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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Athletes react to Barack Obama’s Farewell Address 01.11.17 at 8:11 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Washington at Boston, 8 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Memphis at Oklahoma City ESPN
NBA: Cleveland at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Pittsburgh at Washington, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Women’s college basketball: St. Bonaventure at Saint Louis, 12 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball:
George Washington at VCU, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Houston at East Carolina, 6 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Dayton at UMass, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Georgia at Mississippi, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Seton Hall at Marquette, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Memphis at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: North Carolina at Wake Forest, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Butler at Creighton, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: North Carolina State at Boston College, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Temple at UConn, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— President Obama gave his Farewell Address on Tuesday night and athletes took to social media to react to the speech.

THANK YOU Prez!!! Barack

A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

 

 

And then Jose Canseco dropped this bit of crushing news:

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Read More: Dwayne Wade, Jose Canseco, Magic Johnson, Victor Cruz
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Giants WRs defend trip to Miami, Eli Manning jokes he is ‘disappointed'; Bengals CB Adam Jones arrested for assault 01.04.17 at 8:33 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Wednesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NBA: Chicago at Cleveland, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Portland at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: NY Rangers at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Villanova at Butler, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Georgetown at Providence, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Georgia Tech at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa State at Baylor, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Creighton at St. John’s, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oregon at Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Temple at SMU, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Tulsa at Houston, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Boise State at UNLV, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: New Mexico at Utah State, 11 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Nevada, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Baylor at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (FS2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— On Tuesday Odell Beckham Jr defended the Giants wide receivers’ trip to Miami on their Monday off-day.

“We were going to [Florida] to get our minds right,” Beckham said. “That’s what we we’re doing. I handle my business. I’m a grown man. I do what I am supposed to be doing. I’m in the building, when I’m supposed to be in the building. I don’t miss team meetings, none of that.”

“I’m not perfect, but everybody knows my passion for football, when I’m on the football field,” Beckham went on. “I’m here for the NY Giants, especially over the next four weeks. Now, we are about to make a run, about to make a push; it’s go time. Everybody is focusing on what they need to be focusing on.”

During his weekly appearance on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN, Victor Cruz downplayed the hoopla surrounding the trip.

“There’s nothing to really talk about, Mike, to be honest,” Cruz said. “Those things are personal. It’s my personal life that doesn’t need to be discussed. If it doesn’t have anything to do with football, it doesn’t really matter.”

Giants quarterback Eli Manning joked on Tuesday he was upset with his teammates.

“I think as a team we always pride ourselves on being well prepared. So when I saw some of those pictures I was a little disappointed,” Manning said. “Just because obviously they didn’t pack accordingly. They didn’t have any shirts. Kind of long pants. No shorts. No flip flops or anything.”

Manning also joked he was not in the picture on the boat because he was the one taking it.

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Read More: Adam Jones, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Victor Cruz blames ‘specific mindset’ after Donald Trump election for racist graffiti at Nikita Whitlock’s home; Kobe Bryant welcomes another daughter 12.09.16 at 7:57 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Toronto at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Houston at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Phoenix at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: NY Rangers at Chicago, 8:30 p.m. (NHL)
College football: Sam Houston State at James Madison, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Longwood at Creighton, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz commented on Thursday on the racist graffiti found at teammate Nikita Whitlock’s home in New Jersey on Tuesday. Cruz said he believes this act is a reflection of the current state of the country and the collective mindset after the election of Donald Trump.

“I think it’s definitely a direct reflection of how this country’s being run and how this country’s reacting maybe to some of the decisions … and things that are being said by people at the helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives … from social media all the way up to the White House,” Cruz said. “These are things that are being spoken of and talked about on a daily basis, the good and the bad, more so the bad at this point right now because that’s all we have to work with. It’s just an unfortunate situation we’re going through right now.”

The graffiti included the “KKK” initials and the message “Go back to Africa.”

“I think there’s a specific mindset that comes with supporting a guy like Donald Trump and supporting what he stands for, and there’s a certain type of person that comes with that, and I’m not sure that person is always a positive-minded person,” Cruz continued. “You just have to be careful. As a minority you have to be careful. As a person of influence you have to be careful, and you’ve just got to make sure your family’s safe and give them the knowledge to stay safe in this world.”

