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Friday, March 27, 2015

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Ravens send whiny tweet about Patriots using ineligible receivers

Patriots-ineligible-formation

The NFL approved a number of rule change proposals on Wednesday, one of which involves where ineligible receivers are allowed to line up. This particular change was inspired by the New England Patriots deceiving the Baltimore Ravens during the divisional round of the playoffs, and the Ravens are still crying about it.

As Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes, the new rule will require all players who declare themselves ineligible to line up within the tackle box. Here’s how the Ravens chose to describe the change:

The Patriots didn’t “use” ineligible receivers. They fooled the Ravens — and possibly officiating crew — by having running back Shane Vereen declare himself ineligible but still line up as a slot receiver. While referee Bill Vinovich clearly announced that No. 34 was ineligible, the Ravens were still confused and gave up big passes to the tight end.

The issue that the league found was with the rule, not what the Patriots did. While Vereen would not have been eligible to receive a forward pass, he still could have accepted and advanced a lateral. Now that players who are ineligible have to line up within the tackle box, defenses won’t have to cover them just in case they receive a lateral.

If you remember, Tom Brady took a swipe at the Ravens after the Patriots beat Baltimore with the help of that formation. Finding loopholes in rules isn’t the same as breaking rules. The way the Ravens phrased the tweet makes them sound like crybabies.

Perro Aguayo Jr. died from heart attack caused by broken neck

AguayoScreen Shot 2015-03-21 at 12.55.05 PM

Perro Aguayo Jr., the Mexican wrestling star who lost his life in the ring over the weekend, died from a heart attack that was caused by a broken neck.

Ernest Franco, the official doctor for the Tijuana Wrestling Commission, said on Tuesday that Aguayo suffered a cervical stroke after breaking his neck, which led to cardiac arrest. TWC president Juan Carlos Pelayo said no negligence was found in Aguayo’s death. There were some who felt help was too slow to arrive as Aguayo was laying lifeless against the ropes.

You can see a video of the match where Aguayo suffered his fatal injuries here. It may be disturbing for some viewers.

According to the TWC, it took paramedics 80 seconds to respond after it was clear Aguayo needed help. There were two ambulances, five paramedics and a doctor inside the arena in Tijuana during the event.

The shot that Aguayo took from Rey Mysterio did not appear excessive by any means. This was clearly a case of a freak accident that turned into a horrible nightmare. Aguayo was one of the most popular wrestlers in Mexico and was AAA wrestling’s most notorious heel.

Kevin Love: Russell Westbrook should be MVP over LeBron James

LeBron James Kevin Love

Kevin Love has had a first-hand look this year at what LeBron James is capable of, and he does not think it stacks up equally to what Russell Westbrook has done with the Oklahoma City Thunder — at least this season.

During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, Love was asked if he thought LeBron or Westbrook was more deserving of the NBA’s MVP Award at the moment. While Love was certainly complimentary of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, he gave the nod to his former UCLA teammate.

“I would just say because of time spent on the court, you know ‘Bron took those few games off and those couple of weeks off,” Love said, per ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin. “They’re both having MVP-type seasons, but I’m going to go with Russell Westbrook because every single night you’re looking at his stat sheet, they’re fighting for a playoff spot even with Serge Ibaka going down now, Kevin Durant potentially being out the rest of the year and [Westbrook] still going out there and really fighting for his team and them winning and fighting for that seventh and eighth spot in the playoffs,” Love told Patrick. “I think Russ is arguably having the better season.”

This, of course, is a big deal — big enough that you knew reporters were going to ask LeBron for his thought’s on Love’s opinion.

“I don’t really think too much of it, really,” James said after practice on Tuesday. “I don’t really get involved in that. I think the voters are going to decide who is the MVP. I think what Russ has been doing, his numbers have been pretty crazy keeping those guys afloat in the West in his play. Steph Curry can make a case, for sure, what he’s been doing — James Harden and myself, as well. So, Kevin has his own opinion of who he believes is the MVP. No one should fault him for that.”

As McMenamin notes, Westbrook has missed 15 games this season due to injury. LeBron has missed 11. Still, there’s no arguing that Westbrook’s play has been incredible as the Thunder continue to cling to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with Durant shut down indefinitely.

LeBron is averaging 25.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. Westbrook has averaged 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 8.7 assists and has become a triple-double machine. I tend to agree with Love’s selection. But as we saw with the comments Love made about his relationship with LeBron earlier this week, nothing with these two is a small deal to the media.

Brock Lesnar staying with WWE despite UFC doubling offer at last second

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar announced on Tuesday that his MMA career is officially over, as he has signed a new contract to remain with the WWE. The 37-year-old told ESPN’s SportsCenter that he made a very difficult decision to turn down the UFC.

