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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 its 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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Thinking Out Loud: There’s nothing like playing No. 1 team in nation

01.20.17 at 11:42 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud, while wondering whatever happened to Tom Garrick.

– There is always a little extra giddy-up in your step – a little extra juice in your morning mojo – when you get ready to face the No. 1 team in the nation. Providence gets that chance Saturday, playing Villanova at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. But for many Friar fans, this is becoming an old-hat experience.

To begin with, it’s a benefit of playing in the Big East Conference – if there is such a thing as a benefit to playing No. 1 on any given week. The Big East has long had its share of top-ranked teams in a league as strong as it has been through the years, and in the 38-year era of the Big East, 10 of the 15 occasions the Friars have faced Number One have come during the league’s existence.

That certainly had to have been the hope of one Dave Gavitt for PC, when he founded the conference in the late ‘70’s. But be careful what you ask for. Just sayin’.

– Having never been ranked No. 1 themselves during their 90-year history (close in 1973, amiright?), in those 15 games against No. 1 Providence has managed two significant victories. The first came in December of 1976, an 82-81 double OT win against Michigan at the Providence Civic Center in the old InBank Classic, which later became the Fleet Classic.

The second came in February of 2009, during Keno Davis’ first season as head coach, when the Friars jumped on then-Number One Pittsburgh at the Dunk, 81-73. What do I remember about that game? Not much, since I wasn’t there.

At the time, I was also broadcasting primarily Big East games for ESPN, and that night there was a scheduling conflict for an ACC game at Boston College. The network asked me if I could make the trip to Conte Forum since I was the closest announcer they had. My bosses at PC allowed me to switch to TV and attend – leaving radio and the Friars behind for just one night.

And that one night, the Friars pulled off a win for the ages. Stupid is as stupid does, right? Right. I deserve that.

The ESPN producers in the TV truck at BC that night kept giving me updates, teasing me mercilessly until they sensed my growing displeasure with myself every time they hit a button to give me a score update into the headsets I was wearing. But I was happy for the Friars, though.

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A review of what Boston sports stars have said about Donald Trump

01.20.17 at 4:21 pm ET
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The Patriots and Donald Trump appear to be tied at the hip, with the President mentioning them at almost every turn. The latest string of shoutouts came at a pre-inauguration dinner last night, when Trump pointed out owner Robert Kraft in attendance. He then proceeded to talk about a congratulatory phone call he received from Tom Brady, and referenced Bill Belichick as well.

“In the audience we have somebody that’s under no pressure whatsoever ’cause he’s got a great quarterback named Tom Brady, and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft,” Trump said. “So good luck, Bob. Your friend Tom just called, he feels good. He called to congratulate us, he feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great things.”

Later in the speech, Trump said he outworked everybody who’s ever ran for president. “I learned that from Belichick, right?” he said.

Communication between Trump and the Patriots has gone both ways. Brady talked about his friendship with the former real estate mogul on a variety of occasions and Belichick penned him an endorsement letter, which he read aloud in New Hampshire the night before the election. Kraft may be the closest to Trump of all: He called him a “very close friend” before the Massachusetts primary and has made the rounds in Washington D.C. this week.

In addition to Brady, Belichick and Kraft, several other Boston sports figures have commented on Trump as well. Some of the statements were made in passing, while others were thoughtful commentaries on his rhetoric and proposed policies. All of them garnered headlines:

Most regretful Trump statement:

Tom Brady (Sept. 16, 2015): “I hope [Trump can win]. That would be great. There’d be a putting green on the White House lawn, I’m sure of that.”

This is the comment that started it all. After a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in Brady’s locker, he was asked whether he wants Trump to become president. Once Brady said yes, the floodgates opened. For the last year-and-a-half, Brady has periodically been asked about Trump whenever the president makes an especially inflammatory statement. Each time, he’s sidestepped the question or reaffirmed their friendship. Most infamously, Brady walked off the podium when he was asked about the leaked Access Hollywood video in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. (On Friday, said he wanted to talk about football when Trump’s name was mentioned.)

Though Trump says Brady voted for him, that hasn’t been confirmed. Brady declined to tell Kirk & Callahan who he supported, and told the media that his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, no longer wants him talking politics.

Unfortunately for Brady, that probably won’t be possible. He’s now tied to Trump, thanks to his explanation for that stupid red hat.