Cruz went on to say the way the death of Joe McKnight was handled is also a reflection of the racism in this country.

“I mean, look at this country. Joe McKnight dies in the middle of the street, ya know?” Cruz said. “If you’re angry about … my opinion and you’re not angry at guys dying without a care, without being armed, they’re not causing harm, they’re not doing anything wrong, then that’s our issue.”

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Read More: kobe bryant, Larry Bird, Victor Cruz,
Giants WR Victor Cruz to have season-ending surgery 11.16.15 at 12:52 pm ET
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Victor Cruz, who has been out since Week 6 of the 2014 season, announced Monday that he will have surgery on his calf and will not return this season.

Cruz, who turned 29 last Wednesday, tore the patellar tendon his right knee six games into the 2014 campaign and had season-ending surgery. While rehabbing from that injury in August, Cruz tore a muscle in his left calf during a training camp practice. He had been targeting a lat-season return before a checkup on his calf revealed the need for surgery.

“This hurts, mainly because I worked so hard to come back from my patellar tendon surgery,” Cruz said in a video message. “There are certain things that happen to your body that you just can’t explain.”

Added Cruz: “I know that I have to retool my brain and my body to get back to 100 percent and come back the other end firing. This is a tough time for me, a tough time for my family, a tough time for all of us, because we were so excited about coming back and being a part of something special this year. But unfortunately, I couldn’t do that due to my calf injury.

“I hope you guys don’t lose faith in me, because I haven’t lost faith in myself.”

After this season Cruz has three years left on a five-year, $43 million contract he signed before the 2014 season. The Giants are likely to seek a restructuring and/or consider cutting the former UMass star.

Dwayne Harris has filled Cruz’s role in the slot. Harris had nine catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

Read More: Victor Cruz,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Giants WR Victor Cruz suffers serious knee injury in team’s embarrassing loss 10.13.14 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Avalanche at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB playoffs: Orioles at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: 49ers at Rams, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Belgium, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: European Championship qualifier, Iceland vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— An embarrassing night for the Giants got even worse when wide receiver Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while trying catch a pass in the third quarter of a 27-0 loss to the Eagles. And then it became even more embarrassing for a Philadelphia sports radio host.

Cruz, the former UMass star who became a 2012 Pro Bowler, cried as he was carted off the field with what is expected to be a season-ending injury.

“Huge loss,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “It wasn’t a good situation, a grim scene.”

Said Giants safety Antrel Rolle: “You just wish him the best. He’s a fighter.”

Cruz was attempting to catch a pass in the end zone when he went down.

“Something wasn’t good,” fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “He was in a lot of pain. As hard as it was, you have to go on and move on to the next play. ‘€¦ It was heart wrenching. Not much needs to be said. ‘€¦ It’s Victor Cruz, period.”

Following Cruz’s injury, controversial Philadelphia sports talk radio host Mike Missanelli sent out a classless tweet that read: Hey Giants fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.

After immediate criticism from both New York and Philadelphia, Missanelli deleted the tweet and tried to claim he only was referring to Cruz failing to catch the pass.

Tweeted Missanelli: I apologize for the Cruz tweet. I didn’t see that he got hurt on play. Was outside the stadium and saw [on the big screen outside] he dropped it walking to my car. ‘€¦ I would never have tweeted that had I known he got injured. Please know that.

— Actor and director Spike Lee, known for his allegiance to the Knicks via his frequent appearances in his courtside seat, apparently has not made a good impression on Knicks president Phil Jackson.

Lee announced that he plans to make a documentary about the triangle offense, which Jackson used when he won 11 championships as coach of the Bulls and Lakers.

Asked about Lee, Jackson said: “Spike is an avid Knicks fan who doesn’t know anything about basketball.”

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Read More: Chandler Parsons, Mike Missanelli, Phil Jackson, Rick Carlisle
NFL roundup: Broncos’ Von Miller accepts 6-game suspension; Michael Vick named Eagles starter 08.20.13 at 5:48 pm ET
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Broncos linebacker Von Miller will serve a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, although he says he did not fail a drug test.

“Although my suspension doesn’t result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules,” Miller said in a statement, adding: “I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself. I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future. During my time off the field, I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape. I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver.”

The league reportedly wanted a longer suspension but agreed to six games. Miller would be eligible to return for the Oct. 20 game against the Colts in Indianapolis. The Broncos visit the Patriots on Nov. 24.

