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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Ray Lewis calls out Patriots again, questions ‘integrity of this game’ 01.26.15 at 8:15 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Jazz, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Delaware State at NC Central, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Army at American, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Prairie View A&M at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Australian Open, 9 p.m., 3 a.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ray Lewis is at it again, criticizing the Patriots and questioning their integrity.

Lewis, now an ESPN analyst after retiring from the Ravens, said during Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl pregame show that the Patriots should have an asterisk for their alleged role in Deflategate.

“Every time we talk about the Patriots, you have the Patriots fans … you get all the talk about the jealous of them and all that. I won two Super Bowls, I’ve been Defensive Player of the Year, I’ve been MVP of the Super Bowl, I’ve went to New England and won … so I’€™m not jealous of them at all,” Lewis said.

“But the integrity of this game. Marshawn Lynch … the league clearly said to him, ‘If you come out of the tunnel with those shoes on, we will not only suspend you for this game, but we will suspend you for the Super Bowl.’ Now we’€™re back at another place where we let a team go into an AFC championship, and if it’s proven that they played with deflated balls … because if it’€™s not cheating, then the Colts should have had the same option to play with the same balls. So we’€™re at a place now where we’€™re going to celebrate an organization once again, put an asterisk by it, because they went into a championship game.

“The integrity of this game! That’€™s not the way you go into games trying to win football games.”

Lewis was criticized earlier this month when he claimed that the tuck rule is “the only reason we know who Tom Brady is.” He later issued a “clarification” in which he praised Brady’s accomplishments and called him “one of the all-time greats.”

— After reportedly failing another drug test, troubled Browns receiver Josh Gordon could face a one-year suspension from the league.

“Clearly we are very disappointed to hear the latest report regarding Josh,” the Browns said in a statement Sunday. “At this point, due to the confidential nature of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, we have not been made aware by the league of a failed test. We are in the process of gathering more information and will provide further comment at the appropriate time.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Josh Gordon, Ray Lewis, Tom Brady
Thinking Out Loud: We’ll never get complete truth about Deflategate 01.23.15 at 12:49 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud . . . while wondering whatever happened to John Linehan …

— The NFL’s investigation into Deflategate against the Patriots? It’s the first league investigation of improperly deflated balls that didn’t involve use of PEDs. Just sayin’.

— I get the integrity/fair play/honesty part. But having covered the NFL for more than 30 years now, I also understand what people do to gain an edge. The Patriots push the envelope as much as any team or organization I’ve ever seen … maybe as much as I saw the Oklahoma Sooners push it in the 1970s and ‘€˜80s under Barry Switzer. They were real, straight-out-of-the-West outlaws. It doesn’t make it right, but few teams with a winning mentality want to be left behind.

— If there was a willful violation of the rules that occurred, that’s one thing. If someone within the Patriots organization purposely flaunted the rulebook, well, they’ll pay. It doesn’t mean the players are all cheaters, or the coaches, or the announcers or the fans. I don’t believe we’ll ever get the exact answer we’re looking for. In this case, it makes the current mob mentality of the media a real embarrassment … and a byproduct of the digital era of immediacy in which we currently live. We want answers, and we want them now … in 140 characters or less. The truth, and the search for the truth be damned.

— It seems that most in the national media throwing their darts toward New England have forgotten a few things along the way. The Colts, at one time, allegedly piped in crowd noise to their stadium for an advantage. There also were real strong thoughts on Indy purposely losing in 2011 to gain an advantage in the Andrew Luck derby. How does the old saying go? Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones? Make note, NFL. Stupid is as stupid does.

— The national pundits have proven themselves to be nothing more than sanctimonious windbags this week, in reacting to this story. Forfeit the Super Bowl? Year-long suspensions? Over two pounds of air in a football? Yeah, let’s make this more important than PED use in the sport or domestic violence. Guys like Michael Wilbon and Stephen A. Smith — who I have respected as reporters and columnists for a long time — are simply throwing these things out there for shock factor … to gain ratings and notoriety as the media helps stir this story into a big deal.

— And the former football players’ comments on all of this? It’s laughable. For instance, former Jacksonville QB Mark Brunell — who lost an AFC title game to NE in 1996 — said he “did not believe what Tom [Brady] had to say.” Why don’t you at least have the guts to call him a liar? Jerome Bettis, who also lost a couple of big ones to the Patriots as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and whose teams reportedly had rampant PED use throughout the roster: “I’m disappointed in you, Tom Brady.” Really, fellas? I’m disappointed in the four-letter network that gave you a voice.

