|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ailing Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett ‘concerned’ about future||05.31.13 at 7:56 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB NEtwork)
MLB: White Sox at Athletics, 10 p.m. (WGN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett acknowledged feeling uncertainty about his future after experiencing numbness in the fingers on his right hand over the last 4-5 weeks. The 33-year-old right-hander, who was placed on the disabled list on May 15 with a groin injury, had an MRI that will be reviewed by a nerve specialist in Dallas on Monday.
“Any time something like that happens to your arm or you start losing feeling and stuff … you think about [never pitching again] for sure,” Beckett said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t really want to think like that right now. I want to think about figuring out a way to deal with this.”
Added Beckett: “I’m concerned. I’ve never dealt with anything like this for this amount of time. We’ll just have to see what happens there.”
Beckett, traded from the Red Sox to Los Angeles last August, is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts this season. He’s in the third year of a four-year, $68 million contract.
The Dodgers are 22-30 and in last place in the National League West, 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks.
♦ Jets coach Rex Ryan said it’s too early to tell who’s leading the competition to be the team’s starting quarterback, but Mark Sanchez made it clear what he thinks after Thursday’s practice.
“I’m planning in playing,” Sanchez said, as reported by the New York Daily News. “I’m planning on starting.”
Ryan did acknowledge that Sanchez appears to have regained his confidence after a turnover-prone 2012 season.
“I think he’s done a nice job this offseason,” Ryan said. “I think he’s in great shape. Is he more accurate with the football? I’m not sure what the numbers will say, I really don’t know.”
Meanwhile, second-round draft pick Geno Smith said he would not be disappointed if he’s not starting the opening game Sept. 8 against the Buccaneers.
“Not at all,” he said. “The coaches are going to choose who they feel is best for the team. It’s not my job to really worry about that.
“It wouldn’t hurt my confidence, it just means I need to continue to work hard. It’s going to take time.”
♦ The Clippers’ decision to fire coach Vinny Del Negro last week reportedly was done to appeal to free agent guard Chris Paul, with owner Donald Sterling admitting, “This is a players’ league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win, you have to make the players happy.”
It might have backfired, as Paul reportedly is upset with the team for allowing his name to be linked to the story.
“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” a source told ESPN. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”
The Clippers are said to be considering Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, Alvin Gentry, Nate McMillan, George Karl and Brian Shaw for their vacancy.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 31, 1984, Celtics guard Gerald Henderson stole a crosscourt pass and hit a layup with 13 seconds remaining to tie Game 2 of the NBA finals against the Lakers. The Celtics went on to win the game in overtime and win the series in seven games. Which Laker threw the fateful pass?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jets reportedly ‘can’t wait’ to cut LB Bart Scott||02.08.13 at 8:14 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Clippers at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Bulls at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UNC-Asheville at VMI, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Siena at Loyola (Md.), 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Ducks at Stars, 8:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: UMass-Lowell at Boston College, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: North Dakota at Nebraska-Omaha, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who famously proclaimed “Can’t wait,” after his team upset the Patriots in the playoffs in 2011, will be sent packing as part of the Jets’ offseason purge, according to the New York Daily News.
The loud-mouthed linebacker reportedly will be part of the team’s move to trim $27.7 million from its cap number, with fellow linebacker Calvin Pace and offensive tackle Jason Smith also headed out.
Scott joined the Jets in 2009, following Rex Ryan from Baltimore, where they had teamed up on the Ravens. He has battled the media and even his own team’s fans the past two seasons while the Jets have struggled to live up their hype. Scott has averaged 74.8 tackles in his four seasons in New York, but he had only 60 tackles this past season.
♦ Duke’s homecourt fans, known as the Cameron Crazies, are known for their creative chants, but on Thursday night some of them apparently crossed the line. NC State guard Tyler Lewis, whose grandmother passed away a week ago, was at the free throw line when some fans reportedly started chanting, “How’s your grandma?”
It’s not completely audible on the video, as other fans were chanting “Past your bedtime” or “Bilbo Baggins” to the baby-faced guard. But some people who were there, including a couple of NC State players, insisted that a small group of students started the insensitive chant. Others in attendance, including some defensive Duke fans, denied hearing it.