Miller, selected second overall in the 2011 draft, was the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and runner-up for 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Before the announcement was made Tuesday, the Broncos signed 35-year-old free agent linebacker Paris Lenon on Tuesday. Lennon played last season for the Cardinals, making 103 tackles.

‘€¢ Michael Vick has been chosen as the starting quarterback for Chip Kelly‘€™s offense in Philadelphia Tuesday, ending a long and heavily speculated competition with Nick Foles for the job.

‘€œI think we all learned from this group that we’ve got two guys, maybe even three guys who can play in this league,’€ Kelly said. ‘€œIt was a healthy competition. I think they both made each other better. ‘€¦ Mike is ahead, but Nick made it very tough on him.’€

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Read More: Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith, Kirk Cousins, michael vick
NFL roundup: Broncos LB Von Miller reportedly facing 6-game suspension; K Rian Lindell done as a Bill 08.19.13 at 2:52 pm ET
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In case you needed a reminder, baseball isn’€™t the only sport with a PED problem.

Von Miller, a third-year linebacker with the Broncos, reportedly is facing a minimum six-game suspension as a result of violating the league’€™s substance-abuse policy. It was reported last month that Miller would be suspended for the season’€™s first four contests, and it is unclear exactly what Miller’€™s infractions were.

An official announcement could come as early as Monday, according to ESPN. The report also says Miller is still trying to negotiate the suspension down to four games, but when the penalty is officially handed down he likely will not appeal.

Losing Miller for any amount of time, let alone more than a third of the season, could be a big blow to Denver considering he finished 2012 with 18.5 sacks, good for third most in the league.

Elsewhere in the NFL, Rian Lindell learned job security is hard to come by. Lindell, 36, has served as the Bills’ kicker for the last decade but was released by Buffalo on Monday.

The Bills are going with the out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new route, turning to rookie Dustin Hopkins to handle the team’€™s kicking duties. The Bills save about $1.7 million by making the change. Lindell and Hopkins had split time in the Bills’ first two preseason games.

Lindell finished his Bills career with 225 field goals and 980 points, both of which are second most in organization history.

Blaine Gabbert, meanwhile, has found a bit more luck in terms of getting ‘€” and keeping ‘€” his job. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley named Gabbert, a 23-year-old who has started a majority of Jacksonville’€™s games the last two seasons, the starting quarterback to start their 2013 campaign. He is 5-19 as a starter and has a 53.8 career competition percentage.

The weekend also featured a number of additional injuries in a preseason chock full of them, particularly for the Patriots’ AFC East foes. Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller is out for the year following a knee injury, and Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel, who had been competing with Kevin Kolb for the starting job, had what Buffalo coach Doug Marrone called a “minor procedure” on his left knee. Manuel will miss the rest of the preseason.

The Jets sacks leader from a year ago, linebacker Quinton Coples, also is out for the rest of the preseason after having surgery on his right ankle. There is no timetable for his return, nor did the team disclose details on the injury. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz got off a bit easier despite bruising his heel. X-rays were negative after Cruz left Sunday’€™s game with the Colts.

Read More: Blaine Gabbert, Dustin Keller, E.J. Manuel, Quinton Coples
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Warriors hire Brian Scalabrine, Pistons add Rasheed Wallace 07.09.13 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA Summer League: Pacers vs. Celtics, 11 a.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Pistons vs. Thunder, 1 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Jazz vs. Astros, 3 p.m. (NBA)
NBA Summer League: Heat vs. Magic, 5 p.m. (NBA)
WNBA: Atlanta Dream vs. Minnesota Lynx, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Gold Cup, United States vs. Belize, 11 a.m. (Fox Soccer)
World Team Tennis: Boston Lobsters vs. Washington Kastles, 7 p.m. (Tennis Channel)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ A couple of former Celtics have resurfaced on NBA coaching staffs, as Brian Scalabrine was hired by the Warriors and Rasheed Wallace joined the Pistons staff.

Scalabrine, who served as a Celtics analyst for CSNNE last season, will assist Mark Jackson.

Tweeted Warriors shooting guard Kent Bazemore, who occupies the end of the bench as Scalabrine frequently did during his 11-year NBA career: Special welcome to the guy that paved the way for guys like myself!! @Scalabrine

Scalabrine averaged 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 520 games with the Nets, Celtics and Bulls. He became a fan favorite during his time in Boston from 2005-06 through 2009-10.