— Get a clue. We don’t like it because it affects us. But it is a story because of Spygate. It is a story because of the tuck rule. It is a story even because of the 1982 Snow Plow Game. It is a story because the Patriots win — a lot — especially over the past 20 years. It’s a story because everyone loves to see the king fall on his crown, so to speak, whenever possible. Cheating? If I wanted to cheat, I’d do more than just deflate some footballs … and I think the same holds true for Bill Belichick. My guess is he knows exactly what other teams do during the course of a season — to his team and others — but he’s not a rat. Like former J-E-T-S coach Eric Mangini was a few years ago, and like some in other organizations are now.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady
Thinking Out Loud: No reason for new owners to move PawSox 01.09.15 at 3:12 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Nelson de la Rosa.

— The U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to select Boston as the potential host city for the 2024 Olympic Games is a stunner. I’m speechless. OK, not really. But it doesn’t mean the Olympic Games are coming here. It means there’s a chance they do. Boston has to beat out Paris, Berlin, Rome, Istanbul, Melbourne and perhaps South Africa, too — and Paris would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its previous role as host (1924). Frankly, that’€™s tough competition. But in beating out Washington, San Francisco and two-time Olympic host city Los Angeles for the U.S. candidate bid, well, that’s still wicked pissah.

— This will be debated ad nauseam over the next few weeks, months and years — the International Olympic Committee won’t make the call on the host city until September of 2017 — but if the U.S. is expecting real New Englanders to embrace this bid? To get behind it? To root for it? To show national pride? To spend their tax dollars? To willingly put up with construction congestion and traffic snarls? Well, the latter already is a way of life around here. Whatevah.

— After watching a story on the local news this past week, I cannot imagine, under any set of circumstances, why any potential new owner(s) of the Pawtucket Red Sox would consider moving the team from Pawtucket and McCoy Stadium. This would be devastating news for Pawtucket, and for Rhode Island. Even if the stadium lease can be voided (reportedly it was renewed to 2021), why would a new ownership group do that?

— Part of the attractiveness of a place like McCoy — and many other minor league ballparks — comes from the “old school” feel the stadium gives you and gives to the sport — even after the wildly successful renovations to the old stadium back in 1999. The prices remain affordable for those who can’t (or won’t) spend the big bucks on a trip to Fenway. The team is ultra-competitive, the players often make the short trip up I-95 to help the big club. These factors make the relationship between the big league Sox and the minor league Sox one of the most unique in all of sport — and, of course, in all of baseball.

— If the new owners are from the Boston Red Sox ownership group — reported to be the case — what more do they need here? To be closer to Fenway? More money? Higher ticket prices? New fan base? Total control and world domination? It’s already a “model franchise,” considered one of the best in the country. Where would a new stadium be located — and would the community support the team like Pawtucket has done through thick and thin since 1977, when the late Ben Mondor purchased a dirty piece of coal and transformed it into an absolute diamond gem of an organization?

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Read More: John McDonald, Mike Piazza, Olympics, Pawtucket Red Sox
The year in Boston sports: Most memorable games of 2014 12.31.14 at 11:13 am ET
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This past year was not always the most friendly to Boston-area teams, but that did not mean 2014 was not without the excitement of thrilling games.

The Red Sox battled through a rebuilding season, while the Patriots and Bruins excelled and played in many important games, including the playoffs. The Revolution even made it all the way to the MLS Cup and Boston College and Harvard had exciting upsets that shocked the college sports world.

Here are the most memorable games, wins and losses, for Boston’s teams during the 2014 calendar year.

10. (tie) April 4, MLB: Brewers 6, Red Sox 2

An early ceremony was spoiled by a late comeback during the home opener at Fenway Park. The Red Sox celebrated their 2013 World Series title and received their rings before this game, but that was the only positive on this day.

Unlike their 2013 run, there was no magic ending on this day. Edward Mujica entered the ninth inning in a 2-2 game and imploded, allowing four runs in the final frame. The Brewers celebrated a 6-2 win and the Red Sox were left shaking their heads.

10. (tie) Sept. 28, MLB: Yankees 9, Red Sox 5

A down year for the Red Sox concluded with a farewell to Yankees great Derek Jeter, as the longtime shortstop was honored at Fenway Park before the season’s last game. During the ceremony, Jeter was greeted by current and former Red Sox, received a pair of boots from his former coach Brian Butterfield and was presented with a check for $22,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation. Michelle Brooks Thompson from “The Voice” finished off the pregame event with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect.”

