Yankee relieved Arroyo and took the loss despite allowing the fewest runs of any of the six Sox pitchers that night (one run in one-plus inning)?

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Read More: Jim Irsay, John Fox, Ndamukong Suh, Peyton Manning
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh receives record fine, apologizes to team 09.11.13 at 8:06 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Phoenix at Chicago, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


‘€¢ Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh apologized to his team Tuesday, the same day he was fined $100,000 by the league for his illegal low block on Vikings center John Sullivan during the runback of an interception in Sunday’s game. Suh received a penalty on the play, negating a Detroit touchdown, and was fined a record amount for an on-field violation.

“He just basically said that he can’t make those types of mistakes — he can’t put us in a position where we’ve got to battle back from mistakes like that,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “He also said, with him having a target, and people looking for him, they’re looking at us in the same light. So as a team we’ve got to understand that the microscope is on us.”

Burleson expressed surprise at the amount of the fine when informed by the media

“Oh, baby! For real? Are you serious? A hundred stacks?” Burleson said. “That’s one of the biggest I’ve heard of, but when you have a guy who people look at as ‘dirty,’ a play that might not be as dirty could be deemed as such, and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences. So it’s tough. I hope he appeals it, because I don’t think that was worthy of being fined $100,000.”

Saints tight end Benjamin Watson had little sympathy for Suh.

“I hesitate to call a player dirty simply because I don’€™t know their intent, but I do know what he did was illegal and I do know he has done it multiple times so it comes a time when enough is enough,” the former Patriot told NFL Network, via “We need to get what he is doing rectified and we need to sit down as players and talk to him. We are talking about player safety and obviously this is a play that lies outside of that. As players, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”

‘€¢ According to a report from Denver television station CBS4, suspended Broncos linebacker Von Miller was cited last week for speeding and driving without a license.

It continues a series of problems for Miller, who was arrested last month for an outstanding warrant when he tried to buy a firearm and then failed to appear for a court hearing on charges from last October when he was cited for careless driving and not having a license or proof of insurance.

Miller, who set a team record with 18½ sacks last season, his third in the NFL, was suspended six games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

‘€¢ Texas A&M is preparing for Saturday’s showdown with top-ranked Alabama, but quarterback Johnny Manziel isn’t talking about it.

Manziel, who engineered an upset of the Crimson Tide last season that set him on the path to the Heisman Trophy, continues to lay low following his myriad offseason controversies. He spoke after Saturday’s victory over Sam Houston State, but that was his first press conference since SEC media day.

“He and his family and his advisors and lawyers have advised him not to talk, and I’ll respect his wishes on that,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said.

According to Aggies running back Ben Malena, Manziel is eager to prove last season was no fluke.

“Last year the Alabama game was a stage for the whole world to see what kind of player he is,” Malena said. “He deserved it along with this team, to be put on a stage to show what we can do and what he can do. I think this Saturday is another similar stage and the world is going to see how much better and how much more he has progressed along with the whole team.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 11, 2005, which Red Sox pitcher was the hard-luck loser in a 1-0 loss to the Yankees, pitching a complete-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk but allowing a home run to Jason Giambi?

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Nate Burleson, Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow denies asking out of Jets’ wildcat package 12.27.12 at 8:06 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Mavericks at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: New Mexico at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Military Bowl, San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Belk Bowl, Cincinnati vs. Duke, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Holiday Bowl, Baylor vs. UCLA, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)


‘™¦ Tim Tebow finally spoke up and defended himself against accusations he asked out of the team’s wildcat package for Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, although his explanation is open to interpretation.

“You work your whole life to build a reputation,” Tebow said Wednesday. “Then people try to bring you down when they don’€™t understand even what happened. It’€™s disappointing. You just want to express your side of the story.”

Tebow admitted telling Rex Ryan that he was frustrated at not being named starter and with “running up the middle” consistently on the wildcat, and he acknowledged the “possibility” that Ryan misinterpreted him to mean he wanted out. But he insisted that he didn’t want to come off as being selfish.

“I never said, ‘Hey, I don’€™t want to do anything. I won’€™t do anything,’ ” Tebow said. “That wasn’€™t the talk at all. He knows that. And everybody on this team knows that I would never not do something if I was asked. That’€™s what’€™s disappointing. ‘€¦ People saying, ‘Oh, you quit.’ That was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’€™t me asking out of anything.”

Added Tebow: “When people talk about how you play football and how much, that’€™s one thing. That really doesn’€™t bother me. I think the only thing that’€™s been disappointing these last few days and frustrating is people saying, ‘Oh you quit on your team or you’€™re not a good teammate.’ ”

‘™¦ The Bears apparently don’t mind giving the Lions some bulletin-board material heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale.