♦ The saga involving the Arkansas football recruit whose mother wouldn’t sign his letter of intent continued Thursday. Alex Collins got around his mother’s blockade by going to his biological father to have him sign the papers. The mother, Andrea McDonald, responded by hiring a lawyer, which was news to Collins when he held a private event at a sports bar near his South Florida home.
“The last conversation was basically about why I chose Arkansas and why I felt the love at Arkansas. She understood and supported me behind it,” Collins said. “She always supported me, it’s just the fact from her standpoint she wants to make sure this is the right decision for me and I’m not just picking a school and not understanding what I’m getting into. I’m leaving the state and I’m going to be four to five hours plane ride away and she just wants to make sure this is what I really want to do.”
Collins ran for 1,275 yards and 14 touchdowns on 155 carries as a senior at South Plantation High School.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 8, 1960, who was named the first coach in Patriots history?
|Former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says trading for Tim Tebow was his idea||01.30.13 at 1:27 pm ET|
After a disastrous Jets season, trading for Tim Tebow became just one in a long series of missteps the team has made in the last year or so. Still, Tebow’s presence became a sideshow that was a distraction for the Jets throughout the year. Former Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Tuesday, in his first interview since being fired at the end of the season, that acquiring Tebow was his idea.
Jets owner Woody Johnson was previously thought to be the one pushing to trade for Tebow, in an effort to generate publicity, but in fact, Tannenbaum said he brought it up first.
“I’m disappointed it didn’t work out, just like I’m disappointed when certain draft choices don’t work out,” Tannenbaum told ESPNNewYork.com Tuesday. “We put in a lot of time and effort. We had a rationale for it. At the end of the day, it didn’t go as we had planned.”
Tannenbaum said he and coach Rex Ryan had been discussing bringing in a running quarterback even before the Broncos signed Peyton Manning and made Tebow expendable. According to ESPN, they wanted a replacement for Brad Smith, who had run the wildcat in New York through 2010.
“We thought there was a role for [Tebow],” said Tannenbaum. “Working with Rex every day, and seeing the way the league has evolved with the ball being in the quarterback’s hands and making plays with your feet, we thought it would give us a chance to make our offense more dynamic. It just didn’t work out that way.”
The Jets sent a fourth-round pick to Denver and got Tebow, who ultimately participated in only 75 offensive plays this season. Even when Mark Sanchez struggled mightily, he was replaced instead with third-string quarterback Greg McElroy.
Ryan and Sanchez don’t appear to be going anywhere, but Tebow is expected to be traded and Tannenbaum was fired at the end of the season.
“Ultimately, I report to Woody. It was his decision to make,” Tannenbaum said. “I was disappointed, but I totally understood it. I had final say and authority on the football team. We fell short this year, and that’s what happens when you fall short.”
|Jets coach Rex Ryan reportedly caused multi-car pileup last week||01.23.13 at 9:05 am ET|
This offseason just keeps getting worse for Jets coach Rex Ryan, who reportedly ran a red light and caused a three-car accident last week in Bethlehem, Pa.
Police said Ryan was driving his red Mustang through Bethlehem at 6:13 p.m. on Jan. 14 when he allegedly ran the light, crashing into another vehicle and in turn sending it into the third vehicle. Ryan reportedly denied he was speeding, but not that he ran the red light.
According to ESPN New York, Ryan received a written warning for the red light violation. Chief Jason Schiffer of the Bethlehem Police Department verified that there was a a warning issued and told Deadspin the crash is still under investigation.
Ryan has been in the news for a number of things this offseason following the Jets’ 6-10 finish, from the pressure on him to turn around a team in disarray to the fact that he has a tattoo of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey.
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Manti Te’o grants televised interview to Katie Couric||01.21.13 at 7:49 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Jets at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Red Wings at Blue Jackets, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Pacers at Grizzlies, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nets at Knicks, 3:30 pm. (NBATV)
NBA: Spurs at 76ers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Syracuse, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Baylor, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgetown at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Bethune-Cookman at Savannah State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Southern at Alabama A&M, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o will give his first on-camera interview since the dead girlfriend story broke when he and his parents sit down with Katie Couric for an talk that will air on her syndicated show Thursday. Te’o spoke to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on Friday, but he would not consent to having the interview videotaped.