Jeter drove in a run with an infield single during his second plate appearance and was then removed from the game, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. The Red Sox, as they did many times in 2014, lost, dropping a 9-5 decision to finish the season with a 71-91 record.

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Dougie Hamilton, Jon Lester, mike napoli
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 1: Tom Brady overcomes early struggles, leads Patriots to AFC’s top seed at 10:31 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com has been counting down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 1: Tom Brady overcomes early struggles, leads Patriots to AFC’s top seed. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Tom Brady overcome a sluggish start to lead the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady overcame a sluggish start to lead the Patriots to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady finished the 2013 season with more than 4,000 passing yards for the sixth time in his career and looked to repeat this performance in 2014. But the Patriots quarterback had his doubters before the season began.

In a column for ESPN and during an interview with Dennis & Callahan, Sam Monson argued that Brady wasn’t among the elite NFL quarterbacks anymore. He said Brady was in a decline and no longer in the prime of his career.

About two months later, offensive lineman Logan Mankins was traded to the Buccaneers, leaving a void on the offensive line. Whether or not the trade played a factor, Brady struggled and appeared to fuel Monson’s claim from the get-go against the Dolphins in Week 1.

Brady completed 51.8 percent of his passes and was kept off of the scoreboard for the entire second half. He didn’t throw an interception, but he was strip-sacked twice by Cameron Wake and had trouble connecting with receivers when the Dolphins rushed him into quick decisions.

“Truthfully, I don’t think we were really jelling anywhere,” Brady said. “There wasn’t much positive from the quarterback position, the receiver position, the tight end position and the running back position. None of us can play like that and expect to win. All of us have to go out and do a much better job than we did today. We’ve got to take the coaching, understand what we need to do better and then go out and execute next week.”

Added Brady the following day on Dennis & Callahan: “When we’re open down the field I’ve got to hit them. I think that’s how I look at it. We’ve got to make more plays down the field to get more chunks, to shorten the field a little bit. It certainly wasn’t our best day passing the ball yesterday.”

Brady and the Patriots did recover somewhat for two straight wins against the Vikings and Raiders, although the quarterback threw for a combined 383 yards and two touchdowns. NFL analysts noted Brady’s play was unimpressive in the first three weeks. One of Brady’s former teammates, Tedy Bruschi, said he worried that New England’s mostly inexperienced offensive line would be a hindrance to Brady going forward.

“There’s been only limited improvement over the first few weeks, so that’s somewhat discouraging,” Bruschi said. “Is there still plenty of time? Yes. But I really worry. I really worry about the health of Tom Brady and the interior offensive line and what they’re doing there. To me, inside-out, it starts at the center position, which is a very valuable position now in the National Football League. It’s getting to be just as valuable as the left tackle, how you have to solidify the center of that pocket and the running game because that’s where all the pressure is going to come from. Especially when you have a pocket passer, which is what Tom is.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 6: Patriots lose to Broncos in AFC championship game 12.28.14 at 10:21 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 6: Patriots lose to Broncos in AFC championship game. To read other stories in this series, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Bill Belichick, Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 14: Patriots trade Logan Mankins 12.24.14 at 12:43 pm ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 14: Patriots trade Logan Mankins to Buccaneers. To read other stories in this series, click here.

Logan Mankins (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Logan Mankins was a stalwart for nine seasons in New England before being shipped to the Buccaneers. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Before the 2014 season began, it appeared that other than training camp roster cuts, the Patriots had their team set. By end of the preseason, however, the trade of a veteran player shook up the foundation of the team.

New England dealt six-time Pro Bowl selection Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick on Aug. 26. Wright, a second-year player, caught 54 passes and three touchdowns in his rookie season with the Buccaneers. The move gave the Patriots more depth in the passing game, but it came as a surprise to many that it was Mankins who was traded.

Mankins said he was disappointed about leaving the Patriots and people with whom he developed close relationships.

“€œI’ve talked to Tom [Brady]. I’ve talked to probably 99 percent of the team,” Mankins said after being dealt. “€œI’€™m not going to get into what we said. … I’€™ll miss Tom for sure, and I’€™ll miss a lot of those guys. I had a lot of good friends, a lot of coaches I was good friends with.”

“€œOnce you’ve been around this business long enough, you know anything’€™s possible. If you don’€™t understand that it’€™s a business, you’€™re lying to yourself.”

Brady had Mankins as a force on the offensive line for nine years in New England. The quarterback was mostly reserved about the situation and his feelings on it, but Brady said he hoped Mankins continued his successful career in Tampa Bay.

