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Report: Broncos QB Peyton Manning cleared after neck exam 03.03.14 at 1:04 pm ET
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Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was cleared to play in 2014 after having an exam on his surgically repaired neck, according to multiple reports.

Broncos executive vice president John Elway confirmed the news to ESPN.

The exam was mandated by the five-year, $96 million contract Manning signed with Denver as a free agent in 2012. Manning, 37, missed the entire 2011 season while recovering from the surgery and then was released by the Colts.

Manning set NFL records by passing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns this past season. He led the Broncos to a 13-3 record and a victory over the Patriots in the AFC championship game. The Broncos were routed by the Seahawks, 43-8, in the Super Bowl.

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Richard Sherman tweets support for Peyton Manning after Super Bowl 02.03.14 at 7:50 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: Spurs at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Xavier at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Hampton at Morgan State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Georgetown at DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Prairie View A&M at Alabama A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Avalanche at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Beanpot, Harvard vs. Northeastern, 5 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Beanpot, Boston College vs. Boston University, 8 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
Soccer: Premier League, Manchester City vs. Chelsea, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– We all know how Richard Sherman feels about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick thanks to the cornerback’s antics at the end of the NFC championship game. After Sunday’s 43-8 rout of the Broncos in the Super Bowl, however, Sherman was defending the losing QB.

When Sherman — who suffered a high ankle sprain and left Sunday’s game in the second half — got wind of Seahawks‘ fans criticism of Peyton Manning on his Twitter account, the cornerback asked for moderation.

Wrote Sherman: There is no reason to bash him on here please Seattle let’s just enjoy this one!!!! He is still a Future HOF player.

Added Sherman: Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met! I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person.

 

Manning, who avoided throwing in Sherman’s direction, completed 34-of-49 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, but he was picked off twice and had a passer rating of 73.5, far less than Seattle QB Russell Wilson (123.1). The Broncos, who had the most prolific offense in NFL history in 2013, were shut out until the final play of the third quarter.

Warren Sapp apparently ended his feud with Michael Strahan when he apologized to the former Giants defensive end over the weekend.

Sapp, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, had said that Strahan was not one of the most worthy candidates this year. However, Strahan was one of the seven individuals elected Saturday.

Sapp said he apologized to Strahan when he saw him Saturday night.

“I hugged him and I wouldn’t let him go,” Sapp said on NFL Network, for whom he works as an analyst. “I said, ‘Please forgive me.’ I said, ‘Dumb Lex Luthor came to the city of Gotham and pulled Superman’s cape. How foolish could I have been, my man? Please forgive me.’

“If he tells the story any different, he’s lying to you, America, because I sure did apologize. I’m going to beg for forgiveness because there’s a party in Canton, and I promise you, I’m not going to miss it.”

– Jets quarterback Geno Smith received some advice from general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan: Stay out of trouble.

Smith has been involved in a couple of embarrassing situations since the Jets’ season ended, and the team would prefer that be the last of it.

“When you’re a quarterback in the NFL and you’re a quarterback for a franchise in a big market such as New York, all eyes are on you 24/7,” Idzik told reporters at a promotional event before Sunday’s Super Bowl. “I think Geno is experiencing this first-hand. Obviously, I’ve kept in close contact with him. This is part of learning how to deal with these things.

“We’ve addressed them, he’s addressed them, so [I have] no real concerns that way. It’s just how to deal with your celebrity and the visibility that goes along with that position.”

Smith, who was at the same event, would not discuss the incident on a Virgin America airplane that caused him to leave his flight (and for which the airline apologized). Also, an Atlanta woman who claimed she had an affair with Smith posted a lewd photo on Instagram she claimed to be the QB.

“It’s not a big deal,” Smith said of his offseason issues. “I just have to continue to do things that got me here, which is be myself. I’m not a troublemaker, I’m not a bad person and I don’t do things that get me in trouble.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 3, 2002, the Patriots beat the Rams for their first Super Bowl title. Who scored the Patriots’ first touchdown?

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Read More: Geno Smith, Michael Strahan, Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos QB Peyton Manning squashes retirement talk 01.27.14 at 8:06 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:
NHL: Bruins at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Sabres at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Norfolk State at Savannah State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Villanova at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Colgate at Lafayette, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Texas Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Peyton Manning put rumors about his retirement to rest when he told the Denver Post he has no plans to step away from the game following his record-setting season.