The last time these teams met — a 13-7 Bears victory on Oct. 22 — Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was criticized (but not penalized nor fined) for driving Bears quarterback Jay Cutler‘s head into the turf on a sack.

Bears DT Henry Melton said Wednesday he’s expecting more of the same this weekend from the Lions.

“They’€™re dirty,” Melton said. “They’€™ve always been a dirty team since I’€™ve been here. I don’€™t like them. We’€™ve just got to hold our composure and play the game we know. They just try to do all this extra stuff: talking, little cheap shots. If you look at the tape, they’€™ve always thrown cheap shots. We had a brawl I think last year. So it is what it is. I’€™m ready.”

Meanwhile, Bears safety Major Wright said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can be rattled if he’s pressured. Wright did acknowledge that Stafford is “a good quarterback” who can “pick you apart” if given time. But, added Wright: “You put a little pressure on him, you close the pocket on him, and he hesitates. He doesn’t make that perfect throw. ‘€¦ He can make any throw on that field, so you have to be aware of putting pressure on him because you put a little pressure on him, he kind of folds.”

‘™¦ Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges — keeping busy as the NHL lockout continues — took to Twitter to organize an outdoor hockey game with fans at a neighborhood rink in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon.

“I haven’€™t played outdoors in a long time, but I figured we’€™ve got some time and I’€™ve got nothing else to do,” Gorges told reporters during a break from the game. “I was just looking to skate outdoors and I threw it out there on Twitter and so many people were asking where I’€™d go play, so I thought why not set a time and place and we’€™ll all come and play.”

Tweeted Gorges afterward: Thanks to everyone who showed up for the game today had alot of fun!! What do you think should we organize another game??

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 27, 1956, which Celtics player had his consecutive free throw streak ended at 55 — an NBA record that stood for 19 years?

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Read More: Henry Melton, Jay Cutler, Josh Gorges, Major Wright
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Anonymous teammate criticizes Lions DT Ndamukong Suh 12.07.12 at 7:53 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Lakers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Iowa State at Iowa, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)


‘™¦ Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has made his share of enemies around the league for his dirty play, and now it seems his own team is fed up with his selfish behavior.

The Lions, expected to contend for a playoff berth this season, are 4-8 following Sunday’s 35-33 loss to the Colts, and one anonymous Detroit player told Yahoo! Sports that Suh and others are hurting the team.

‘€œYeah, we’re loaded,” the player said. “But we have a couple of guys who don’t understand what it takes to win. Just making a couple of plays and thinking that makes you great. ‘€¦ Sometimes you want to just shake some of these guys and say, ‘Don’t you get it?’ ”

Asked who in particular fell into that category, the player said, ‘€œNdamukong would be first.’€

Added the player: “He’s focused for 90 percent of the time. But it’s the 10 percent that kills you. ‘€¦ With [Suh], he loses his cool and all of a sudden we’re blowing a play or dealing with some controversy.’€

‘™¦ Rex Ryan acknowledged Wednesday the importance of making the right decision on who will start at quarterback for the Jets, but on Thursday he denied that his choice will determine his own fate with the team.

‘€œObviously we need to win,’€ Ryan said Thursday. ‘€œThis is a big decision. [A big factor] in determining wins and losses is the play of your quarterback a lot of times. But no, I don’€™t feel that my future’€™s tied in with how we do things [with the quarterback].’€

Added Ryan: ‘€œObviously, this is a win business and I know that. As [former Ravens coach] Brian Billick told me the other day, there’€™s been 111 head coaches that have come and gone over the last 10 years. So it’€™s probably not the most [secure job]. But the one thing I can [do to] affect the job security is by winning. That’€™s what everybody wants. It’€™s what our fans want. It’s what Woody [Johnson] wants. It’€™s what we all want. Obviously, that’€™s what I want.’€

‘™¦ In a story that’s similar to the Tom Brady incident from last year, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway acknowledged Thursday that he “went a little far” with his comments that Minnesota fans should starting drinking early so they are ready to go for Sunday’s noontime start against the Bears.

“Hopefully, they’re super-duper drunk,” Greenway said after the Vikings’ loss to the Packers this past Sunday. “So, drink liquor, not beer. ‘€¦ Yeah, I would say morning drinking. Why not? You could pull an all-nighter. Then you’d have the drunk, tired guys who will really be obnoxious.”

During a Thursday interview with “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on Chicago’s ESPN 1000, Greenway toned it down a little.

“Obviously, I could have used some more responsible words,” Greenway said. “I think the people that know me, the beat writers included, know that I said that sort of tongue-in-cheek.

“I just wanted the fans at home to be loud like they always are. I think just trying to drive that point home I probably got a little loose with my words. Obviously I should have been a little more responsible with it. It was said, so what do you do?”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 7, 1978, the Red Sox traded Bill Lee to the Expos for which player?

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Read More: Chad Greenway, Ndamukong Suh, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady