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NFL roundup: 49ers LB Aldon Smith denies DUI after alleged hit-and-run 08.07.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith

Troubled 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith denied he was driving under the influence after being arrested Thursday night for hit-and-run, DUI and vandalism in Santa Clara, California.

Smith, speaking to KGO in San Francisco as he left jail Friday morning, apologized to fans.

“The people who are faithful remain faithful,” Smith said. “Simple as this: Justice will be served, the truth will come out, there’€™s no DUI. I’m sorry for anybody I let down, I’m sorry for the way this whole thing … I need to speak and I want everybody to understand, this wasn’t a DUI, the situation I had could have been handled differently and I apologize for everybody I did let down and I apologize for how it all played out. But as far as everything is concerned, it will work out the way it’s supposed to work out. That’s all.”

Smith has had trouble with the law on numerous occasions in the past. This is his fifth arrest since 2012. Smith also was suspended for nine games last season for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct and substance-abuse policies.

— At age 39, Peyton Manning is facing some doubts for one of the first times in his career. The legendary quarterback sputtered at the end of the last season and played more than a month with a torn right quad.

Any questions that surround Manning as he enters his 18th season have not permeated his receiving corps. All-Pro wideout Demaryius Thomas said Thursday that Manning has shown good arm strength thus far in training camp.

“He’s smiling. I feel like he’s good,” Thomas said after practice. “I don’t know if you all are going to believe what I say, but I think it’s a little more zip on it. I don’t know how he can do that. He’s an older guy — one of the oldest guys on the team — but I feel like every year around this time, there’s almost more zip on his ball. You can notice it. He threw a couple posts, probably 50, 60 yards, and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ ”

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Read More: Alson Smith, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: NHL takes next step toward expansion, with Las Vegas appearing likely to land team 06.25.15 at 8:15 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:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Draft, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Golf: PGA Travelers Championship, 3:30 p.m. (TGC)

AROUND THE WEB:

Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday that the league is beginning a formal expansion review process, adding to speculation that Las Vegas soon will land a team. Seattle and Quebec City also have expressed interest.

The Board of Governors met in Las Vegas before Wednesday night’s NHL Awards show in the city and said the league will take applications for new franchises starting July 6, with a deadline of Aug. 10. Bettman said prospective owners will have to be able to fork over an expansion fee of at least $500 million. He did not indicated how many clubs might be added — if any.

“The fact we are going through this process doesn’t mean we are going to expand,” Bettman told reporters. “All it means is we’re going to stop just listening to expressions of interest and take a good, hard look at what they actually mean and represent.”

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league isn’t likely to expand before the 2017-18 season.

Prospective Vegas owner Bill Foley already has more than 13,200 season-ticket deposits and has started construction of a multipurpose arena near the Las Vegas Strip.

“We’re going to take a deep dive and look at what there is in terms of the interest that’s being expressed,” Bettman said. “Obviously, Bill Foley got a great response to his season-ticket drive.”

— Following rumors that the Broncos were looking to move Peyton Manning this season comes a report that the team only was looking for him to agree to cut his salary for next season.

Mike Klis of Denver’s 9 News tweeted that the team was “never letting Peyton Manning go,” but it did ask for a $10 million reduction in pay.

Manning eventually agreed to a new deal that makes his 2014-15 salary $4 million less.

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Read More: Gary Bettman, Peyton Manning,
Reports: Peyton Manning, John Elway meet to discuss QB’s future 02.13.15 at 9:07 am ET
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According to multiple reports, Peyton Manning met with Broncos general manager John Elway on Thursday to discuss the quarterback’s future. No announcement was made of any decision.

Since losing to the Colts in the AFC divisional round in January, Manning has been weighing his options for next year. Elway told Manning that he’d like to have him back, also asking him not to make a rash decision.

New Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak already said he would fit his West Coast offense to best support Manning’s style of play.

C.J. Anderson, one of Manning’s running backs in Denver, voiced his opinion on the matter at halftime of a college basketball game between his Cal, his alma mater, and Colorado.

“I think we should all still let him take his time to make up his mind. He’s going to be 39 next month and there’s more to just coming back and playing football. There’s practicing, there’s studying, there’s grinding through the season and he’s seeing if he still wants to do all that,” Anderson said.

“But the fact that he met with Mr. Elway shows he’s interested in coming back,” Anderson added. “At the end of the day, it’s a step in the right direction.”

Manning has been working out in New Orleans with a personal trainer and would have to pass a physical before March 5 should he decide to keep playing. He has taken an annual physical ever since he joined the Broncos in 2012 to make sure his neck, which was surgically repaired in 2011, is OK.

The quarterback is due $19 million next season, and that value becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Denver roster on March 9.

Read More: C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos, John Elway, Peyton Manning
Report: Peyton Manning plans to return to Broncos, pending physical 01.21.15 at 2:01 pm ET
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According to a report in The Denver Post, Peyton Manning will return to the Broncos next season if he passes his annual physical examination.

Manning, 38, was noncommittal following his team’s loss to the Colts in the AFC divisional round on Jan. 11. Reportedly slowed by a leg injury, Manning struggled as the Broncos suffered the upset. Coach John Fox was fired shortly thereafter, replaced by Gary Kubiak.

Manning missed the entire 2011 season, his last as a member of the Colts, following neck surgery.

The Broncos need to know Manning’s status before March 10, when his $19 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed.