“I think when you still enjoy the preparation, the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that.” Manning said. “When I stop enjoying it, when I can’t produce, when I can’t help the team, that’s when I’ll stop playing. If that’s next year, maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”

Manning, 37, is scheduled to have his surgically repaired neck examined, and there was speculation that he could leave the game if there were any concerns. However, he is due to make $20 million next season, giving him more than enough incentive to come back, even if the Broncos win the Super Bowl.

“A number of players have walked away as champions,” said Manning, who passed for an NFL-record 55 touchdowns in 2013. “I’m sure that’s a great feeling for those people. John Elway. Ray Lewis did it last year. Michael Strahan. Talking to Ray Lewis and talking to John Elway, they couldn’t play any more [physically]. That was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there.

“I still enjoy playing football. I feel a little better than I thought I would at this point coming off that [neck fusion] surgery. I still enjoy the preparation part of it, the work part of it. Everybody enjoys the game. Everybody is going to be excited to play in the Super Bowl.”

– Veteran Broncos safety Mike Adams grew up in Paterson, N.J., about 12 miles from MetLife Stadium, where his team will play the Seahawks in Sunday’s Super Bowl. If Denver wins, Adams said he plans a victory march to his hometown. Without delay.

“If we win the Super Bowl, I’m going to keep my helmet and pads on and I’m walking home,” Adams said, adding: “After I get to the IHOP on Route 3, I’ll start hitchhiking. But they’d probably think I’m just some crazy person.”

An undrafted free agent from Delaware, Adams had a tough childhood. He never knew his father, and his mother died of ovarian cancer when he was a rookie with 49ers in 2004. He doesn’t try to paint a picture of his hometown as a pleasant place, but his walk home would be proof that anyone can escape a tough upbringing.

“It can be almost like a cancer,” Adams said of Paterson. “And I say that because the negativity in that place can be like a snowball rolling downhill.”

– Basketball Hall of Famer Tom Gola died Sunday at the age of 81 at a long-term care facility in Meadowbrook, Pa., where he had been staying since falling and hitting his head on a curb in 2003.

Gola starred at La Salle, leading the Explorers to the 1954 NCAA championship before losing to Bill Russell‘s San Francisco squad in the 1955 title game.

The 6-foot-6 Gola left the college game as a three-time All-American with an NCAA-record 2,201 rebounds. He remains one of only two Division 1 collegians to record 2,000 points and 2,000 rebounds. He’s also one of only two men to win an NIT, NCAA and NBA championship.

Gola helped the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1956 NBA title as a rookie and went on to become a five-time All-Star in 10 NBA seasons with the Warriors and Knicks.

He then coached La Salle for two seasons, posting a 37-13 record, before becoming a politician and running an insurance agency.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 27, 1986, which Patriots defensive standout announced his retirement after setting a team record for most games played with 210?

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Read More: Mike Adams, Peyton Manning, super bowl, Tom Gola
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos exec John Elway says Peyton Manning not getting enough credit 01.16.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Stars, 8:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Nets vs. Hawks, 3 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Knicks at Pacers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Providence at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: UConn at Memphis, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Missouri at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston at Louisville, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Belmont at Eastern Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Ohio State at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Arizona State at Arizona, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: BYU at San Francisco, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Long Beach State at UC Santa Barbara, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

John Elway, the Broncos legend who now serves as the team’s executive vice president of football operations, knows a thing or two about trying to win a championship to secure a legacy.

However, Elway — who quarterbacked the Broncos to two Super Bowl wins at the end of his illustrious career — says Peyton Manning shouldn’t have to beat Tom Brady‘s Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game and win a second Super Bowl to prove anything.

“He’s won a Super Bowl,” Elway said of Manning. “For some reason he doesn’t seem to get the credit for having won one Super Bowl already. I think maybe the comparison is Tom going to five and Peyton having been to two and winning one, that may be it.”

Added Elway: “There is no question, having been through that, I understand where Peyton is. He doesn’€™t have the monkey that he hasn’€™t won one. He has been there two times and won one. This is all about at this point in time trying to win a Super Bowl and then what that does for the organization as well as it just adds to Peyton’€™s legacy and where he is.”

Brady has a 10-4 record vs. Manning, including a 2-1 mark in the postseason. With the 2013 Broncos setting NFL records for the most prolific offense ever, it’s put added pressure on Manning to deliver a title.