Wallace, best known for accruing technical fouls at an alarming rate during his 16-year career that included one season in Boston, joined the staff of new Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks. Wallace, who sat on the bench for Monday’s summer league loss to the Celtics, was hired to work with the team’s young big men, most notably Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe.

Wallace, who holds the league’s career and single-season marks for technical fouls, told The Detroit News that as an assistant he understands he needs to keep his emotions in check when he’s on the bench.

“The big thing is, when I was playing and had that passion and cussing everybody out, I had the opportunity to change that, being on the court,” he said. “I can’t make the difference mow. I can talk junk but I can’t back it up.”

Wallace turned down a similar offer from the Knicks, for whom he briefly played this past season before an injury ended his comeback after two years away from the game.

‘™¦ Victor Cruz finally signed an extension with the Giants, agreeing to a five-year deal worth a reported $43 million that makes him the highest-paid wide receiver in team history.

Cruz, a restricted free agent, skipped the team’s offseason program but is eager to get back on the field. He has 168 catches for 1,628 yards and 19 touchdowns over the last two seasons after signing as an undrafted free agent out of UMass in 2010.

“I feel relief,” Cruz told Giants.com. “I feel I can just kick back and play football again.”

‘™¦ Video has surfaced of Jets coach Rex Ryan taking part in the running of the bulls in Spain (more specifically, struggling to get over a fence to escape the charging animals). The team on Monday confirmed that Ryan participated twice.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 9, 1979, the Red Sox became the first team to have three players start in the outfield in an All-Star Game. Who were the players? CORRECTION: One of the players, although he played 36 games in the outfield for the Red Sox in 1979, started the All-Star Game at first base.

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Read More: Brian Scalabrine, rasheed wallace, Rex Ryan, Victor Cruz
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez finally set for first rehab assignment 07.02.13 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: Padres at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Seattle Storm at Chicago Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Minnesota Lynx at Los Angeles Sparks, 10 p.m. (NBA)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN2), 8 a.m. (ESPN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 9 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Following last week’s confrontations and conspiracy theories, Alex Rodriguez finally will make his first rehab assignment Tuesday when he suits up for the Yankees‘ Class-A affiliate in Charleston, S.C.

“Awesome,” Rodriguez said at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa on Monday. “I’m really excited.”

Following last week’s snit, when general manager Brian Cashman lashed out at Rodriguez for tweeting about his return without the team’s approval and then reports came out in the New York papers claiming that the player or team was posturing the timing of his return for financial reasons, Rodriguez said all parties are on the same page.

“It’s all been very positive. We’re all looking in the same direction: ‘€¦ Get back to New York as soon as possible, and [Tuesday] is the first big step,” said Rodriguez, who had surgery on his left hip on Jan. 16. “We’ve all talked to our doctors. Everyone has approved it.”

The Yankees are in need of a boost, with a handful of key injuries leaving them shorthanded as they continue to slide in the American League East following a surprisingly strong start. Manager Joe Girardi is hopeful Rodriguez can return to form rather than be the player who struggled so badly last postseason that he was benched.

“I expect him to be a productive player,” Girardi said. “The last time he got his hip fixed, he came [back] productive. Hopefully this will solve some of the things he was dealing with last year, and I expect him to be productive.

“I can’t tell you exactly what he’s going to do, but I think he’s going to be a good player.”

‘™¦ The Islanders confirmed that they will buy out the remaining eight years of Rick DiPietro‘s contract and place him on waivers Tuesday, ending the former Boston University star’s rocky tenure with the team.

DiPietro, the top overall pick in the 2000 draft, signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract before the 2006-07 season, but his career since then has been marked by injuries and inconsistent play.

DiPietro, 31, has a career record of 130-133-8 with 28 overtime losses and a 2.86 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in 315 games over parts of 11 seasons. He played only three games for the Islanders last season, allowing 12 goals and posting no wins, before being waived and assigned to AHL Bridgeport, where he went 9-9.

‘™¦ Wide receiver Victor Cruz and the Giants are closing in on a long-term contract that should be finished in time for the former UMass star to attend training camp, according to an ESPN report.

