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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Shocked Chiefs attend memorial service for Jovan Belcher 12.06.12 at 8:03 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.

NFL: Broncos at Raiders, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Knicks at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Vanderbilt at Xavier, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Long Beach State at Syracuse, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


‘™¦ Chiefs players and staff attended a private memorial service Wednesday for Jovan Belcher, the linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then himself over the weekend.

General manager Scott Pioli gave a eulogy for Belcher during the one-hour service. Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel tried to calm Belcher before the player shot himself in the stadium parking lot on Saturday.

‘€œIt was rough on him,’€ Hall of Famer Bobby Bell said of Pioli. ‘€œIt’€™s a sad situation. You never want to be put under those situations. ‘€¦ You don’€™t want to see things like that. For him to get up and say something, I don’€™t know how he got through it.’€

Chiefs players attending the service had little or nothing to say, but Bell summed up their feelings.

‘€œYou don’€™t wish this on anyone,” said Bell, a Chiefs linebacker/defensive end from 1963-74. “He’€™s done what he did, and it’€™s over with, and now we have to sit back and see where we go from here. I’€™m in a daze. ‘€¦ I can’€™t understand a young kid, 25 years old ‘€¦ his life is in front of him, and for it to be cut this short.

‘€œNow the team has to move forward. It’€™s tough on them. A lot of the guys ‘€¦ when you see somebody and played with them, your buddy, your friend ‘€¦ he was just too young, man.’€

Meanwhile, it was reported Wednesday that the estate of guardian of Belcher’s infant daughter will receive more than $1 million under terms of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.

‘™¦ Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who served jail time after accidentally discharging a gun at a nightclub when he was with the Giants, talked about NFL players and guns in the wake of the Belcher murder-suicide. Burress said he didn’t think NFL players would change their attitudes despite the tragedy in Kansas City.

“Things like this happen to people every day,” Burress told USA Today. “It just happened to be Jovan, somebody that we knew. That’s why we’re having this discussion. But it goes on in society all the time.”

Added Burress: “It’s not really the culture of the NFL, it’s about what’s going on in society today.”

‘™¦ Gerald Wallace became the second NBA player to be fined for flopping, joining Nets teammate Reggie Evans on the list of offenders. Wallace was fined $5,000 Wednesday, after the league reviewed his third-quarter dive while guarding LeBron James during Saturday’s 102-89 loss to the Heat. Wallace’s first flop came during a 96-89 overtime victory over the Knicks, when he was defending Carmelo Anthony.

The Nets are the only team with more than one player who violated the new rules.

‘™¦ Utah State basketball player Danny Berger was in critical condition Wednesday after collapsing at practice a day earlier. The 22-year-old junior had to be revived via CPR and a defibrillator after he stopped breathing.

Berger’s older brother, John, read from a prepared statement Wednesday and thanked assistant athletic trainer Mike Williams for his prompt response.

“He saved my brother’s life and I thank God for him,” an emotional John Berger said.

Wednesday night’s scheduled game at Brigham Young was postponed due to Berger’s situation.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 6, 1976, the Red Sox traded a young Cecil Cooper to the Brewers for which two players?

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Read More: Danny Berger, Gerald Wallace, Jovan Belcher, Plaxico Burress
Former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer, ex-Jets WR Plaxico Burress work out for Steelers 11.20.12 at 1:35 pm ET
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The Steelers, desperate for help at quarterback and wide receiver following a series of injuries, worked out ex-Giants and Jets receiver Plaxico Burress and former Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer on Tuesday. Wide receiver Derrick Williams and quarterback Mike Kafka also attended the workout.

“We’re looking at these guys with the potential to sign at least one at each position,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “The men we will acquire will fortify our depth to win this football game” against the Browns on Sunday.

Byron Leftwich, who was filling in at quarterback for injured start Ben Roethlisberger, suffered two cracked ribs in Sunday night’s loss to the Ravens. Receiver Jerricho Cotchery sustained multiple rib fractures in the same game. And receiver Antonio Brown has missed the last two games with a high-ankle sprain and is not expected to play Sunday.

Roethlisberger, out with injuries to his shoulder and ribs, is not expected back soon, but Tomlin said he had additional tests Tuesday and, “We are encouraged with his status.”

Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Brian Hoyer, Byron Leftwich, Plaxico Burress
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Spurs’ Tony Parker sues NYC nightclub for $20 million 06.22.12 at 7:09 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.

MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB)
MLB: Cubs at Diamondbacks, 9:30 p.m. (WGN)
NHL: 2012 draft, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Track: U.S. Olympic trials, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)

MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:15 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
MLB: Blue Jays at Marlins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Diamondbacks, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLS: Revolution at Toronto FC, 5:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Track: U.S. Olympic trials, 8 p.m. (NBC)

MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN, TBS; WEEI)
MLB: Brewers at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Track: U.S. Olympic trials, 7 p.m. (NBC)


‘™¦ Spurs guard Tony Parker on Thursday filed a lawsuit against a New York City nightclub for $20 million after he received a scratched retina during a fight involving singer Chris Brown and hip-hop star Drake last week. The dispute apparently centered around the singer Rihanna, who both Brown and Drake have dated. Parker accused the W.i.P. club in SoHo of being negligent in security and supervision for allowing the fight to happen.

Police say members of Drake’s entourage stopped Brown as he was leaving, and the situation escalated into a fight in which bottles were thrown. Brown, his girlfriend and his bodyguard were injured along with five others.

“The defendants were reckless, careless and negligent in permitting Drake’s entourage and Brown’s entourage to be in the club at the same time despite known tension between the two,” the filing states.

Parker has said he was “with my friend Chris Brown” when the player “took some punches.” He said his eye did not bother him at first but got worse, so he sought treatment in Paris after arriving there to work out with the French Olympic team. He said he will be sidelined for a week as he heals with the aid of a “therapeutic” contact lens.

‘™¦ Plaxico Burress is a man without a team, and the former Jets wide receiver continues to offer warnings for prospective employers with his behavior during interviews. Appearing on ESPN’s “First Take,” Burress made it clear what he thinks of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Burress posted career lows in catches and receiving yards last season in New York.

Asked if he thinks Sanchez is good enough to get the Jets to the Super Bowl, Burress said: “I think the defense will. I think they definitely have a Super Bowl defense.”

Burress wasn’t that high on Tim Tebow, either, noting that receivers want to play with a QB who is more of a pure passer.

“As a starting wide receiver in the NFL< you walk out there on Sunday and line up ‘€¦ it’s not Peyton Manning back there,” he said.

‘™¦ Charles Barkley is impressed with the NBA champion Heat, but not their fans. During an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C., Barkley talked about LeBron James‘ departure from Cleveland to Miami.

“I wish he had stayed in Cleveland because those fans in Cleveland, man, they’re fantastic,” he said. “They don’t even have real fans here in Miami, they’re front-runners.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 22, 1979, the World Hockey Association ceased operations and sent four teams to the NHL, including the Hartford Whalers. What were the three other teams?

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Read More: Charles Barkley, Chris Brown, Drake, Mark Sanchez
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rays reliever Joel Peralta ejected for pine tar on glove 06.20.12 at 7:55 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: Marlins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Braves at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Tigers, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Cubs at White Sox, 8 p.m. (WGN)
NHL: Awards show, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Rays pitcher Joel Peralta was ejected from Tuesday night’s 5-4 victory over the Nationals after umpires found “a significant amount of pine tar” on his glove when he entered the game in the eighth inning. Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010, appears to have been exposed by a former teammate, as Washington manager Davey Johnson requested the inspection after “a rumor that he liked a little pine tar.”

Peralta tipped his cap to the Nationals dugout as he left the field.

“Good for them,” he said later. “They still lose the game.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon insisted that it’s a “common practice” for pitchers to use pine tar, and he called Johnson’s actions “cowardly.” Maddon also requested a check of Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus‘ glove in the ninth inning (umpires found nothing).

“Insider trading, man. It’s bush,” Maddon said. “It’s bogus. That’s way too easy, right there.”

‘™¦ Controversial wide receiver Plaxico Burress remains unsigned, but he insists it’s because he’s looking for the “right fit.”

“I’€™ve been around and I understand the game from a mental standpoint, I’€™m very knowledgeable about the guys out there that are playing,” Burress told Charlotte radio station WFNZ. “I know what they do well and what they don’€™t do well and I just want to put myself in a position to go out and have success and to go out and make guys around me better. And obviously play with a quarterback who can really play the position. It’€™s about me picking my spots and seeing where I’€™m a good fit.”

Burress, who said he would “love to come play” in Carolina, had 45 catches for 612 last season with the Jets after returning following a prison sentence for bringing a gun to a nightclub that caused him to miss two seasons.

“I’€™m going to be better than that this year,’€ said Burress, who also has played for the Steelers and Giants. ‘€œTeams haven’€™t seen me, what kind of shape I’€™m in, haven’€™t seen me work out, and all I keep doing is going and going. I have my legs back and everybody is going to be in for a pleasant surprise when I hit the football field this year.”

‘™¦ A juror in the Roger Clemens trial spoke Tuesday and said the government was fighting an uphill battle from the start, because the jurors “didn’t see anything to be prosecuted.”

Meanwhile, defense attorney Rusty Hardin said he and other lawyers met with jurors at a Washington sports bar Monday night and they “agreed with everything I have been screaming about for 4½ years.”

Said Hardin: “The government shouldn’t have done it. It was totally wrong.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 20, 1980, the Angels routed the Red Sox, 20-2. Which unlikely Angels infielder led the onslaught with three home runs and a double?

