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Johnny Manziel: A week in review

01.24.17 at 10:22 am ET
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Mood #🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈

A photo posted by Johnny Manziel (@jmanziel2) on

Here is a recap of what Johnny Manziel has been up to the past few days: It begins, as all moments of clarity after torpedoing your NFL career do, with an interview with TMZ:

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yordano Ventura reportedly robbed after deadly accident; video of Bengals’ Adam Jones verbally assaulting police officer surfaces

01.24.17 at 9:01 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Tuesday 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.

TUESDAY’S MORNING MASHUP:
NBA: Boston at Washington, 7 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: San Antonio at Toronto, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NHL: Detroit at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: St. Louis at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Kansas at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Louisville at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue at Michigan State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Rutgers at Maryland, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Southern Illinois at Wichita State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Villanova at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Kansas State at Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kentucky at Tennessee, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Penn State at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Tulane at Houston, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Utah State at New Mexico, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Reports from the Dominican Republic claim as Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura lay dying after a fatal car crash, the people who found him robbed him instead of helping him.

This report has yet to be confirmed by police. The report is Ventura was found still alive after the accident and looters robbed him of his World Series ring, among other belongings. Dominican journalist Euri Cabral reported this claim in an appearance on a Dominican radio station.

Pedro Martinez heard Cabral and commented on this alleged new development on Twitter:

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Read More: Adam "Pacman" Jones, Yordano Ventura,

Patriots don’t have a Trump problem

01.24.17 at 9:00 am ET
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Susan Pease of Lincoln may not have watched the Patriots defeat the Steelers in the AFC championship game, but it doesn’t appear as if many others joined her boycott. The contest received a household rating of 51.6, making it the second-highest non-Super Bowl performance in team history. Just imagine what the number would’ve been if it was a competitive game instead of a 19-point blowout.

Two weeks ago, SB Nation published a piece about how the Patriots have a Trump problem. The premise, which is supported by one on-the-record interview with Pease, is that the team’s affiliation with the divisive president is causing fans to tune out. But the ratings tell a much different story.

Throughout the season, the Patriots have consistently drawn massive numbers on television. Their affair against the Broncos Dec. 18 was the highest-rated broadcast of the regular season on CBS and the divisional round matchup against the Texans garnered a monstrous 42.2 rating in Boston.

Even more impressively, the market share for the AFC championship game was a whopping 73. That means 73 percent of TV watchers in Boston were tuned into the matchup.

Amazingly, this ratings triumph came on the heels of Trump’s inauguration, which was heavily Patriots-themed. Owner Robert Kraft was in attendance and even photographed at a swanky dinner with Kellyanne Conway, perhaps the President’s most visible surrogate. On Thursday, Trump gave Kraft a shoutout at an event, saying Tom Brady had called him recently.

On Kirk & Callahan Monday, Brady said he speaks with Trump from time-to-time. On the night before the election, at a stump speech in New Hampshire, Trump said Brady had voted for him and also read an endorsement letter from Bill Belichick. Though Belichick admitted to writing the letter, Brady hasn’t revealed who he supported.

The Patriots and Trump will forever be tied together, but the ratings show that the vast majority of fans in liberal Massachusetts are able to separate football from politics. When Super Bowl 51 begins in two weeks, Trump will probably be the furthest thing from most people’s minds –– at least for a couple of hours.

Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots,

Why Roger Goodell doesn’t care if Patriots win Super Bowl

01.23.17 at 4:36 pm ET
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Roger Goodell won't be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

It probably doesn’t make a difference to Roger Goodell whether the Patriots win the Super Bowl. For him, Deflategate is ancient history. He won a long time ago.

When owner Robert Kraft grabbed the microphone Sunday following his team’s blowout victory over the Steelers in the AFC championship game, he seemingly spoke for every aggrieved Patriots fan around the world.

“For a number of reasons, all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was,” Kraft told a rabid crowd in Foxboro.

It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots. Almost two years ago to the date, the NFL caught the Patriots playing with slightly under inflated footballs against the Colts. Over the next year-and-a-half, even when the science said there was no wrongdoing, Goodell smeared Tom Brady’s character and imposed draconian penalties on the team –– including suspending Brady for four games. Now, in two weeks, Goodell may be in the building when Brady is handed the Lombardi Trophy. Talk about sweet revenge.

Once a regular visitor to Gillette Stadium, Goodell has avoided it since Deflategate started. He’s been in Atlanta for the last two weeks closing down the Georgia Dome, one of the most unremarkable venues in professional football.

It’s unclear whose decision it is to keep Goodell in hiding. According to Comcast SportsNet’s Tom E. Curran, Goodell would’ve been at the AFC championship game Sunday if he had gotten his way. So perhaps somebody else in the league office, or the Krafts themselves, are making the call. But then again, it’s hard to believe that Goodell would allow other people to dictate his schedule. After all, this is guy who doesn’t permit his staffers to eat pizza until he gets the first slice.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, New England Patriots, Roger Goodell

Tom Brady is a fool to wonder why his friendship with Donald Trump is a big deal

01.23.17 at 1:34 pm ET
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Tom Brady doesn't understand the Donald Trump questions. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady doesn’t understand the Donald Trump questions. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady doesn’t understand why people care about his friendship with Donald Trump. He must’ve been born yesterday.

In his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan Monday, Brady shed further detail on how often he communicates with the President. Last week, Trump said Brady called him before the inauguration.

“I have called him, yes, in the past. Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call,” Brady said. “But, again, that’s been someone I’ve known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”

In the past, Brady has shied away from talking about Trump. But that wasn’t the case Monday. Just when the conversation was heading in a different direction, he brought up the subject again.

“Why does everybody make such a big deal? I don’t understand it,” he said. “I don’t want to get into it, but if you know someone it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or they do. You have a lot of friends in your life. I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences.”