The Notre Dame linebacker has claimed he was the victim of a hoax when he had a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua who he never met and supposedly died from leukemia. He told ESPN that the man behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, reached out to him and apologized.
Meanwhile, Tuiasosopo and his cohorts apparently were still toying with Te’o the night before the national championship game, when they sent Te’o a photo from Notre Dame’s hotel lobby and called him to say they were there waiting to see him. A Notre Dame fan told ESPN that she took the photo of the lobby and sent it to someone claiming to be the sister of Kekua upon a request.
♦ There was speculation earlier this month that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick might be a target of the Jets this offseason, as coach Rex Ryan has expressed his appreciation for Vick’s ability. However, an ESPN report Sunday indicated Vick — should be be released by Philadelphia — is not likely to consider New York.
First off, the Jets would have trouble clearing enough money to pay him. Second, the Jets hired former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to serve in the same role, and Morninweg and Vick apparently did not see eye-to-eye in Philadelphia.
The Jets appear to be stuck with Mark Sanchez, who threw 18 interceptions in 2012 and counts for $12.8 million against the salary cap.
♦ Amherst Regional High School dismissed an assistant basketball coach following an incident last week in which he allegedly told a player to intentionally run into the opposing coach during a game.
Junior Tyrell Jackson was suspended for twice ramming into South Hadley coach Jeff Guiel while heading up the court. Jackson and five teammates told the Springfield Republican that Eric Wheeler requested it because he was upset that Guiel was stepping outside the coach’s box. The players were split about whether Amherst coach Jim Matuszko was aware of the plan, although Jackson had no doubt.
“[Matusko] definitely knew that I was going to do it when I went in,” Jackson said. “As I went in, Wheeler said, ‘Take him out,’ and Matuszko heard [but] didn’t say anything.”
Matuszko denied any involvement, insisting: “If one of our coaches did say that, I certainly didn’t know about.”
After Jackson ran into Guiel a second time just before halftime, the situation escalated, with the coaches sharing angry words and the players coming close to fighting. The referees discussed the incident but did not call anything.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 21, 1954, the NBA All-Star Game went to overtime for the first time. Which Celtic scored 10 points in the extra session and was named MVP after leading the East to a 98-93 victory?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets reportedly struggling to find GM||01.14.13 at 7:41 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Bobcats at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Hawks at Bulls, 9 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Louisville at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Norfolk State at Howard, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Jackson State at Prairie View A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Baylor at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Jets apparently are having real trouble finding someone to take on the challenge of replacing Mike Tannenbaum as general manager.
“They can’t give the position away,” reported Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. “They are now calling back candidates that turned them down, saying please reconsider.”
Glazer noted that the team’s salary cap issues, unbalanced roster, quarterback controversy and media circus have turned off prospective GMs. Add to that the fact that owner Woody Johnson has told candidates they must be able to work with blustery coach Rex Ryan.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, three individuals will have second interviews this week: former Bears GM Jerry Angelo, Steelers director of football and business administration Omar Khan and Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen.
♦ Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony explained his slow start Sunday by noting that he has been on a very restrictive diet for the last two weeks. Anthony said he has not had any meats or carbs for 15 days, a diet that he has tried before.
“I usually do it sometimes just to get some clarity in my life and just spiritual reasons,” Anthony said after scoring 27 points in Sunday’s 100-87 victory over the visiting Hornets. “I’m done now. I can’t do it no more. I surrender.”
Anthony missed seven of his first eight shots and scored just two points in the opening quarter before netting 18 in the second quarter. He helped New York end a three-game losing streak.
“I’m kind of going through something right now with my own self, bring to find some energy and things like that. But we’ll be fine,” Anthony said. “We bounced back pretty well, I bounced back pretty well, stuck with it and won the game.”