“It was a very hard decision at this stage of my career,” Lesnar said. “The fighter inside me wants to compete. The father and husband — I’m an older caveman now. I make wiser caveman decisions. So, I’m here to say my legacy in the Octagon is over.

“It was a hard decision to make. It took me a year. I’ve thought about this for a year. At the end of the day, it’s all about me wanting to have fun. The last two-and-a-half months I’ve been training to get back into the Octagon. I felt physically great, but something lacked mentally — and that’s not good.”

Lesnar told the Associated Press that UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta pushed hard to get him to reconsider, even offering to double the UFC’s initial offer after Lesnar told Fertitta and Dana White that he was sticking with wrestling.

“Lorenzo said to me, ‘Can we sharpen our pencil? Can we double it?'” Lesnar said. “I said, ‘It’s not about that. I’m calling you to tell you where my heart is, and it’s not about the money.’

“And then in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘Well, yeah, it is about the money, but I don’t have to beat myself up for it.’ To prepare for another MMA fight, we’re talking 16, 18 weeks of pure hell, and then the cage door shuts and it’s on.”

In an interview with FOX Sports shortly after Lesnar announced his decision, White said he was “happy” for the former UFC heavyweight champ and that he heard Vince McMahon made Lesnar an offer he couldn’t turn down.

Either something changed in the last several weeks, or Lesnar knew he was staying with the WWE all along and is a great negotiator. For a while it was reported that Lesnar had hit a contract snag with McMahon and company and that WWE executives expected him to return to the octagon.

H/T MMAfighting

Urban Meyer agonizing over choosing QB for Ohio State

Cardale Jones

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes are currently dealing with what many would call “first world problems.” The defending national champions have three quarterbacks who could easily start on just about every team in the nation. Meyer is not looking forward to having to choose one of them.

On Tuesday, Meyer told reporters that he has not come to a decision but hinted that he will be giving the job to one player, not two.

On the surface, it would seem that Meyer can’t go wrong. Braxton Miller was a clear-cut Heisman Trophy candidate before he injured his shoulder during the preseason last year. J.T. Barrett then took over, and he was putting together a Heisman-worthy season before suffering a leg injury against Michigan. That’s when freshman Cardale Jones came on and led the Buckeyes through the playoffs.

For a while, it looked like Miller was planning to transfer — especially if this porn star got her way. Now, it appears that all three quarterbacks are sticking around. Miller, Barrett and Jones are all capable of winning games. The real issue for Meyer will be trying to keep everyone in the right mindset emotionally.

H/T Sporting News

Paul Pierce accused of leaving New York apartment ‘in shambles’

Paul Pierce Wizards

When Paul Pierce departed the Brooklyn Nets for the Washington Wizards, he left behind more than just 13.5 points per game and his veteran leadership. According to his former landlords, Pierce also left a high-end condo “in shambles.”

According to Barbara Ross of the NY Daily News, the owners of a condo in Tribeca filed a lawsuit against Pierce in a Manhattan Supreme Court claiming that he nearly destroyed the place.

“(They) left the apartment in shambles, converting some of the items … to their personal gain and … ripping out carpeting, wooden floors … a washer and dryer and an expensive and unique stone hearth from the fireplace,” court papers read.

The owners, Rejeev Tewari and Anuragini Pandey, currently live in Singapore. They say Pierce and his wife were renting the unit for $32,000 a month before vacating it without notice and refusing to pay the final year of their two-year lease.

The court documents claim the original wooden floors in all four bedrooms were replaced with pink carpeting. Tewari and Pandey claim it cost them $225,500 to repair floors, cabinet doors in the kitchen and two baths, a broken frosted glass door between the living room and fireplace room and clean wooden floors in the five bathrooms.

Pierce is not the first professional athlete we have heard of that allegedly trashed his apartment. But pink rugs instead of hardwood floors? That almost seems like an elaborate prank.

ESPN 980’s The Man Cave back on after Dan Snyder speculation, prank call

Dan Snyder keep the name shirt

Earlier this month, former Washington Post columnist Jason Reid announced that he was leaving the newspaper to join ESPN 980’s (WTEM-AM) new morning show “The Man Cave.” The Washington, D.C. radio station had heavily promoted the March 16 debut of the show, but it never aired.

After a two-week period where no explanation was given, the Washington Post reports that the show is set to air on Monday. Some initially speculated that Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who is the primary investor in ESPN 980 parent company Red Zebra, had stepped in and squashed the show because Reid has been so critical of Redskins management in recent years.

