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Most memorable Super Bowl XLVIII commercials 02.03.14 at 3:08 pm ET
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At a reported $4 million for a 30-second spot, Super Bowl commercials are made to be as entertaining and memorable as possible. For many companies like Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Toyota, Sunday was the biggest night as their ads debuted on national television.

The consensus was that Super Bowl XLVIII’€™s commercials were cleaner and more family-friendly than in years past. GoDaddy, known for showing more risque ads, went with a simple commercial that featured bodybuilders and spray-tanning.

The cast of “Full House,” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis all showed up with some lighthearted humor.

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Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 2: Aaron Hernandez charged with murder 12.31.13 at 10:29 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 2: Aaron Hernandez charged with murder. To see the previous entries, click here.

Aaron Hernandez was cut by the Patriots after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. (AP)

Aaron Hernandez was cut by the Patriots after his arrest in June for the murder of Odin Lloyd. (AP)

On Aug. 27, 2012, the Patriots rewarded tight end Aaron Hernandez, one of the team’€™s most promising players, with a lucrative contract extension. The deal would lock up Hernandez until 2018, paying him $40 million over five years.

“As soon as we started talking about contracts, I was emotional from that day on,” Hernandez said at a preseason gala hosted by the team just after the details of his contract were revealed.

“Honestly, it’s hard for me here [at the gala] to stay, keeping my mind off it, and it’s just, like I said, it’s surreal. Probably when I’m done with this conversation I’ll get some tears in my eyes. But it’s real, and it’s an honor.”

But less than one year later, the 23-year-old Hernandez was in a whale of legal trouble, and football and the monstrous contract he’€™d signed seemed immensely inconsequential. On June 26, Massachusetts State Police took Hernandez into custody on first-degree murder charges and five gun-related charges. Nearly two months later he was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player from Boston who hung around with Hernandez. There also reportedly are ongoing investigations into other shootings in Florida and Massachusetts as well as gun trafficking that have links to Hernandez.

New England acted swiftly, cutting the third-year tight end.

“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss,” the team said in a statement. “Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”

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NFL roundup: Rams QB Sam Bradford tears ACL; Colts WR Reggie Wayne, Bucs RB Doug Martin, Texans LB Brian Cushing, Bengals CB Leon Hall reportedly lost for season 10.21.13 at 11:27 am ET
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After producing three relatively pedestrian NFL seasons to start his career, the Rams’ Sam Bradford had begun showing why St. Louis took him No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft.

Sam Bradford is hit by during Sunday's game. (AP)

Rams QB Sam Bradford was injured after being hit by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell during Sunday’s game. (AP)

But his season was derailed on Sunday, when Bradford suffered a season-ending torn left ACL in the Rams’ 30-15 loss at Carolina. The team confirmed the injury on Monday.

Bradford injured his knee late in the fourth quarter on a quarterback scramble. Before Bradford reached the sideline, safety Mike Mitchell ripped him down to the ground, and Bradford’s knee bent awkwardly. Mitchell was not flagged on the play.

Through seven games, Bradford looked like one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He completed 60.7 percent of his passes, for 1,687 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions for the 3-4 Rams.

Bradford put together a solid, if unspectacular, 2012 season, after a disappointing, injury-shortened year in 2011. Bradford threw for 3,702 yards and 21 touchdowns with 13 interceptions last season. In four seasons, Bradford’s posted an 18-30-1 record as a starter.

Kellen Clemens is the only other quarterback on the St. Louis roster. It’s expected that the Rams will search externally for options. A Mike Silver NFL.com report had Tim Tebow under consideration.

• Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne also reportedly suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Wayne injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of his team’s 39-33 win against the Broncos. Halfway into the fourth quarter, and Indianapolis leading 36-30, Wayne burned his defender on a crossing route and ran unguarded into the middle of the field.

But Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw slightly behind Wayne, and when he attempted to stop for the ball, his knee buckled. The pass fell to the ground, as did Wayne, who walked off on his own power, but left the game.

Luck took blame after the game for the poor throw, and the resulting Wayne injury.

Through seven games, Wayne caught 38 passes for 503 yards and two touchdowns.

• Texans linebacker Brian Cushing cannot catch a break.