♦ The father of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is not happy with how his hometown newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, presented the Irish’s 42-14 loss to Alabama in the national championship game, and he announced a boycott of the paper.
The Star-Advertiser used a photo of Teo on his back on the ground reaching in vain for Alabama running back Eddie Lacy with the headline: BOWLED OVER.
Brian Te’o posted a photo of the paper with this comment on the Manti Te’o official fan club Facebook page:
Our family has been very gracious to the Star Advertiser by providing interviews and photos of our son in the recent weeks. On our way home from Miami we were “privileged” to see how the Star Advertiser returns that favor by posting a photo of our son “presumably” being “bowled over” by the Alabama RB (Eddie Lacy). So, from this point forward, Star Advertiser you have been officially black listed. I will no longer agree to any more interviews, sharing of photos, or anything else, and I will encourage all who have a subscription to your newspaper to not renew. Be more responsible in the future…if you can.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 14, 2007, the Patriots traveled to San Diego and knocked off the Chargers, 24-21, to advance to the AFC championship game. Which receiver — signed as a free agent from the Chargers in the previous offseason — had a huge game for the Patriots, catching a 4-yard touchdown pass with 4:36 remaining and hauling in a 49-yard pass that set up the game-winning 31-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with 1:10 left?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: ESPN fires Rob Parker, apologizes for Brent Musburger||01.09.13 at 7:41 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Lakers at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Mavericks at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Nebraska at Michigan, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Louisville at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa State at Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Minnesota at Illinois, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Arkansas at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: West Virginia at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UNLV at New Mexico, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at California, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Hawaii at UC-Irvine, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Harvard at Boston University, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Two days after Rob Parker went on a Detroit television show and attempted to convince people his comments about Robert Griffin III were taken out of context and that he was not questioning RGIII’s “blackness,” ESPN announced that it was parting ways with the “First Take” panelist.
“Rob Parker’s contract expired at year’s end,” a statement from the network read. “Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew his deal.”
Parker, who had been on the show for six years, was serving a 30-day suspension. A “First Take” producer also reportedly was suspended, apparently due to the fact the show re-aired repeatedly with the offensive comments unedited.
In other ESPN news, the network apologized on Tuesday for announcer Brent Musburger gushing about the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron during Monday night’s national championship game. Katherine Webb, the 2012 Miss Alabama, said she wasn’t offended — and her Twitter following has jumped about 200,000 since she was shown on TV during the game — but ESPN felt the need to silence critics of the announcer’s behavior.
“We always try to capture interesting storylines, and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test,” the statement from ESPN read. “However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far, and Brent understands that.”
♦ Tuesday was a rough day for the NFL’s Ryan family. On the same day the Cowboys announced the firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Jets coach Rex Ryan confirmed that two of his assistant coaches (offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh) would not be retained. The Jets also need to hire a new defensive coordinator to replace Mike Pettine, whose contract expires at the end of this month and is interviewing with the Bills, but apparently it won’t be Rex’s brother, as a New York Daily News reports indicates the Jets will go with Dennis Thurman.
“I inherited a team that was 31st in the league in defense and made them better,” Rob Ryan told ESPNDallas.com. “I [expletive] made them a hell of a lot better. I’ll be out of work for like five minutes.”
Rex Ryan, who has two years and more than $6 million remaining on his contract, acknowledged Tuesday that he had concerns he might not be retained after the Jets’ woeful 2012 season. Now, he has a renewed focus as he looks to turn around the team’s fortunes.
“I’m approaching this day like it’s the first day. Period. Like my first day as a head coach,” he said. “This is a new chance for me. This is a beginning, certainly not an end.”
Ryan also continued to express confidence in his team.
“We are going to be a dangerous football team,” he said. “I can promise you that. I’m going to tell you: You’re not going to want to play the Jets.” Added Ryan: “We’re not going to be bullied. We might not win every game, and no team does. But you’ve got to stand for something. We’re going to be the team you don’t want to play.”
♦ Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain was arrested in his hometown of Decatur, Ala., after he allegedly lied about his identity following a traffic stop for tinted windows. McClain, who was sentenced to 180 days in jail for firing a gun next to a man’s head in 2011 (the case eventually was dismissed after the victim decided to drop the charges), insisted police are out to get him.