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Read More: Davey Johnson, Joe Maddon, Joel Peralta, Plaxico Burress
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Singer tells Jonathan Papelbon to get new closer song 03.07.12 at 7:35 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.

NBA: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Hawks at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Grizzlies at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Big East tournament, West Virginia vs. UConn, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Georgetown vs. Pittsburgh, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Louisville vs. Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NEC championship, Robert Morris at LIU, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Villanova vs. South Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Big Sky championship, Weber State at Montana, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Dropkick Murphys lead singer Ken Casey said Jonathan Papelbon can no longer use “Shipping up to Boston” as his entrance song now that the closer has left the Red Sox for the Phillies. “That’s not Pap’s song,” Casey said. “That’s the [Boston] closer’s song.”

Casey, a huge Boston sports fan, said he plans to meet with Papelbon to finalize plans for the player to be a spokesman for the Philadelphia branch of The Claddagh Fund, a charity Casey founded. Casey also said he’ll help Papelbon find a new song, while offering “Shipping up to Boston” to new Sox closer Andrew Bailey.

‘™¦ Jets free agent receiver Plaxico Burress, who last week expressed an interest in playing for the Eagles, said it’s a “great possibility” that he would return to his previous team, the Giants. Burress was a member of the Giants when he received a prison sentence for bringing a loaded gun to a nightclub (and accidentally shooting himself).

The 34-year-old claimed it was his decision not to sign with the Giants last offseason, after he was released from prison.

“I don’t have any regrets at all,” Burress said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It was a decision that I made personally not to go back at that time. ‘€¦ I just kind of said to myself I just wanted to go somewhere and have a fresh start, and just go out and let everything kind of be new to me. That was basically the reason I didn’t turn to the Giants. I don’t have anything against them personally. Just for those guys to bring me back and talk to me and see if I wanted to come back, I have enough respect for those guys just off of that alone. But I just made a decision to go somewhere and have a fresh start.

“And I made the decision to go to the Jets. Like I said earlier, they’re a championship-caliber football team and I believe they will win a Super Bowl one day. And when free agency starts, we’ll see who the guys are who are knocking on the door.”

‘™¦ The city of Sacramento officially approved the deal to build a new arena and keep the Kings, with the City Council voting 7-2 Tuesday to approve the plan. That set off a celebration outside the chambers and downtown. “Long live Sacramento, and long live the Kings!” shouted Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who returned home and helped broker the deal.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 7, 1995, which Celtic became the ninth NBA player to record 25,000 career points when he netted 19 during a 115-10 loss to the Knicks?

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Casey, Kevin Johnson, Plaxico Burress
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Shaquille O’Neal tosses bouquet to Kobe Bryant 11.29.11 at 7:55 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.

NHL: Penguins at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Versus)
College basketball: Duke at Ohio State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Shaquille O’Neal is making the rounds promoting his book “Shaq Uncut,” in which he takes some shots at former teammate Kobe Bryant. However, during an appearance on Los Angeles’ KTLA television Monday, Shaq acknowledged Kobe’s status at top Laker. “Based on what he’s done, he’s probably the greatest Laker of all-time,” O’Neal said. “If he gets another championship, he’ll tie with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar, with six]. That will put him up there.”

Added O’Neal: “It’s a different kind of great. He had the skills to be an all-around player. I’m just a big man so I just do big-man stuff. I’m just in the big-man category.”

‘™¦ Bills receiver Stevie Johnson acknowledged his mistake in taunting the Jets during his touchdown celebration Sunday, when he pretended to shoot himself in the leg to mock Jets receiver Plaxico Burress, then did the Jets’ “flight” celebration before crashing to the ground. Burress, who said Johnson called to apologize, continued to take the high road Monday.

“I don’€™t think he took consideration for everything that happened to me when he did it,’€ Burress said. ‘€œAnd I think a day later he’€™s realized what he did and how he made himself look — he embarrassed his team, his organization, his players, his coaches and everything like that. But those are things you learn; it’€™s being young and being immature at times.”

But if it happened when Burress was younger? ‘€œOh, man, I probably would have met him outside before he got on his bus,’€ he said.

Some of Burress’ teammates were not as forgiving of Johnson. Nose tackle Sione Pouha found the “flight” part especially insensitive.

“Us being from New York, we like to hold ourselves to some integrity, and that airplane thing, in my opinion, was kind of a dagger considering the circumstances of remembrance of what we just had on Sept. 11,” Pouha said. “It was just unprofessional. We all stand for pride around here, and that’€™s a sacred moment for a lot of people and it’€™s a very sobering moment.”