One season after suffering a season-ending torn ACL, Cushing reportedly tore his LCL and broke his leg in Houston’s 17-16 loss at Kansas City, ending his season prematurely again.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter, when Cushing came on a blitz and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles went low on a block, resulting in an ugly injury to Cushing’s left leg.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Small group of Jaguars fans rallies for Tim Tebow signing 09.17.13 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Minors: Triple-A championship, Omaha vs Durham, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Leverkusen at Manchester United, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

• A small contingent of fans of the lowly Jaguars, who are 0-2 and have just one touchdown and one field goal from the offense, think they know what can help their team: Tim Tebow.

The fans called for a rally Monday in the parking lot of Jacksonville’s EverBank Field, campaigning for the player who was cut by the Patriots two weeks ago. According to The Florida Times-Union, about 40 fans turned out for the gathering at 3:16 p.m. and stuck around for exactly 3 hours, 16 minutes — a tribute to the John 3:16 biblical verse Tebow wrote on his eyeblack while winning a Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida.

The group says it plans to meet at the same time every Monday to pressure the team to sign the free agent. A post on the group’s website (jags-tebow.com) insists: “Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow behind center in a Jacksonville Jaguar uniform would change everything.”

The team, however, doesn’t appear to be receptive. Said general manager David Caldwell at his introductory press conference in January: “I can’t imagine a scenario where he’d be a Jacksonville Jaguar.”

Coach Gus Bradley acknowledged the team’s issues as the Jags prepare to meet the Seahawks on Sunday, but he implied that the answer needs to come from within.

“It’s not OK where we’re at right now,” Bradley said. “We have to get better and we have a high standard. … The big thing for us is accountability. What are willing to accept and what is our team willing to accept? We’re just trying to figure out, ‘Why is this happening and why is this taking place?’ It comes back to making sure we don’t hurt ourselves.”

• An Upstate New York high school football player, knocked unconscious by a helmet-to-helmet collision in a game last Friday, died Monday.

The family of Damon Janes, a junior running back for Westfield/Brocton High, released a statement Monday that read:

Damon W. Janes, 16, a Junior who attended Brocton Central School, lost his fight and went to be with the Lord following his injury resulting from helmet-to-helmet collision during a Westfield/Brocton varsity football game.

His parents wish to express their gratitude to those who have supported and prayed for Damon and his family, and continue to request that their privacy be respected at this time.

James is the second high school player in less than a month to die after suffering an on-field injury. De’Antre Turman, from Creekside High in Fairburn, Ga., died after fracturing a vertebrae in his upper spinal cord during a scrimmage.

• There has been some support lately for college athletes to be paid, but NCAA president Mark Emmert made it clear Monday that that’s not going to happen.

“One thing that sets the fundamental tone is there’s very few members and, virtually no university president, that thinks it’s a good idea to convert student-athletes into paid employees. Literally into professionals,” Emmert said at a forum at Marquette University. “Then you have something very different from collegiate athletics. One of the guiding principles [of the NCAA] has been that this is about students who play sports.”

With the NCAA facing an antitrust lawsuit from former players who want compensation for use of the likenesses, Emmert acknowledged it’s a difficult time for the organization.

“[There's] enormous tension right now that’s growing between the collegiate model and the commercial model,” he said. “And, by the way, this is nothing new. This tension has been going on forever and ever. It has gotten greater now because the magnitude of dollars has gotten really, really large.

“The most valuable [television] products are things you have to watch in real time, and that’s sports and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ So we’re seeing an explosion in the value of sports media properties and that’s injected a lot of revenue into sports. … That’s led to a lot of the discussion. This whole notion of, first and foremost, treating student-athletes in fair fashion while still maintaining the student-athlete, is at the core of all of this.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 17, 1998, which Red Sox closer set an American League record by recording his 39th consecutive save in a 3-2, 10-inning victory over the Orioles?

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Russian football team makes push for Tim Tebow 09.16.13 at 8:09 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: Steelers at Bengals, 8:25 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Rangers at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Brewers, 8 p.m. (WGN)
NHL preseason: Bruins at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL preseason: Sharks at Canucks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Swansea City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow hasn’t found an NFL team willing to add him to its roster, but apparently there’s some interest in an overseas league.

“We have offered him $1 million for two games,” Moscow Black Storm owner Mikhail Zaitsman told the website Russia Beyond the Headlines. “I talked with him personally and he wanted to go.”

Added Zaitsman: “He says that this is his top choice, but from what we know, it is his only choice.”

Zaitsman is hoping to have Tebow join his team in time to face the Moscow Patriots in the American Football Championship of Russia semifinals on Sept. 28 and then stick around for the title game. He wouldn’t be the only foreigner, as there are a number of Americans on the team and in the league. However, Zaitsman said the holdup is Tebow’s agents.

“They’re thinking of using him as a motivational speaker,” Zaitsman said. “They don’t want him to play football.”

• An Orlando television station apologized for having to broadcast the Jaguars’ 19-9 loss to the Raiders on Sunday. Apparently, many fans were complaining that they would rather watch the Manning Bowl between the Broncos and Giants.

WKMG scrolled a message during the game to explain that the station, located in a secondary Jaguars market, must adhere to NFL policy and air all of Jacksonville’s away games, adding: “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The Jaguars, coming off the worst season in franchise history, scored a league-low two points last week and are 0-2.

• Saturday’s Wisconsin-Arizona State game ended in controversy, as Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave downed the ball with 15 seconds left attempting to set up for a field goal that could have won the game, but the Badgers were unable to run another play an suffered a 32-30 loss.

Stave contributed to the problem because he bumped into a teammate while trying to take a knee, and it wasn’t clear if his knee actually hit the ground before he placed the ball down at the ASU 15-yard line. After a couple of seconds, an Arizona State player jumped on the ball. However, the officials ruled that the play was in fact dead. Yet the refs then failed to blow their whistles or show any urgency in setting up for the next play while the clock ran out.

“It was a shame it went down the way it went down at the end, and that’s really all I want to say about it,” Wisconsin coach Gary Anderson said. “It is a shame it went down that way. We [kneel] with 15 seconds left and never even got a chance to snap it again. I don’t know how that happens.”

The Pac-12 reviews call each Monday, although Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said Sunday that the school already got confirmation from the Big Ten supervisor of officials that the play was handled incorrectly.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 16, 1965, which Red Sox pitcher tossed a no-hitter, beating Luis Tiant and the Indians, 2-0?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow unsure about future 05.10.13 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL playoffs: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN, NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Spurs at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN Plus; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Nationals, 7 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Yankees at Royals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Former Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has offered no clue as to where he might end up next season. (AP)

♦ Free agent quarterback Tim Tebow, in his first public comments since being cut by the Jets, offered no information about where he might play in 2013 as he spoke to students at Lake Michigan College on Thursday.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” Tebow told a crowd of about 3,000 at the school in Benton Harbor, Mich., “but at the end of the day I know who holds my future.”

The Patriots were rumored to be a possible landing spot for Tebow, but a Thursday story by Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver indicated that, according to an organizational source, Bill Belichick “hates” Tebow as a player despite his outward affinity for the individual. The source said about the possibility of Tebow landing in New England: “No chance. Plus they wouldn’t like the circus that comes with it.”

Despite his lack of success in New York last year, Tebow this week was named America’s most influential athlete in a Forbes magazine poll.

“That’s a huge honor,” Tebow said Thursday. “I see it as a great responsibility to be a role model for future generations. That’s something I care about more than winning football games. If I can take the game of football and can transcend football, go to hospitals and make kids smile, I’ll be doing things that matter.”

Added Tebow: “What I want to do with my life is impact lives. When a kid in a hospital is fighting for his life and I’m trying to win a football game, what really matters? This game isn’t as important as a lot of us make it out to be. If I can give him a little bit of hope, I can do something that matters. That’s what I want my legacy to be about. That’s how I want to be remembered.”

♦ Redskins owner Dan Snyder made it clear that he has not softened his opposition to changing the name of his team, despite growing criticism.

“We will never change the name of the team,” Snyder told USA Today. “As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it’s all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season.”

Amanda Blackhorse, a Native American who has filed a federal trademark suit in an attempt to force a name change, told USA Today that she would dare Snyder to call her a redskin to her face.