Cruz and the team have been negotiating for months with little progress, forcing him to miss the team’s offseason functions.

The 26-year-old has 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 2, 1975, which Red Sox hurler, in a bid to become the third pitcher ever to have a no-hitter in both leagues, came within one out of a no-hitter before allowing a walk and two home runs in a 6-3 victory over the Brewers?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Rick DiPietro, Victor Cruz
Monday’s Morning Mashup: NFL teams pay tribute to school shooting victims 12.17.12 at 7:52 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: Jets at Titans, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Rockets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Detroit at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: IPFW at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: UNLV at UTEP, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Cornell at Vanderbilt, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The NFL paid tribute to the victims of the Connecticut elementary school shooting during Sunday’s games. The Patriots had a pregame tribute featuring 26 flares in honor of the 20 children and six school employees who died Friday. The team’s End Zone Militia silenced the guns that they normally fire after the Patriots score.

“Out of respect for those that were killed, we were asked yesterday not to fire the muskets, which we all agreed with,” End Zone Militia sergeant Bob Elliott said. “It was just such a horrific thing. It’s hard to put it into words.”

Some teams darkened their scoreboards and lowered their flags to half-staff, while the players (including those on the Patriots) wore helmet decals with black ribbons.

Giants receiver Victor Cruz, whose team lost to the Falcons in Atlanta, wrote the name of 6-year-old victim Jack Pinto on his cleats and gloves with the words “My hero,” “This one is 4 U” and “R.I.P.” Cruz spoke to the child’s family on Saturday night after learning that the boy was a big fan of the standout receiver.

“There are no words that can describe the type of feeling you get when a kid idolizes you so much that they want to, unfortunately, put him in a casket with your jersey on,” said Cruz, a former UMass star. “I can’t even explain it.”

Cruz heard about the boy’s admiration for him via Twitter and contacted the family Saturday night.

“I was in the hotel [in Atlanta] and as I was talking to them I was fighting back tears,” Cruz said. “You could hear everybody in the background crying as well. It was tough to listen to.”

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wrote “Newtown, CT” on his shoes for his team’s game against the Colts in Houston.

“We’re playing football, and there’s something much bigger going on in this world,” Watt said. “I just wanted them to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that our thoughts are with them. Nothing is bigger than that. We played our game today, but honestly our thoughts are with them, the families, the teachers, the friends, the first responders, who had to go see that. My dad is a first responder. They were just kids.”

‘™¦ Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, a native of Cleveland, enjoyed a successful homecoming on the field Sunday as his team won at Browns Stadium, but things didn’t go so well for some of his family members in the stands. Two cousins and an 18-year-old nephew were arrested and his aunt suffered a heart attack during an incident with stadium security, according to the family.

Family members, who were wearing Redskins gear, insist that they were harassed by Browns fans and security.

“While the game was going on, first the fans were picking at us, and we were getting things thrown on us,” Fletcher’s aunt, Yvette Huston, told Cleveland’s NewsChannel5. “One of my nephews had gotten punched in the face.”

Added Huston, who was wearing a neck brace after a visit to the hospital: “The security grabbed my one son by the chest and snatched him right in front of me. I’m like, ‘Why is you snatching on him?’ And [the response was], ‘He’s going to jail.’ Then they came and started attacking our family.”

‘™¦ Andrew Bynum, in his first year with the 76ers after seven seasons with the Lakers, spoke before Sunday night’s Lakers-Sixers game in Philadelphia and said his progress was stunted by playing alongside Kobe Bryant.

“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention it’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously,” said Bynum, who has yet to play this season due to knee problems. “Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth.”

Bryant, who scored 34 points in the Lakers’ 111-98 win, not only wasn’t offended by Bynum’s assessment, he agreed with it.

“For sure, because when you’re playing with me you obviously have to sacrifice something,” Bryant said. “Same thing with me and Shaq [Shaquille O’Neal]. You kind of offset each other to a certain extent. So, I mean, that’s true. When he gets back and he’s healthy, he’ll come out here and he’ll be the focal point of their attack and he’ll be getting the ball more and you’ll see big games from him more consistently.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 17, 1966, which Patriot rushed for 78 yards in a 38-28 road loss to the Jets, giving him 1,458 yards on the season?

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Read More: Andrew Bynum, kobe bryant, London Fletcher, Victor Cruz