Read More: Peyton Manning,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Free agent RHP Max Scherzer reportedly has 7-year deal with Nationals 01.19.15 at 7:55 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: Celtics at Clippers, 3:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pistons at Hawks, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Grizzlies, 5 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Bulls at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Lakers at Suns, 10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Florida State at Clemson, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Villanova at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Flyers at Islanders, 1 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Avalanche at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, West Bromwich at Everton, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m., 3 a.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— According to multiple reports, the Nationals have agreed to a seven-year contract with Tigers free agent pitcher Max Scherzer worth more than $180 million.

The Washington Post quoted a course as saying the deal is “complicated” and might not be announced immediately.

The Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Tigers reportedly were not among the finalists in the running to land the 30-year-old, who went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA last season, one year after winning the AL Cy Young with a 21-3 record and 2.90 ERA. In seven seasons with the Diamondbacks and Tigers, Scherzer is 91-50 with a 3.58 ERA.

Scherzer turned down a reported $160 million offer from the Tigers last spring, with agent Scott Boras eyeing a record deal for the right-hander.

According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Nationals will have to trade starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman and possibly shortstop Ian Desmond in order to clear up enough money to afford Scherzer.

Peyton Manning, nursing a right thigh injury, told the league he will not play in next weekend’s Pro Bowl in Arizona.

Manning has received 14 Pro Bowl selections, the most every for a quarterback, and he said he takes the recognition “very seriously.” He has never missed a Pro Bowl except when he was preparing for a Super Bowl.

“I’ve believed that, if healthy, it’s a player’s responsibility to play in the game because of what it means to be voted in by your peers and the fans,” Manning said. “I’m disappointed that I’m just not healthy enough this year to be part of it. It’s going to be tough not being down there with the other guys, but it hasn’t had enough time to heal.”

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Read More: Max Scherzer, Peyton Manning, Robert Allenby,
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 6: Patriots lose to Broncos in AFC championship game 12.28.14 at 10:21 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 6: Patriots lose to Broncos in AFC championship game. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Alfonzo Dennard and the Patriots couldn't keep up with Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos in the AFC title game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alfonzo Dennard and the Patriots couldn’t keep up with Demaryius Thomas and the Broncos in the AFC title game. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Patriots’ 2013 season was not quite like the ones fans are used to.

Sure, New England boasted a solid 12-4 record, clinched the AFC East well before season’s end, earned a first-round bye and breezed past its divisional-round opponent to reach its third straight AFC championship game. But this Patriots team limped its way through the season as a group pillaged by losses to a number of key players.

It started with tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was arrested weeks before training camp and subsequently released by the team before being charged with murder. But that was just the start of the Pats‘ woes, as the likes of Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Rob Gronkowski were lost for the season with major injuries.

However, fans still sought that coveted fourth Vince Lombardi trophy after the Patriots won five of their last six regular-season games to win their fifth straight division title, then crushed the Colts, 43-22, led by 166 yards and four touchdowns from LeGarrette Blount.

Up next, as expected, was Peyton Manning and the top-seeded Broncos. It would be the 15th time Tom Brady and Manning would square off, the fourth time they would meet in the playoffs and their second matchup of the season.

The Patriots rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat the Broncos, 34-31, in overtime at Gillette Stadium in the regular season. But with a 13-3 record to end the year, the Broncos hosted the Jan. 19 meeting for the right to play in the Super Bowl.

With all that was unique and difficult about the Patriots’ season, one thing was similar to the year before: It ended with a disappointing loss in the conference title game.

This time, the Broncos manhandled the Patriots defense for 507 total yards in a 26-16 beatdown in a game that wasn’t as close as the scoreboard read.

“You can’t win when you can’t get off the field,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich said after the game. “That’s basic fundamental football. They do a good job of keeping the sticks moving with various formations.”

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets CB Dimitri Patterson returns to team after going AWOL 08.25.14 at 7:34 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Royals, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Manchester City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: US Open, 11 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Dimitri Patterson

Dimitri Patterson

— Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson met with team brass on Sunday night after failing to show up for Friday night’s game against the Giants and having no communication with the team for about 48 hours.

General manager John Idzik said during a conference call prior to Sunday’s meeting that while Patterson had not returned messages from himself and coach Rex Ryan, Patterson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, let them know earlier Sunday that the player was physically OK, although the reason for his disappearance was not made clear.

“I’d like to talk to him so we could figure out what’s behind it,” Idzik said.

Patterson, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal in April and was expected to start in the team’s depleted secondary if he was able to fight through a variety of leg injuries that slowed him down this summer, was last seen at the pregame meal Friday.

“Obviously, as the game went on, we still had major concerns for his health and where he was, but were unable to locate him,” Ryan said.

Added Idzik: “There really wasn’t any warning that we had of something like this,” Idzik said. “There was nothing to indicate this kind of behavior.”

Broncos receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion — his third diagnosed concussion in less than a year — when he was hit by Texans safety D.J. Swearinger, and Peyton Manning was not pleased with the play.

The Denver quarterback let Swearinger know right after the play — on which Swearinger was penalized — then Manning drew a flag for taunting after he yelled at the safety following a touchdown pass on the next play.

On Sunday, Texans coach Bill O’Brien came to the defense of his player.

“D.J. was not trying to do any harm,” O’Brien said. “He was trying to make a play, make a tackle. The call was correct. What you continually have to do is show the guys on tape what a proper tackle is. It’s not leading with the head. It’s hitting with your shoulder and hitting basically between the shoulders and the waist and not above the neck area. But last night’s play was a tough one to say, ‘You were really at fault there.’ ”

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Read More: Albert Ebosse, D.J. Swearinger, Dmitri Patterson, Peyton Manning
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