“I think the best way is to just not comment on that type of stuff,” Snyder responded. “I don’t know her.”

♦ With NBC announcing this week that Carrie Underwood is replacing Faith Hill as the singer for the “Sunday Night Football” theme song, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 sports broadcast theme songs.

No. 1 is the Olympics theme music, followed by “Monday Night Football” and the NBA on NBC.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 10, 1999, which Red Sox player hit three home runs — including two grand slams — and collected 10 RBIs in a 12-4 rout of the Mariners at Fenway Park?

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Steelers’ Ryan Clark predicts problems for Patriots, Tom Brady 05.07.13 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Knicks, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Senators, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Senators, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Wild, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Canucks at Sharks, 10 p.m. (CNBC)
Hockey World Championships: United States vs. Russia, 1 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ryan Clark

♦ Steelers safety Ryan Clark, no stranger to Patriots bulletin boards, offered his analysis of the New England offense during an appearance on ESPN’s “NFL Live” Monday and said Tom Brady‘s job got a lot more difficult this offseason.

“I think what’s really underestimated is Wes Welker’s importance to not only the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady,” Clark said. “A lot of what they do is timing. A lot of what they do is option reads, when you’re working inside against that nickel back or against those linebackers. Losing him is huge.

“I know they think Danny Amendola can come in and have the same type of numbers he had with the Rams, but we also have to remember, he’s fragile. He’s not a guy who has completed a whole season, especially playing inside in what can be a physical AFC East. You also think about [Rob] Gronkowski and the injury; that is going to be bigger than anything for the New England Patriots coming in this year. Also Aaron Hernandez.”

Clark also took a shot at Brady, insisting that the veteran QB can be rattled by pressure.

“In 2010, we saw it start with the Jets in the playoffs. When Tom Brady gets pressure and when you’re man-to-man and bumping those guys and making it hard for him to throw, he sees ghosts,” Clark said. “Even when guys aren’t around him, even when he’s not about to be sacked, when his clock goes off in his head that the ball should be out, we’ll see him duck, we’ll see him flinch. When you get Tom Brady doing that, the whole New England Patriots mystique goes away.”

The Patriots host the Steelers on Nov. 3.

♦ Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to the field Monday for the first time since having surgery on his left hip Jan. 16, working out at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa, Fla.

“It feels good to be back out in uniform,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been a rough stretch with the rehab, obviously. It’s small bites at a time.”

Rodriguez said he’s focused on getting back and redeeming himself for the embarrassing finish to last season, when he was benched during the Yankees’ four-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers in the ALCS.

“I have a lot of unfinished business,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really looking forward to getting back on the field close to 100 percent and being who I am.”

As for the latest controversy — A-Rod reportedly had ties to a since-closed clinic in South Florida that allegedly was dispensing performance-enhancing drugs — Rodriguez offered no insight.

“I can only control what I can control,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really focusing on all the great things that have happened in the game. I’m really focused on getting healthy, and just getting back and helping the Yankees win a championship.”

Forbes magazine released its list of America’s most influential athletes, and Tim Tebow ranks No. 1. The free agent quarterback, who has 2.2 million Twitter followers, was judged as influential by 29 percent of poll respondents.

Tebow is followed on the list by swimmer Michael Phelps, sprinter Usain Bolt, injured Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. The second five consists of Saints quarterback Drew Brees, gymnast Gabby Douglas, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, NBA MVP LeBron James and soccer icon David Beckham.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 7, 1997, which Red Sox catcher — who would go on to greater fame as a member of the Athletics’ “Moneyball” team in 2002 — hit his first career home run (along with his second) in an 11-3 rout of the Twins?

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: New Jets QB Geno Smith fires agents after draft slide 05.01.13 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Knicks, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Pacers, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN, CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Canucks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN Plus; WEEI-AM)
MLB: Nationals at Braves, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Geno Smith says he's happy to be a Jet, but he clearly wasn't happy with how long he had to wait to be drafted. (AP)

♦ New Jets quarterback Geno Smith was disappointed that he lasted until the eighth pick of the second round of last week’s NFL draft. So disappointed, in fact, that he fired his agents.