“I’m falsely accused of everything,” he told the Decatur Daily. “It’s corrupt. It’s terrible.”
McClain, 23, the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft, was suspended by the Raiders two games late this season after arguing with coach Dennis Allen. He played in 11 games (starting nine), recording 60 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble. He has two years and more than $9 million remaining on his rookie contract.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 9, 1993, who resigned after two seasons as Patriots chief executive officer, clearing the way for the new staff led by coach Bill Parcells?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant mocks rumors of infighting with Dwight Howard||01.08.13 at 8:01 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Lakers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northeastern at Drexel, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Clemson at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ohio State at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Notre Dame at Minnesota (NESN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ On the same day it was revealed that Dwight Howard has a torn labrum and will join Pau Gasol (concussion) on the sideline for at least a week, Lakers star Kobe Bryant tried to downplay rumors of discontent on the team.
Responding to a report that he and Howard did not get along and almost got into a fistfight, Bryant on Monday tweeted a picture of the two pretending to square off in the trainer’s room with coach Mike D’Antoni smiling between them.
“Obviously, there are fake stories coming out, somebody has something against our team,” Howard said. “Me and Kobe don’t have a problem with each other. We’re not beefing. So for somebody to come out with a random story and say me and him got into a fight? It’s ridiculous.”
Said Bryant: “It’s not true. We all try to be professional about what we do. I guess some [journalists] skate around that a little bit.”
The Lakers are 15-18 and in 11th place in the Western Conference.
♦ The Jets made a move to their coaching staff Monday, parting ways with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. A former Patriots backup QB (1978-82), Cavanaugh spent four seasons on the Jets staff, and his contract expires in a few weeks.
There has been speculation that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also will not be retained, following his one season with the team. He has two years remaining on his contract.
Coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday for their overdue season-ending press conference.
♦ ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker, who is serving a 30-day suspension for his racially charged comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, appeared on a Detroit TV show and insisted that his comments were taken out of context.
“It was just a conversation that’s had in the black community when athletes, or famous entertainers or whatever, push away from their people,” said Parker, who previously apologized on Twitter. “And that’s really what it’s about. You saw it with O.J. Simpson, and some other people, where they say, ‘Well, I’m not black. I’m O.J.’ So it’s more about that, not about RGIII and what’s going on. It’s more about this thing that we’ve battled for years and why people have pushed away from their people. It’s more about that.”
Added Parker: “The whole thing is, and I want to make this clear, I wasn’t saying that he wasn’t black enough. And so, when people say that, it’s just not true. I was saying these are the conversations that take place once a guy pushes away. It was never aimed at him, or I was calling him that. I’m saying, these are the conversations that take place.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Giants coach Tom Coughlin in ‘indescribable’ pain over missing playoffs||01.04.13 at 7:32 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Bulls at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Cleveland State at Valparaiso, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Memphis at Tennessee, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Cotton Bowl, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
College hockey: Dartmouth at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. (NESN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ While Jets coach Rex Ryan tried to escape the media in the Bahamas (and was photographed displaying an arm tattoo of his wife wearing only a Mark Sanchez Jets jersey), Giants coach Tom Coughlin talked Thursday about how distraught he is over his team missing the playoffs.
“I can’t even describe how it hurts. I don’t know what to do,” Coughlin said in an interview on New York sports radio station WFAN. “I’m walking around here like a crazy man. I am. I don’t know what to do with myself. We shouldn’t be doing this right now. The pain of it is almost indescribable.”
The defending Super Bowl champions lost five of their final eight games to squander their chance to defend their title.
“For us, right now, to not be in the playoffs; to be the Super Bowl champion and not be in the playoffs, if that doesn’t bring you down to earth and create the kind of humility that comes along with getting your nose back to the grindstone, I don’t know what does,” Coughlin said.
♦ The baseball field carved into a cornfield at an Iowa farm for the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was sold last week for $3.4 million to an investment group out of Chicago that includes Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.