“Fair or not, that’€™s the way it is,” Elway said. “As a quarterback, especially the level you’€™re at with Peyton, that’€™s what they are going to look at. If we can win a championship this year, it’€™s going to help with Peyton’€™s legacy. Even if we don’€™t, I think the year that he’€™s had this year is going to still help with his legacy. He’€™s had a tremendous year. For some reason, Peyton is not getting the credit — he’€™s been there twice and he got one. You get to the point where Peyton is, the greatness that he’€™s had, there is always someone trying to put chinks in the armor and that’€™s what they go after.”

– Lakers guard Nick Young was ejected from Wednesday’s 121-114 loss to the Suns in Phoenix for throwing a punch during a second-quarter fracas. After being hit in the face by rookie center Alex Len while going in for a layup, Young shoved Len and then swing at guard Goran Dragic‘s face. Len also was ejected.

“I just reacted and got caught up in the moment. Like anyone would have,” Young said. “It was a tough foul.”

Young also wasn’t pleased with his own team, as no one came to his defense.

“What I’m mad about is it was 1-on-5,” Young said. “I felt like if someone would have gotten in the middle of everything it wouldn’t have escalated as much. I felt bad for Dragic. He was right there. I didn’t throw [a] punch. I was trying to shove people out of my way. I was getting pushed further back. It was more trying to get out.”

– A Little League coach in California is suing one of his own players because the player threw his helmet while celebrating a home run and it hit the coach in the heel.

“At first I thought it was a joke,” the boy’s father, Joe Paris, told KCRA-TV. “Now I think it’s absurd.”

Alan Beck, who coached a Lakeside Little League team in Roseville (outside Sacramento), filed papers that the boy “carelessly threw a helmet, striking Plaintiff’s Achilles tendon and tearing it.”

Beck is seeking $500,000 for pain and suffering, and more than $100,000 for lost wages and medical bills.

“I don’t think the boy meant to harm him,” acknowledged Beck’s attorney, Gene Goldsman. “But this wasn’t a part of the game. A guy who volunteers his time to coach should not be subjected to someone who throws a helmet in the manner that he did. What the kid did, it crossed the line.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 16, 1974, which Bruin became the eighth player in NHL history to record 450 goals when he scored in a 5-5 tie with the Blackhawks in Chicago?

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Read More: John Elway, Nick Young, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Anthony Bosch details alleged PED use, bribes by Alex Rodriguez 01.13.14 at 8:07 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: Rockets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Wizards at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Syracuse at Boston College, 9 p.m. (ESPNU; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Charleston at Northeastern, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Virginia at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Lafayette at Loyola (Md.), 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kansas at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Arsenal at Aston Villa, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Anthony Bosch, who ran the Florida anti-aging clinic with affiliations to Major League Baseball players, said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday night that he provided an assortment of performance-enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez and even injected A-Rod himself at times.

Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension was reduced to 162 games plus playoffs (the entire 2014 season) by an arbitrator Saturday, and he has indicated he will file a suit in federal court to overturn the ruling. He has denied using PEDs.

According to Bosch, Rodriguez started working with him in the summer of 2010, shortly before the Yankees slugger hit his 600th home run. Bosch said A-Rod wanted to know what Manny Ramirez used in 2008 and ’09, when he had a resurgence of power while playing for the Dodgers (although he eventually was suspended).

Bosch said he was paid $12,000 per month to supply Rodriguez with banned drugs including testosterone and human growth hormone.

Bosch detailed his links to Rodriguez, including hundreds of text messages and a document that indicates he was paid $50,000 from “A-Rod Corporation” that Bosch said was an effort to keep him quiet. The money was returned. Bosch also said people with an affiliation to Rodriguez threatened him. That led Bosch to strike a deal with MLB for security and legal assistance in exchange for his testimony.

Rodriguez’s lawyers have claimed the player’s relationship with Bosch was limited to nutrition consultations. Attorney Joe Tacopina criticized MLB for cooperating with the “60 Minutes” interview, even though Tacopina himself was interviewed on the program.

“Tonight’s further expansion of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred‘s quest to destroy Alex Rodriguez goes beyond comprehension,” Tacopina said in a statement. “In a clearly pre-orchestrated display, Selig and Manfred, having known for some time what the result of the arbitration would be (in light of Manfred sitting on the arbitration panel) put forth an unparalleled display of hubris and vindictiveness — complete with Manfred appearing in tandem with the drug dealer Tony Bosch, both in full makeup, celebrating the joint victory of Bosch’s lies and Manfred’s intimidation and payments for testimony.”