The former West Virginia star apparently felt he deserved to go No. 1 overall. Instead, he waited in the green room at Radio City Music Hall the entire first day without hearing his name called. He announced plans to go home after Round 1, but he changed his mind and returned Friday.

On Monday, he confirmed a report that he had decided to part ways with his representatives at Select Sports Group.

“I don’t want to shed too much light on it,” he said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “The thing that I can tell you is that it’s not because of the whole draft experience. It’s not because of one particular incident. There are a number of things, and that story, you know, that battle will be fought on a different day. As of right now, I don’t feel too comfortable talking about all the details of it.”

Responded the agency in a statement: “We worked tirelessly for Geno Smith and all of our draft prospects. The NFL draft is unpredictable, and we prepared Geno and all of our draft prospects, as we do every year, about what can happen during the draft. Not only did we tell him that what transpired on the first day of the draft was possible, the question of whether Geno would be a first- or second-round pick was arguably the most talked about subject in the three months leading up to the draft. We wish Geno the best.”

Meanwhile, Jets general manager John Idzik said that the team will have an “open competition” at quarterback, with Smith vying for the starting position along with incumbent Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, David Garrard and Matt Simms.

♦ Speaking of Jets quarterback, the recently released Tim Tebow received a job offer from the Omaha Beef of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. The team called Tebow’s agent’s office with the offer of $75 per game.

The Beef are 5-1 behind quarterback James McNear, who is competing 70 percent of his passes, with 21 touchdowns vs. two interceptions.

Said McNear: “I think Tim can learn a lot from me.”

Jason Collins‘ former fiancee said she did not suspect that he was gay during their eight-year relationship that ended when Collins called off their engagement in 2009. Carolyn Moos, who attended Stanford with Collins and went on to play in the WNBA, said Collins contacted her over the weekend, days before Collins’ first-person account in Sports Illustrated hit the web, and revealed that his homosexuality was the reason for their breakup.

“It’s very emotional for me as a woman to have invested eight years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate, and best friend in him. So this is all hard to understand,” Moos told TMZ, adding. “I care about [Jason] tremendously and only want the best for him. I want Jason to be happy for a lifetime and stay true to who he really is, inside and out.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 1, 1977, Gerry Cheevers and the Bruins blanked the Flyers, 3-0, to sweep the Stanley Cup semifinals in four games. Which Bruin scored two third-period goals (one an empty-netter)?

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: ESPN’s Chris Broussard says Jason Collins is a sinner 04.30.13 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Warriors at Nuggets, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Blues, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jason Collins

♦ Former Celtics center Jason Collins‘ revelation that he is gay led to overwhelmingly positive responses from people in and around the NBA. However, there was one notable exception.

ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard, during an appearance on “Outside the Lines,” offered an objection on religious grounds.

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals,” Broussard said. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. … I think that is walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”

Broussard said there are others in the NBA who agree with him, but some are hesitant to voice their opinion because they are afraid of the backlash.

“Just because they disagree with that lifestyle, they don’t want to be called bigoted and intolerant and things like that,” Broussard said.

Former NBA star Larry Johnson tweeted a mixed message.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox tweeted their support to Collins, offering to have him throw out the first pitch before a game.

Tim Tebow‘s release by the Jets not surprisingly was a huge story on ESPN. The network has been criticized in the past for providing coverage disproportionate to Tebow’s accomplishments in the NFL, and that continued Monday. This time, one of ESPN’s own personalities questioned the strategy.

SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, during his ESPN Radio show Monday, offered his take.

“I vowed when we got up today and saw the news that Tebow’d been released by the Jets we weren’t going to go all in here because he’s a backup quarterback who was responsible for zero touchdowns last year, and if SportsCenter wants to turn it into a carnival in the morning then that’s on them,” Van Pelt said. “I don’t get it, but if you want to talk about that for an hour and not show Golden State highlights, then I would disagree with that and people would be happy I’m not anchoring, ’cause my thing is, show me highlights.”

♦ A Russian soccer official was banned for life for assaulting an 18-year-old player as the final whistle blew during a game in Chechnya. Linesman Musa Kadyrov attacked Ilya Krichmar after a reserves game between Russian Premier League teams Grozny and Amkar Perm. Grozny beat Krichmar’s Amkar Perm team, 2-1.