“€œI haven’€™t really spoken to anybody about it,” Brady said during an appearance on Dennis & Callahan. “€œI have my own personal feelings that obviously are very personal to me. Whatever those are, I just want our team to be the best it can be for this year. I love Logan, Logan was a great friend of mine. Nobody stood for Patriot football more than him. But he’€™s moved on. I hope he’€™s happy. We’€™ll keep in touch.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Dan Connolly, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder
Gisele Bündchen shoots down reports: ‘I’m not renting my apartment’ 11.14.14 at 5:15 pm ET
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Over the past day or so, many reports have surfaced online of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen renting out their New York City condo.

Gisele took to Twitter Friday afternoon saying the reports are wrong. “Enough is enough… Please stop creating lies to sell your paper, I’m not renting my apartment,” she tweeted.

The reports said the couple were looking to rent out their apartment for $40,000 a month unfurnished, and $42,500 furnished.

Read More: gisele bundchen, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen’s New York condo available for rent 11.13.14 at 11:02 am ET
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If you’ve ever wanted to live in Tom Brady and Gisele’s New York condo, you’re in luck — if you have a lot of money.

The couple has listed its Manhattan condo for $42,500 a month and $40,000 unfurnished, spotted by Curbed.com. The three-bed room condo is on the 47th floor of New York’s One Madison development. The quarterback and supermodel paid $14 million for the property last year, which has “river-to-river plus park views.”

The entire listing reads:

Step off your keyed elevator into your private Entrance Foyer with framed unprecedented unencumbered views South. Move into an open great room looking North over Madison Square Park with iconic never before positioned views of the Empire State Building, West to the Hudson River, and well beyond. Watch the sunset each evening from the Southwest corner Living Room with the soft light reflecting off the Freedom Tower and all of Manhattan’€™s bridges. The Master Bedroom Suite captures arguably the most magical and romantic night views North of the twinkling Empire State Building and East for soft morning sunrises over the East River.

Read More: gisele bundchen, Tom Brady,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Cousin claims Alex Rodriguez paid him almost $1M to keep quiet about doping 11.04.14 at 8:14 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:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blues at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Rockets at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Cavaliers at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northwood at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Bowling Green at Akron, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Toledo at Kent State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Liverpool at Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez‘s controversial cousin is back in the headlines, and as usual, it’s not good news for A-Rod.

According to court papers filed in Florida (and reported by the New York Daily News), Rodriguez paid Yuri Sucart close to $1 million in 2013 so that Sucart would not divulge details of the Yankee’s use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Sucart is a defendant in the federal case against Biogensis and the company’s former owner, Anthony Bosch. Sucart, charged with conspiracy to distribute testosterone and HGH, has pleaded not guilty.

Sucart’s former attorney wrote to Rodriguez in 2012 demanding $5 million and a “life estate” for Sucart’s “past services rendered, and for the loyalty he has shown you.” Attorney Jeffrey Sonn indicated Sucart had no intention of cooperating with Major League Baseball, which had ordered Sucart to stay away from the clubhouse when A-Rod played for the Rangers. “Yuri, even after he was accused of being a steroid mule for you, kept your confidence of all your activities while you played of rate Rangers and the Yankees,” Sonn wrote.

According to the filing, A-Rod agreed to pay Sucart a payment of $700,000 and then three more payments totaling $200,000. This was in addition to money Rodriguez paid Sucart every year since 2003.

If Alex Rodriguez's cousin's accusations are true, should A-Rod be further punished?

  • Yes, MLB should go after A-Rod any chance it gets and try to remove him from the game (69%, 350 Votes)
  • No, he already received his punishment (31%, 156 Votes)

Total Voters: 506

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When he admitted in 2009 to using PEDs, Rodriguez said Sucart had provided him the drugs from 2001-03.

Now Rodriguez, who was suspended by MLB and missed the entire 2014 season, apparently is cooperating with the feds against Sucart.

“That is what it sounds like. It sounds like A-Rod is a potential witness against his cousin,” Sucart’s court-appointed attorney, Edward O’Donnell IV, told the Daily News. “They are not allies, that’s for sure, or friends.”

— Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spoke to a media gathering for the first time in 10 months and made it clear that his split with Jason Kidd was not amicable.

Kidd coached the team for one season before reportedly demanding more power and then fleeing to Milwaukee to coach the Bucks.

“I think there is a nice proverb in English: Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you,” Prokhorov said Monday before his team’s home opener against the Thunder. “I think we shouldn’t get mad, I think we should get even. And we’ll see it on the court.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Jason Kidd, John Idzik, Mikhail Prokhorov