Stupidest Trump endorsement:

Clay Buchholz (Feb. 17, 2016): Said he’s supporting Trump, because Trump introduced him to his wife. From the Boston Globe:

“It was 2008 in Anaheim,” Buchholz recalled. “€œIt was ‘€˜Affliction: Banned’€™ fighting, and [Trump] owned the whole circuit. My wife knew him prior, from ‘€˜Deal or No Deal’€™ when he came on the show as a celebrity banker.

“She was helping him host this event in Anaheim. So when we all walked in, he was there, and he saw us and he introduced Lindsey to me.”

Asked if he supported Trump for president, Buchholz gave an enthusiastic, “Absolutely!”

This quote from Buchholz exemplifies why some people are better off staying home on Election Day. Trump may be a great matchmaker, but it’s difficult to see how that correlates to getting the job done in the Oval Office.

Wisest Trump endorsement:

Robert Kraft (Jan. 19, 2017)“Loyalty is important to me, and [Trump] has been a wonderful friend. I think one of the great problems in the country today is the working poor, the middle class, that there hasn’t been growth in income on an equal basis, and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.” –– New York Times

Kraft didn’t officially endorse Trump during the campaign, but it’s apparent he voted for his longtime friend. In November, he even paid Trump a visit at his Manhattan tower.

As a billionaire free market capitalist, it’s not surprising to see Kraft endorse Trump’s economic platform of gutting regulations and lowering the corporate tax rate. You may not agree with the trickle-down theory, but at least there’s a debate to be had. You can follow Kraft’s reasoning, which you can’t for, say, Buchholz.

Most succinct Trump comment:

Isaiah Thomas (Nov. 8, 2016):

It’s hard to be more clear than that. The brevity is admirable.

Most thoughtful Trump comment:

David Ortiz (Sept. 6, 2016):  Ortiz opened up about Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric:

“When you speak like that about us, it’s a slap in the face,” Ortiz said. “I walk around sometimes, and I see Mexican people trying to earn a living in an honest way. And to hear somebody make those kinds of comments, it hits you. I think as Latin people we deserve better. Things have gotten much better in that regard. … As Latin people we deserve respect, no matter where you’re from. And especially our Mexican brothers, who come here willing to do all the dirty work.

“Latin people here in the United States are the spark plug of the country’s economy. Whoever opposes that is going to lose. And not just Latin people but immigrants. I’m talking about people who come from Africa, from Asia, other places. All those people come here with one goal, to realize the American dream, and you have to include them in our group.”

Oddly enough, Ortiz’s name was invoked in the confirmation hearing for Trump attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, referenced Ortiz when he asked Sessions about a speech he made in 2006, in which he said “almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us and that would indicate their likely success in our society.”

Read More: Donald Trump,

Troll Bart Hubbuch compares Donald Trump’s inauguration to Pearl Harbor and 9/11

01.20.17 at 12:40 pm ET
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Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 11.27.41 AM

UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Bart Hubbuch deleted the tweet and apologized for comparing Trump’s inauguration to 9/11, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

(Previously): Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post is the worst kind of troll. He’s a dishonest bomb-tosser who deletes tweets and hides whenever he’s called out on his idiocy. With that history in mind, his stupefying tweet that compares Donald Trump’s inauguration to Pearl Harbor and September 11 might not be up for long. But even if he deletes it, he can’t run away. Thanks to the magic of screenshots, it will live on forever.

There’s been a lot of anxiety and fear about Trump’s presidency, but putting his inauguration on the level of the attacks at Pearl Habor and on September 11, which combined to killed nearly 6,000 Americans, is gross and offensive. Hubbuch may say he’s being hyperbolic, but he lost the right to play that card when he tweeted out an edited video of Kirk Minihane joking about Patriots fans murdering Roger Goodell at the height of the Deflategate saga.

In Hubbuch’s world, hyperbole and sarcasm apparently don’t exist. His words here should be read literally, and they’re disgraceful.

Read More: Bart Hubbuch, Donald Trump,

Over next four years, Patriots won’t be able to hide from Donald Trump

01.20.17 at 11:37 am ET
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick didn’t react well when they were asked questions about Donald Trump this season. But over the next four years, they should get used to it. One of the most divisive presidents ever is tied to the Patriots. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask some of his most high-profile backers to answer for him.

On the eve of his inauguration, Trump name-dropped both Brady and Belichick in front of a room full of supporters –– including Robert Kraft. He credited Belichick for teaching him a great work ethic, and let everybody know Brady called to wish him well.