Peyton Manning is riding high after ending a personal three-game postseason losing streak and leading the Broncos to the AFC championship game against the Patriots. However, according to an ESPN report, Manning’s future could be in jeopardy.

The report indicates that Manning will have an offseason exam on his surgically repaired neck, and if there is an increased risk of injury, the quarterback will be forced to decide whether to retire.

Manning underwent fusion surgery on his neck while a member of the Colts and missed the entire 2011 season.

Last week, Manning commented about his future, saying, “The light is at the end of the tunnel for me, no question.”

– Rangers pitcher Derek Holland is expected to miss about three months of the season after having surgery Friday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. Holland denied a report that he suffered the injury while playing in an amateur hockey game, instead explaining that it was caused by his dog, a boxer named Wrigley.

“I was running around with the dog and took off up the stairs,” Holland told the Dallas Morning News. “He chased me and ran up under me and undercut me, and I slammed my head on the steps.

“It could have been worse. I could have cracked my head open. I was doing a typical guy thing, closing around with the dog thing, and this happened.”

Holland, who signed a five-year contract before the 2012 season and is due to make $5.4 million this year, was injury-free in 2013, leading the team in starts (33) and innings pitched (213) while going 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 13, 1983, the Red Sox shipped which veteran pitcher to the Mets for a minor leaguer to be named later (infielder Mike Davis, who never reached the majors)?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Anthony Bosch, Derek Holland, Peyton Manning
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Peyton Manning named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year 12.16.13 at 7:46 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: Timberwolves at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Gardner-Webb at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Mississippi Valley State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (BTN)
NFL: Ravens at Lions, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Peyton Manning's Broncos jersey was the top seller at NFL.com for April and May. (AP)

Peyton Manning has the Broncos in line for the top seed in the AFC. (AP)

‘€¢ Peyton Manning, in the midst of a standout season with the Broncos at age 37, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Manning, in his second season in Denver, has led the Broncos to an 11-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC (helped by the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins on Sunday). He has thrown 47 touchdown passes, three short of Tom Brady‘s single-season record with two games to play.

The 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after missing the previous season while recovering from neck surgeries, Manning is the first Bronco — and first Denver athlete — to win the award.

LeBron James won last year’s honor, then went on to lead the Heat to their second straight NBA title.

“At first, when I knew we were considering Manning, I thought: good choice. Lifetime-achievement-award choice,” said SI senior writer Peter King, who announced the winner on NBC at halftime of Sunday night’s game between the Bengals and Steelers. “But if you isolate this year, you’€™re looking at a player two years removed from four neck procedures that would have prompted many 35-year-old legends to choose retirement. He has his Super Bowl. He has his MVPs. Now he’€™s on the verge of breaking the most important single-season quarterback records [touchdown passes and passing yards] in the 94-year history of the game. He threw seven touchdown passes against the defending Super Bowl champs. And he’€™s got his team set to win the top seed in the AFC. Who plays his best’€”wounded, with so many great young guns chasing him’€”at 37?”

‘€¢ The Giants were eliminated from the playoffs last week, and that’s not sitting well with team legend Lawrence Taylor. The former linebacker said he thinks coach Tom Coughlin‘s time has come, despite his two Super Bowl championships.

Tom Coughlin has done wonders for the Giants. Personally, I don’€™t know if I could play for him, but the guy is a winner, he is a fighter. But I think it is time for him to take his talents on the road,” Taylor told the New York Post on Saturday night at David Ortiz‘s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “He’€™s done all he can do for the Giants. If he wants to coach, I think he needs to take his philosophies to another team.

“After a while, the players just stop listening. I respect the man, but it’€™s time. As much as I like Coughlin and the job he has done, it’€™s time for a shakeup.”

On the other hand, Taylor had kind words for Ortiz.

Big Papi has a big heart and he cares,” Taylor said. “A guy like that with that notoriety, with that status, he could easily say kiss off and do his own thing. He genuinely loves people and things he does for the city of Boston and the Dominican Republic.”

‘€¢ Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, the former Patriots assistant who was put in charge of restoring the Nittany Lions to prominence following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, reportedly has been approached by two NFL teams and is considering returning to the pros.

O’Brien was said to have been close to leaving Penn State for the Eagles job last year, but he decided to return to Happy Valley for a second season mainly out of loyalty. This time, he appears to be more willing to make the jump, especially after the school received more punishment than expected for its handling of the Sandusky situation. Also, his buyout is less financially restrictive than last year.