While Brady didn’t formally endorsed Trump –– he declined to tell K&C who he voted for –– he aligned himself with him throughout the entirety of the campaign. In September 2015, after a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in Brady’s locker, he said it “would be great” if Trump were in the Oval Office. At that point, Trump had already derided some Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and spent years propagating a racist birther conspiracy theory meant to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency. Brady later claimed to be unaware of the political issues at play, but ignorance isn’t an excuse.

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Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

John Cena: ‘I kind of run a parallel life with Tom Brady’

01.23.17 at 12:52 pm ET
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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that John Cena truly understands what makes the Patriots tick.

The WWE star, and actor, grew up in Massachusetts and played football at Springfield College. So when he turned down the opportunity to offer a hype video for his hometown team, there was a very good explanation that came with the denial.

“That’s what’s great about New England,” Cena said. “You can look at it from all the [Tom] Brady sound bytes and all the [Bill] Belichick sound bytes. They don’t need to get hype. They just do really, really well.”

There was also the us against them mentality that Cena said he enjoys, explaining, “I run kind of like a parallel life with Tom Brady.”

Deion Sanders: Julian Edelman is under appreciated because he’s white

01.23.17 at 11:04 am ET
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Deion Sanders had some interesting things to say about Julian Edelman. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Deion Sanders had some interesting things to say about Julian Edelman. (James Lang/USA Today Sports)

Deion Sanders says Julian Edelman’s skin color is the reason why he isn’t considered one of the best receivers in the league.

On NFL Network Sunday, Sanders said Edelman, who put up a monstrous stat line during the AFC championship game, is a victim of reverse racism.

“Julian Edelman is one of the best receivers in the league. … It’s like reverse racism,” he said. “I’m not lying. This is real talk. Julian Edelman, just because he’s a caucasian receiver, they don’t give him the credit that he deserves. He deserves so much more. This kid can flat out play. There hasn’t been there an answer for him over the last several years. Julian Edelman moves the chains, he can get deep, he works between the numbers, works outside the numbers, he can throw the football, he can run the football. He does it all, man.”

While the Patriots were largely able to contain Antonio Brown (seven receptions for 77 yards), Chris Hogan and Edelman tore up the Steelers’ secondary, reeling in 17 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns. After the extra-point, Edelman’s touchdown grab extended the Patriots’ lead to 34-9 with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter.

Despite averaging 98 receptions over his last three full seasons, the Patriots don’t pay Edelman like an elite wideout. According to Spotrac, he only took home $2.5 million in base salary in 2016. Next year, the figure bumps up to $3 million.

Edelman’s position, not skin color, is probably the reason why he’s not put on the same level as star receivers like Julio Jones. Given the success of other slot receivers in this offense, he’s largely viewed as expendable. Tom Brady seamlessly transitioned from Troy Brown to Wes Welker to Edelman. He’s the primary reason for their success, not the other way around.

Edelman is an incredible talent, but his stock takes a major hit without Brady. He probably knows that’s the case, too, since he’s never even threatened to hold out for a bigger deal.

Read More: deion sanders, Julian Edelman,

Jim Nantz, Phil Simms are still trying to figure out who recovered Tom Brady’s fumble

01.23.17 at 10:10 am ET
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It’s a good thing Jim Nantz and Phil Simms aren’t calling the Super Bowl this year. After their bumbling commentary during the AFC championship game, it’s clear they both need to take a long vacation. The low-light of the telecast, which featured it’s usual mix of Simms malapropisms, came when Tom Brady fumbled the football on a QB sneak in the third quarter. Though the officials awarded the ball back to the Patriots, Steelers lineman Javon Hargrave emerged from the pile with it. That prompted Mike Tomlin to throw the challenge flag.

Prior to reviewing the play, referee Terry McAuley said he was looking into whether there was a fumble and clear recovery. But for some reason, Nantz kept insisting McAuley said there was a “clear recovery by Pittsburgh.” This prompted Simms to admit he had no idea what was going on.

“OK, so I’m confused. So you’re saying you are, too?” Simms asked.

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Read More: Jim Nantz, phil simms,

LeBron James gives LeGarrette Blount a shoutout on Twitter

01.23.17 at 8:37 am ET
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LeGarrette Blount took a page out of LeBron James’ book in the AFC championship game. After scoring a touchdown late in the third quarter, he brought out “The Silencer,” mimicking James’ signature road celebration. James, who was presumably tuned into the game like most sports fans, appreciated the gesture.

Though James is an unabashed Cowboys fan, it was difficult to not admire the Patriots’ dismantling of the Steelers Sunday night. Blount’s touchdown run, which came after he had dragged seven Pittsburgh defenders all the way to the goal line, served as the proverbial nail in the coffin. The burly running back finished with 16 carries and 47 yards.

Of course, when James mentions you on Twitter, it’s only appropriate to return the favor. Blount let him know the shoutout was appreciated.

Read More: LeBron James, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Athletes and celebrities react to the Patriots’ AFC championship win over Steelers

01.23.17 at 8:25 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: New York at Indiana, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: San Jose at Colorado, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: N.C. State at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: TCU at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: American University at Holy Cross, 7:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas Southern at Miss. Valley State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Mississippi State at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Penn State at Indiana, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— After the Patriots beat the Steelers Sunday night to seal their spot in the Super Bowl, other athletes and celebrities reacted to the win on social media.

 

 

   

Some Patriots themselves also posted about the win:

 

Tight ends baby! @jdevelin @martellusb Them boys worked hard for this!!! A photo posted by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Great Team Win #PatsNation

A photo posted by Logan Ryan (@realloganryan) on

 

THAT’S SOME HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! #letsgooooooo

A photo posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

 

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Read More: New England Patriots,