An estimated 65,000 tourists travel to Dyersville, Iowa, each year to see the field. The new ownership group, which goes by the name of Go the Distance Baseball LLC and is led by CEO Denise Stillman, plans to develop the complex into 24 youth baseball and softball fields ad call it All-Star Ballpark Heaven.
Don and Becky Lansing put the 193-acre property on sale a couple of years ago, asking $5.4 million.
“My family’s farm has been part of the landscape for more than a century,” Don Lansing said in a statement. “I have been honored to care for it my entire life and know the Stillmans and their group will care for the movie site like I did.”
♦ The 9-year-old Utah girl who became an Internet sensation after highlights of her dominating boys in youth games hit the web was invited by the NFL to attend this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans. Sam Gordon already attended a Giants game in New York with commissioner Roger Goodell, and now she’s receiving tickets to the title game.
“I think it’s going to be really cool,” Gordon said. “Plus, I get to sit next to the NFL commissioner, maybe.”
Gordon’s father, Brent, said the family saw Goodell the day after the Giants game while touring the NFL offices, and the commissioner hinted what was to come.
“As we were leaving, Roger Goodell walked in and said, ‘Sam, would you like to go to the Super Bowl? Well, maybe you should ask Santa Claus,’ ” Brent Gordon said.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 4, 1985, the Celtics honored Red Auerbach by retiring which number?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Saints LB Jonathan Vilma gets in dig at Jets while criticizing anonymous teammate||01.03.13 at 7:51 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
College football: Fiesta Bowl, Oregon vs. Kansas State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Northeastern at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Arizona, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Stanford at USC, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ An anonymous Saints player blasted first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in a New Orleans Times-Picayune story than ran Wednesday, and that did not sit well with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
“I’m bothered you reported it,” Vilma told the paper. “We’re not the Jets, who run to the media for everything.”
Under Spagnuolo, the Saints defense was ranked last in the NFL in total defense and allowed the most yards ever in one season (7,042). The unnamed player criticized Spagnuolo for his performance and his personality.
“He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap,” the player said. “[Spagnuolo has] no patience and zero personality. [He] has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. [I] think it’s even harder after having [former defensive coordinator] Gregg [Williams], who guys enjoyed.”
Meanwhile, Williams, who left his position with the Saints for the same job with the Rams a year ago but was suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal, will not return to St. Louis, according to a report from Fox Sports. Williams’ son, Blake, who was the Rams’ linebackers coach this past season, also reportedly will not be retained.
♦ The Jets get criticized for talking to the media too much, and now they might get fined for not talking enough. With Rex Ryan reportedly vacationing in the Bahamas while owner Woody Johnson searches for a new general manager, the team has yet to hold a season-ending press conference. The Jets scheduled a conference for Tuesday, but the league mandates it must be held within a week after the final game.
Ryan received a public vote of confidence from Johnson in a team statement on Monday, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty regarding the rest of the coaching and front office staff.
“Everyone is in limbo,” a source told ESPN.
♦ Adrian Peterson, who rushed for the second-most yards in a single NFL season (2.097), wants to contribute to the Vikings in another way. The running back acknowledged Wednesday that he’s been pushing for a chance to help on special teams.
“For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get in on field goal block,” Peterson said. “Come in off the edge, you know? It’s just going to take one block for them to really be like, ‘OK, you know what? Let’s take the chance and let you go out there and get it done. Kickoff return, I wouldn’t mind getting back there. I’m in it to win.”
Peterson, who returned 16 kickoffs as a rookie in 2007 (averaging 25.8 yards), isn’t likely to have his request approved by coach Leslie Frazier, especially after Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm while blocking for an extra point earlier this season.
“He always asks,” special teams coach Mike Priefer said. “He’s a football player. Gunner, field goal block, returner. The guy is awesome. I always say yes, and then I ask the head coach and he says no. I know what the answer is going to be. I don’t even have to ask.”
Countered Peterson: “I believe in having your best players on the field, especially in critical times. You never know what can happen.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 3, 1998, the Patriots lost to the Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs, 7-6. Which Patriots receiver set a team playoff record (since broken) with nine receptions for 104 yards?
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