The Texans and Vikings are the teams said to have contacted him already, with Washington another possibility.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On. Dec. 15, 2003, which Celtic had his number retired to the rafters?

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Read More: Bill O'Brien, Lawrence Taylor, Peyton Manning, Tom Coughlin
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos WR Wes Welker suffers second concussion in 4 weeks 12.09.13 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

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

AROUND THE WEB:

Broncos receiver Wes Welker scores a touchdown during Sunday's win over the Titans, before being injured in the second quarter. (AP)

Broncos receiver Wes Welker scores a touchdown during Sunday’s win over the Titans, before being injured in the second quarter. (AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: Adrian Peterson, Bernard Pollard, Matt Prater, Peyton Manning
NFL Roundup: Dwayne Bowe set to play Sunday despite arrest; Gary Kubiak to coach Texans Sunday 11.14.13 at 10:13 am ET
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Dwayne Bowe

Dwayne Bowe

Despite being arrested this past weekend on charges of speeding and possession of marijuana, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe still intends to play this Sunday. Bowe likely does not want to miss what is shaping up to be Kansas City’s biggest game of the season, as the 9-0 Chiefs are set to travel to Denver to face off against the Broncos.

After being stopped for doing 48 in a 35 mph zone shortly before midnight on Sunday, Bowe’s car was searched by police officers, who reported they found about a third of an ounce of marijuana. Bowe was taken to jail and was subsequently released on a $750 bond. Bowe is due in court on Dec. 18.

While Bowe has avoided speaking to the media since his arrest, Chiefs coach Andy Reid deflected questions regarding Bowe’s arrest and defended his Pro Bowl player, stating that Bowe has been a model citizen so far this season.

“There are rules and regulations put in place and we’ll abide by the rules and regulations, and we’ll make sure we take all of the information that comes out as it goes through the process,” Reid said. “That’s where we’re going with it.

“Dwayne’s been a team player since I’ve been here,” Reid said. “He doesn’t want to bring any problems to the table. That’s not what he wants to do.”

Bowe, who signed a five-year, $56 million extension with Kansas City this past offseason, has not had a season to remember, as the 29-year-old has only hauled in 33 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns.

Since being selected 23rd overall in the 2007 draft by Kansas City, Bowe has been one of the most effective offensive weapons in franchise history, as he is second all-time with 448 receptions and is fifth all-time in touchdowns (41).

• After suffering a “mini-stroke” less than two weeks ago, Texans coach Gary Kubiak is set to return to the sideline Sunday for Houston’s game against the Raiders.

Kubiak last coached the Texans on Nov. 3 against the Colts, when the 52-year-old coach collapsed on field at halftime and was transported to a hospital. After testing, it was revealed that Kubiak had suffered a transient ischemic attack, typically referred to as a “mini-stroke” for its similarity in side effects and causes.

While doctors have limited the amount of work that he can do during the week, Kubiak was happy to finally be back with the team on Wednesday.

“It just feels great to be back,” Kubiak said. “I’m on kind of a different schedule — kind of hard to adjust to, but I’m adjusting to it. I’m listening to [my doctors.]

“I wasn’t doing anything different than I’ve always done. I guess it just makes you stop and think a little bit. I’ve been through a lot of good times in this league, I’m going through a hard time right now, but it’s nice to go through any time and to be doing what you love to do.”

Kubiak will have to deal with a lot of pressure in his first game back, as the Texans will look to break a seven-game losing streak against Oakland.

• While Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said that quarterback Peyton Manning would “definitely” play this Sunday against the Chiefs, his status is a bit more unclear now.

Manning, who is dealing with injuries to his ankles, sat out Denver’s practice Wednesday. The four-time MVP took part in the team’s walk-through before heading into the trainer’s room for work on his nagging injuries.

“It’s my preference to be out there, but at the same time, I kind of do what’s best for the team in order for me to get healthy,” Manning said.

Manning has posted some of the best stats of his Hall of Fame career in 2013, as the 37-year-old has thrown for 3,249 yards and 33 touchdowns.

• Former Bears receiver Sam Hurd was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a drug-distribution scheme.

Hurd pleaded guilty in April to one count of attempting to buy and distribute large amounts of cocaine and marijuana. In court on Wednesday, Hurd pleaded for mercy and admitted to being a drug addict.

“I have regrets, your honor,” he said. “I have a lot of regrets.”