A Russian Football Association official said the player swore at Kadyrov repeatedly, and then he put the lineman over the edge by insulting his mother. Krichmar was given a retrospective red card.

“Throughout the whole game, the Amkar player was swearing at him, and Kadyrov didn’t signal with his flag once after these actions, instead referring it to the referee,” Russian FA official Lom-Ali Ibragimov said. “Unfortunately, the referee didn’t react.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 30, 1956, the Celtics traded Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks for the No. 1 second overall pick in the draft. Who was that selection?

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Former Celtic Ray Allen shaken by Boston Marathon bombing 04.18.13 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Brewers, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rangers at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Devils at Flyers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Wild at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NHL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ray Allen is in Miami now, but his thoughts were with Boston following the Marathon bombing. (AP)

♦ Former Celtics guard Ray Allen no longer is in Boston, but the victims of the Boston Marathon were on his mind Wednesday night before his Heat played the Magic in Miami.

“We have a family friend that was there, that ran the marathon, and she’s in intensive care now because she lost her leg,” Allen said. “A good friend of mine, one of the managers of his restaurant, the 29-year-old that was killed was his manager. And his assistant chef, I don’t know if he said he lost both his legs or one, but he got hit pretty hard and he’s dealing with that now.”

Allen said he would have been somewhere close to the bomb scene had he still been in Boston, cheering on family members.

“We would have been sitting at the finish line, me and my whole family, waiting on my mom and my wife. … They would have been running if we were in Boston,” Allen sad. “So that presented some anxiety when I thought about it.”

Rasheed Wallace won’t come back to haunt (or help) the Celtics in the playoffs as a member of the Knicks. The 38-year-old forward announced his retirement Wednesday after his final unsuccessful comeback bid — a brief appearance in Monday’s game against the Bobcats. Wallace, who returned from a two-year retirement to join the Knicks this season, missed most of the year with injuries — most recently a broken foot that required surgery in February.

“Rasheed has given this team everything he had,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said in a statement. “He is a winner, true professional and leader on and off the court. Due to his injury, he will not be available to play for us during the playoffs. We owe this season’s success to veterans like Rasheed.”

Wallace, who was a member of the 2009-10 Celtics team that lost in Game 7 of the NBA finals, played 21 games for New York.

♦ Last week, Mark Sanchez‘ personal coach, former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, took some shots at Tim Tebow. “Having Tebow there doesn’t bring anything positive. It just brings distraction,” Sanchez said. “For Mark, the main competition is going to be David Garrard and Greg McElroy.”

On Wednesday, Tebow’s coach, Steve Clarkson, tried to defend Tebow by claiming he was set up to fail. Clarkson also took a swipe at Sanchez, calling him “fragile-minded.”

“I think [Tebow] was purposefully sent to New York,” Clarkson said on a conference call, ignoring Broncos vice president John Elway‘s explanation that Tebow chose New York over Jacksonville. “From the standpoint: You send him to a situation where you have instability with your coach — you don’t know if he’s coming or going. You have a fragile-minded Mark Sanchez at quarterback. You stick Tim Tebow in there and you kill two birds with one stone. So if you’re Denver, you’ve got to be thinking, ‘We send him to New York, we basically kill an opponent and, at the same time, Tim Tebow doesn’t come back to bite us in the proverbial butt, if you will, because he’s not going to make it out of there.’ ”

Clarkson also said the Jets’ limitations on Tebow guaranteed he would not succeed.

“I think in Tim’s case, they walked him into New York and said, ‘We’ve got four plays for you. You execute these four plays and that’s all you’re going to get,’ ” Clarkson said. “Well, when you walk on the field and that’s all you practice, and you don’t get any meaningful reps and you walk into a game and basically the defense is telling your offensive line basically where the ball is going to go, it’s pretty depressing and it doesn’t give you much room for hope. I would hope whoever, wherever he ends up that they give him an opportunity, and I think if they do, they’ll be pleasantly surprised. I think the guy still can play.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 18, 1997, the Bruins fired coach Steve Kasper one week after the season ended with the Bruins failing to make the playoffs for the first time since 1967. Who replaced him?

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