“In the audience we have somebody that’s under no pressure whatsoever ’cause he’s got a great quarterback named Tom Brady, and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft,” Trump said. “So good luck, Bob. Your friend Tom just called, he feels good. He called to congratulate us, he feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great things.”

Later in the speech, Trump said he outworked everybody who’s ever ran for president. “I learned that from Belichick, right?” he said while appearing to point at Kraft.

Brady probably didn’t think he was making a political statement when he placed a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker a year-and-a-half ago. As he said several times throughout the campaign, he’s “good friends” with Trump. It’s perfectly normal for good friends to support each other.

But that doesn’t mean he was forced to stick with Trump at every turn. Even Vice President Mike Pence condemned Trump’s remarks about how much he enjoys sexually assaulting women. Brady, meanwhile, walked out of his press conference when he was asked about the Access Hollywood tape.

Patriots beat writers are obligated to cover more than the games on the field. They write about issues surrounding the team, spanning from a nearly 18-month scandal involving deflated footballs to a murderous former tight end. If Trump sends out a tweet calling for flag-burners to get their citizenship revoked or reintroduces his proposed Muslim ban, Brady should get asked about it. As one of Trump’s “good friends,” his perspective is pertinent.

The same applies to Belichick, who wrote Trump a fawning endorsement letter before the election. It doesn’t matter if Belichick never intended for the note to be public. He said he hopes Trump can “Make America Great Again.” So if Trump signs legislation that leads to the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, including mothers and fathers, it would be interesting to see if that’s the kind of greatness Belichick has in mind.

Brady and Belichick, of course, are under no obligation to answer any of these questions. On Friday, Belichick wouldn’t even bite when he was asked about his reaction when he heard about Trump’s shoutout. But if they didn’t want to be tied to Trump, they shouldn’t have expressed their support. They’re accountable for their words.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Kraft, who’s been spotted around the capital this week, went all-in on Trump.

“Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend,” he said. “I think one of the great problems in the country today is the working poor, the middle class, that there hasn’t been growth in income on an equal basis, and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.”

Kraft doesn’t appear to have a problem touting Trump’s economic proposals, which include starting a costly trade war with China, so he should be asked about them after they’re enacted. As a titan of industry himself, it would be interesting to hear his thoughts.

Trump’s behavior during the transition wasn’t any less inflammatory than it was during the campaign. With that in mind, it’s fair to assume he’ll act similarly once he assumes the Oval Office. That means on many days over the next four years, Trump’s rhetoric or actions will be the No. 1 story in the country. Brady, Belichick and Kraft have aligned themselves with him. They’re forever part of the story, whether they like it or not.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former Jets DE Mark Gastineau has multiple brain diseases

01.20.17 at 8:57 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: 
NHL: Chicago at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Detroit at Buffalo, 7 p.m. (NHL)
NBA: Golden State at Houston, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Indiana at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Eastern Michigan at Akron, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Women’s college basketball: Providence at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS2)
Women’s college basketball: Georgetown at Xavier, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College hockey: Connecticut at Vermont, 6 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College hockey: Bentley at Sacred Heart, 8:30 p.m. (NESN Plus)

AROUND THE WEB: 

— Ex-Jet Mark Gastineau revealed Thursday night he is battling brain diseases he believes resulted from concussions he sustained playing football.

“When my results came back, I had dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson,” Gastineau said. “Those are three things that I have.”

The 60 year-old called his diagnosis, which he received a year ago, “disturbing” and believes the problems were caused by poor tackling technique.

“I led with my head all the time,” he said. “Do you remember Marvin Powell? He was one of the best linemen in the NFL. He and I used to have wars [in practice]. … People would come and gather round because when we hit each other, I mean, you would hear pops, like a shotgun going off.”

Despite this, Gastineau endorsed USA Football’s Head’s Up program to encourage kids to play football and disagrees with Bo Jackson’s belief that his kids shouldn’t play the sport because of its dangers.

“I think that if he would have known about the Heads Up program, I don’t think that he would have said that he never would have let his kids play,” Gastineau said of Jackson. “The only reason that I would allow my child to play is because of this USAFootball.com. I would not allow my child to play if I did not have this Heads Up Football. There’s no way in the world. You cannot expect your child not to be injured if you do not enter this program.”

Gastineau also said he has no regrets about his career.

“I am so happy that I went through the times, the trials and things that I went through in the NFL,” Gastineau said. “I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

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