• Former Raiders tight end Todd Christensen died Wednesday in a Salt Lake City hospital from complications from liver transplant surgery.

Christensen, 57, had been waiting 10 months for a donor liver, his son, Toby, told the press.

Christensen played 10 seasons for the Raiders, earning five Pro Bowl selections and winning Super Bowls in 1981 and ’84. His 92 catches in 1983 were an NFL record for tight ends, and he broke that mark three years later with 95 receptions.

Read More: Andy Reid, Denver Broncos, Dwayne Bowe, Gary Kubiak
Despite aggravating ankle injury, Peyton Manning will ‘definitely play’ Sunday 11.12.13 at 10:16 am ET
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Broncos fans can take a deep breath, as an MRI revealed no new damage to quarterback Peyton Manning‘s right ankle.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

Manning, who hurt his ankle during games against the Jaguars and Colts last month, went down in the closing minutes of the Broncos’ 28-20 win over the Chargers on Sunday after being sacked by defensive end Corey Liuget, who appeared to target Manning’s ankles on the play.

Manning, 37, stayed down on the ground after the hit and moved with a noticeable limp both on the field and in the locker room after the game.

With the news that his ankle is still structurally sound, Manning is expected to play on Sunday in Denver’s biggest game of the season so far, a Sunday night matchup against the 9-0 Chiefs.

“He’ll definitely play this week,” said interim coach Jack Del Rio. “He’s ready to roll and that’s good news.”

The Broncos will have their hands full with protecting their All-Pro quarterback, as the Chiefs are first in the NFL with 36 sacks.

“We’re definitely on high alert, wanting to protect our quarterback,” Del Rio said. “We didn’t do as well as we can and we needed to yesterday and we’ve got a big challenge going against a team that’s sacked quarterbacks more than any team in the league.”

In the days following his injury scare, both Manning and the Broncos have raised questions whether Liuget’s below-the-knee hit was legal.

“In the rules, there are certain areas you can hit and certain areas that are supposed to be protected,” Del Rio said. “And we thought that got into an area that was supposed to be protected.”

In response, Denver has sent replays of the hit to the NFL to see if Liuget deserves any disciplinary actions for his play against Manning.

Now in his second year with the Broncos, Manning has put together one of the best seasons of his storied career. The four-time MVP has thrown 33 touchdowns in nine games this year, matching Tom Brady‘s 2007 total for most touchdowns through the first nine contests of a season.

Read More: ankle, Corey Liuget, Denver Broncos, Jack Del Rio
NFL roundup: QBs Jay Cutler, Jake Locker, Seneca Wallace hurt; 49ers DE Aldon Smith returns 11.11.13 at 1:41 pm ET
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Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler

Sunday was a bad day to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.

Jay Cutler, Jake Locker and Seneca Wallace all were forced out of their games early, while Peyton Manning also re-aggravated his ankle injury.

Cutler left with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 21-19 loss to the Lions. His status for the game was in question to begin with as he missed the Bears’ 27-20 win over the Packers the previous week. Josh McCown replaced Cutler and led Chicago on a touchdown-scoring drive. However, the two-point conversion failed and the Bears came up just short.

Locker, who was enjoying a breakout season for the Titans, might be lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury suffered in Tennessee’s 29-27 loss to the Jaguars. NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that the Titans believe the third-year pro’s season could be over. Locker already missed two games this season with a hip injury.

Wallace, filling in for the injured Aaron Rodgers, played only one series of Green Bay’s 27-13 loss to Philadelphia, as a groin injury forced him out. Wallace replaced Rodgers last week when the Packers’ franchise quarterback went down with a fractured collarbone at the start of the team’s 27-20 loss to Chicago. Scott Tolzien replaced Wallace at quarterback, and will start next week vs. the Giants, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

• The 49ers showed Aldon Smith tough love by suspending him for over a month due to his substance abuse problems.

When Smith finally made it back on the field Sunday, after missing the past five games, San Francisco continued that tough love in the team’s 10-9 loss to the Panthers on Sunday.

Smith sat out the entire first quarter and totaled just 12 snaps in the entire game, despite being healthy. Smith voiced his displeasure with the decision to limit his snaps, saying he was “not really” OK with his role, but also added: “The season is long, so we’ll see how it goes. I don’t really call those shots. I just put my clothes on, put my cleats on and play.”

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Albert Breer, Jake Locker, Jay Cutler