There were also some prank phone calls from someone pretending to be ESPN president John Skipper. As the Post notes, someone posing as Skipper called ESPN 980 and managed to convince Red Zebra executive chief Rick Carmean that he was actually the ESPN boss and did not want “The Man Cave” filling a time slot that was previously filled by the nationally-syndicated “Mike and Mike in the Morning” show.

In one of the calls, the imposter threatened legal trouble for the station and possible financial penalties if it bumped “Mike and Mike” for “The Man Cave,” according to three people with knowledge of the calls.

While it seemed odd that someone as high-profile as Skipper would meddle with programming at a local affiliate, the imposter was apparently convincing to Carmean, who took the calls. In addition to mimicking Skipper’s accent (Skipper is a native of North Carolina), the caller also knew details about the station’s inner workings and called from a number with an 860 area code — in Connecticut, where ESPN is headquartered.

Redskins president Bruce Allen then made calls to Skipper to address his concerns, which is when it was discovered that Skipper had no issue with “The Man Cave” and had not made any calls to the station. Longtime WTEM program director Chuck Sapienza has since resigned from his position (even after learning that the “Skipper” calls were bogus), apparently because he feared that the future of “The Man Cave” was in doubt.

We have seen Snyder do some incredibly stupid things over the years (remember this clever stunt?), so we wouldn’t put it past him to make life difficult for one of his critics. But if the debut of “The Man Cave” was delayed by a prank phone call, that is pretty damn embarrassing.

Google Maps led to Edwin Jackson arriving late to stadium

edwin-jackson-cubs

Edwin Jackson was scheduled to start the Cubs’ game Tuesday afternoon against the A’s. Unfortunately, Jackson did not arrive to the stadium on time due to difficulty getting directions to Oakland’s spring training complex.

The A’s now play their spring training games at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Arizona. That’s where Jackson thought he would end up. Instead, his destination ended up being Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which is Oakland’s old complex for the spring.

“I put in Google Maps and typed in ‘Oakland Athletics Spring Training complex,’ and it took me to the old one,” Jackson said, according to MLB.com. “I know it’s crazy, but that pretty much sums it up.”

“At the end of the day, it’s my fault for not looking to see where they’re at,” he said. “I figured, type in the Spring Training complex and the right address would come up, but it didn’t.”

Jackson finally arrived to Hohokam Park about 20 minutes prior to the start of the game. Since it was so close to first pitch, the team opted to have Jackson take the mound in the second inning. The day didn’t get much better for Jackson once he began his shift on the hill. The A’s knocked him around to the tune of nine hits and scored eight runs, all in just 1.2 innings.

In 2013, Jackson signed a four-year contract with the Cubs worth $52 million, but he has struggled through his first two seasons in Chicago. While many fans have become frustrated with him, Jackson had pitched well early in camp. However, Tuesday’s outing will surely lead some to think this year they will see the same old Edwin Jackson once again.

Bobby Hurley reportedly front-runner for DePaul job

Bobby Hurley

Bobby Hurley has only been a college basketball head coach for two seasons, but that may be enough to convince a big program to hire him.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Hurley is the front-runner for the DePaul job.

DePaul is looking for a new head coach after firing Oliver Purnell two weeks ago after he failed to win more than 12 games in any of his five seasons on the job. The Blue Demons have only reached the NCAA Tournament twice since 1992, but they were a very strong program during the mid-’70s and throughout the ’80s.

Hurley’s ascension at Buffalo has people believing he is ready for a bigger job. He led the Bulls to a 19-10 season last year and 23-10 season this year. He took them to the NCAA Tournament this month where they lost in the first round to West Virginia. Prior to becoming a head coach, Bobby served under his brother Dan at Wagner and Rhode Island.

Hurley was a two-time national champion at Duke before becoming a first-round pick by the Sacramento Kings in 1993. His professional playing career was derailed by a serious car accident.

One thing DePaul would be getting if they hired Hurley is someone who does not back down against anyone. That’s the type of attitude they need at DePaul.

Prince Fielder drops down bunt to beat shift (Video)

If teams are going to insist on using defensive shifts against Prince Fielder, he may just have to burn them with bunts.

During a spring training game between the Angels and Rangers Tuesday, Prince dropped a perfect bunt down the third base side of the infield for his first career bunt hit.

Fielder has found things more difficult at the plate ever since opposing defenses started using shifts against him more frequently, so this is one way to keep them honest. It also makes you wonder why more players facing shifts don’t do the same thing. If they’re giving it to you, why not take advantage of it?

And kudos to Fielder — he had excellent technique and made it clear he has been practicing this:

Prince Fielder bunt

H/T Buster Olney

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