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Read More: Bernie Fine, jim boeheim, kobe bryant, Plaxico Burress
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Bills’ Stevie Johnson admits celebration ‘a stupid decision’ 11.28.11 at 7:47 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

College basketball: Xavier at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Lightning at Wild, 7:30 p.m. (Versus)
NFL: Giants at Saints, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)


‘™¦ Bills receiver Stevie Johnson made fun of Jets counterpart Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg during a first-half touchdown celebration Sunday. He then mocked the Jets’ “flight” celebration and flopped on the ground, drawing a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. It led to great field position for the Jets, and they cashed in with a touchdown en route to a 28-24 victory.

“I was just having fun, and part of having fun ended up being a penalty and a touchdown for the Jets,” Johnson said. “It was a stupid decision by myself.”

Johnson, who dropped a potential winning touchdown pass in the final minute, said his celebration wasn’t meant as a personal knock on Burress, who served jail time for bringing a loaded gun to a nightclub.

Burress, who said he wasn’t aware of Johnson’s actions, didn’t appear offended.

“I’ve seen worse, and I’ve heard worse. So, it doesn’t bother me at all,” Burress said. “The result I’m looking at is we won the football game. I mean, I’ve already been through the ringer with that whole situation, so I’ve dealt with it accordingly and put those things behind me. You’re going to see things, you’re going to hear things, or whatever it may be, but it doesn’t bother me at all.”

In the Buffalo News, columnist Jerry Sullivan writes that Johnson’s antics and drops are starting to wear thin.

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Read More: Plaxico Burress, Steve Johnson,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Michael Vick most disliked NFL player in poll 11.08.11 at 7:32 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.

No games scheduled


‘™¦ Michael Vick might be rebuilding his image after his prison stint, but in the eyes of many people he has a long way to go. Forbes magazine has results of a poll of the most disliked players in the NFL, and the Eagles quarterback ranked first, with 60 percent of respondents saying they disliked him. Women were especially disapproving of Vick, with 70 percent viewing him negatively.

Vick is followed by Jets receiver Plaxico Burress and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Two first-year Patriots are on the list. Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth checks in at No. 4, with a 46 percent disapproval rating, and receiver Chad Ochocinco is sixth at 35 percent.

‘™¦ Michael Jordan‘s image has been taking quite a hit the past few days, as reports emerged that the Bobcats owner has been taking a hard line toward negotiations with NBA players. This despite that fact that when he played, he showed no sympathy toward owners who could not turn a profit. Onetime Celtic Stephon Marbury, asked on Twitter about Jordan, tweeted: Mike has never been with the real. Mike lives up there in the air up there. He can’t come down.

‘™¦ Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 football/academic powerhouses, giving equal weight to the NCAA’s graduation success rate and Jeff Sagarin‘s computer rankings. Stanford is No. 1, followed by Notre Dame and TCU. Boston College, despite ranking near the top in GSR, is nowhere to be found on the list due to its on-field struggles.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 8, 2000, which player was named the 16th captain in Bruins history?

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Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Ochocinco, Michael Jordan
Plaxico Burress criticizes Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning in interview 09.09.11 at 2:35 pm ET
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Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress bashed Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning in an interview with Men’s Journal that is set to be published in October. Burress said that both Coughlin and Manning did not support the wideout when he was sent to prison on a gun charge back in 2009.

Burress told the magazine that Coughlin is “not a real positive coach,” and he wished Coughlin had shown some concern when Burress accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub back in November of 2008. Burress also said that Manning never visited or tried to contact Burresss while he was in jail. This disappointed Burress, who described himself as Manning’s “biggest supporter” during his time as a Giant.

Despite the harsh words, Burress and Coughlin have met since Burress was released from jail back in June and became a free agent — and after Burress did the interview — and the wide receiver has said that the meeting helped clear the air between them. Burress also said that he and Manning recently ran into each other at a movie theater and had a friendly conversation.

Read More: Eli Manning, Plaxico Burress, Rumor Mill, Tom Coughlin
Plaxico Burress on passing over Giants: ‘I just needed a fresh start’ 08.25.11 at 12:14 pm ET
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Returning to the NFL this season after a two-year absence, Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress said that rejoining the Giants was never an option, according to the New York Daily News.

“Personally, I think I just needed a fresh start,” Burress said. “If I wanted to go somewhere and make money, I could have went a couple of other places and got a two- or three-year deal, different things like that. But I just wanted an opportunity to go somewhere fresh and have an opportunity to play for a great organization and a great coach in Rex [Ryan] and a great team.”

Added Burress: “There’s no anger over there toward anybody [with the Giants]. Everything that happened to me, I brought it on myself.”

Burress missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons because he was in prison after accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a New York club in November 2008. He was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and a single count of second-degree reckless endangerment.

He has been in the league for nine seasons. Burress played for the Steelers from 2000-04 and the Giants from 2005-08. Over the course of his career he has caught 505 passes and scored 55 touchdowns.

Read More: Plaxico Burress, Rumor Mill,