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Unsportsmanlike Podcast: ‘Survivor’ winner Jeremy Collins

Dale & Holley with Thornton’s intrepid producer Ben Kichen and I make no apologies for our unabashed love of the mother of all reality TV shows, “Survivor.” Which is why he and I joined forces to bring current “Survivor” champion, Cambridge firefighter and brand new father Jeremy Collins on the podcast.

After spending an hour with Jeremy, Ben and I can honestly say that he was not only a terrific, interesting and engaging guest, but a great guy. Seriously I can’t imagine meeting anybody I’d be happier to see win a million bucks and reality TV immortality. It’s our first podcast with him. I hope like hell it’s not our last. Enjoy.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Patriots fans start petition to get draft picks back

A group of Patriots fans have taken to Change.org and started a petition to get back the Patriots their first and fourth-round draft the NFL took away because of Deflategate:

MA CONSUMER COMPLAINT Filed 2015/02/05 UNDER MA GENERAL LAWS 93A (Section 2 & Section 2a):

On behalf of Consumers of the National Football League (NFL) in MA, I/we claim that the NFL has breached Chapter 93A, Section 2 & 2a of the MA General (Consumer) Laws by wrongfully taking away the 1st and 4th round draft picks (2016) of the New England Patriots, who were absolved of wrongdoing (see Ted Wells Report re: Team & coaches [lack of] involvement). …

By denying the team of aforementioned draft picks as punishment without guilt, the NFL has, in essence, created an unfair method of competition for the Patriots and the consumer, when compared to the other 31 NFL franchises and consumers who likewise, have not warranted such punishment. …

We hereby assert that the NFL’s action of taking away the two draft picks of the New England Patriots, without warrant, has unfairly altered the competitive fairness and consumer expectations of same!

I’m not typically a big petition-signer. Maybe I’ve just been approached one too many times by some hipster with white guy dreds handing me some clipboard with a document meant to give him something free at my expense. Or it could be the fact I’ve get to see anyone start a petition designed to make life easier for aging working guys with car payments, a mortgage who spend weekends doing all their own yardwork because their kids won’t help. Or maybe I’m turned off by all the stupid other petitions that have been floated out there like the Colts fan trying to put an asterisk on all the Patriots Super Bowls. But this is different. This is a pure good.

Sure, you can say, “What’s the point?” But great social movements have begun with less. This is the city where a small band of malcontents dumped the king’s tea into the drink and started a nation. A group of dissatisfied Dutch mill workers tossed their shoes, called sabos, into the gear works, creating the first act of sabotage. Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle” about the meat-packing industry and started a revolution in food safety. Lambda Lambda Lamdba won the school talent contest over the bully jock fraternity and ushered in a new era in geek culture. A nerdvana.

So there is no limit to what a motivated, downtrodden and abused group of people can do when they set their minds to it. Will it work? Will the NFL capitulate, reinstate those plundered draft picks and bring justice to the world? I cannot say. But I know it’s worth signing, if for no other reason than to say with one voice we will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. I’m signing this thing because for once someone has written a petition that benefits me and all I hold dear.

You make up your own mind. But you’re either with us, or you’re with the NFL.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Jackie MacMullan on OM&F: ‘Danny [Ainge] is going to make another run at Kevin Love’

ESPN NBA analyst Jackie MacMullan checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming NBA trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

MacMullan feels the Celtics and Danny Ainge will make another run at Kevin Love. She feels Love has gotten a “raw deal” in Cleveland, but ultimately she doesn’t think Love will be dealt because of where the Cavaliers are at in the standings.

“I do believe that Danny is going to make another run at Kevin Love because we know that he’s coveted Love all along,” MacMullan said. “The one thing that I think is interesting about Love, everybody is down on him — well, he stretches the floor, which we know Brad Stevens likes, right? Well, he can’t defend and I don’t know how you guys feel about real plus/minus, I tend to be a fan and I am sure the Celtics have things that are much more sophisticated than what we use at ESPN for real plus/minus, but just for the heck of it, I looked it up this morning on Kevin Love. He’s 12th overall in the league. That is pretty good.

“His defensive numbers right now — his defensive plus/minus is better than his offensive plus/minus. I think Kevin Love gets a raw deal when it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers and maybe why they aren’t performing maybe as well as they should. In fact, we know Kyrie Irving is coming off some pretty severe injuries, look at his numbers, they are horrible. His defensive real plus/minus is minus 3.22. The only point guard who plays significantly in the league that is worse are guys like Brandon Knight and actually Derek Rose. I think Kevin Love gets a raw deal.

“I would be thrilled if the Celtics could bring Kevin Love here, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If I am Cleveland, I’m the best team in the East and we all know every team — Golden State, San Antonio, they are one injury away from being vulnerable, I’m standing pat for the most part.”

To hear the complete interview, check it out below.

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Devin McCourty: ‘Tough’ to replace Jerod Mayo

It’s clear Jerod Mayo meant much more to the Patriots than what he did on the field. It went beyond football as Mayo was a person who cared about everyone in the organization and everyone felt the same way about him.

Speaking on Sirius XM NFL Radio Wednesday, safety Devin McCourty talked about what it will be like without Mayo on the team after the linebacker announced he will be retiring Tuesday night.

“First of all, I just think we’ll miss probably one of the best leaders that I have ever got a chance to play with,” McCourty said. “The thing I think with Mayo, he’s a special person. I think that is why going through the last couple years of his career — injuries, not being able to do the things he wants to do on the field because of rehab and different things like that, it didn’t bother him as much just hanging it up because he knows he has so much more he wants to do. I’m happy for him to be able to be at a space and time in his life where he’s OK not playing again.

“For us, from a football standpoint, it will be tough. That guy, no matter what, if he was on the field, if he was rehabbing, he kept the locker room light. He kept practice always entertaining and fun. I don’t think you will find a person in the building, top to bottom that doesn’t love Mayo and loved having him around. It will be tough.

“I don’t think we can replace him with a guy or even several guys. It will just be different, especially for me being there six years and him being there every year I was there. It will be tough going out here envision him playing and practicing and doing all those things not hearing his voice and him there in person.”

Mayo spent eight seasons in the league, all with the Patriots after being selected No. 10 overall in the 2008 draft.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Free agent snapshot: Danny Trevathan

Danny Trevathan (59) makes one of two fumble recoveries in Super Bowl 50. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Danny Trevathan (59) makes one of two fumble recoveries in Super Bowl 50. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

When free agency begins in early March, there are a handful of players across the league who could appeal to New England. With the understanding that the status of these players could change because of the franchise or transition tag, here are a few possibilities for the Patriots to consider. We have to stress that all of these guys are not necessarily considered the elite of the free agent class –€“€” instead, they’€™re players we think would be a good fit in New England. We started with Matt Forte, Anquan Boldin, Mohamed Sanu, Alshon Jeffery, Stevan Ridley, and now Danny Trevathan.

Player: Danny Trevathan

Position: Inside Linebacker

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 240 pounds

Age: 25 (turns 26, March 24)

The skinny: Trevathan is a speedy inside linebacker who has had a productive first four years in Denver since being drafted in the sixth round (188 overall) out of Kentucky in 2012. While technically listed on a lot of depth charts as an inside linebacker, Trevathan has enough closing speed to be considered a true weakside, sideline-to-sideline pursuing linebacker. He is undersized (at 6-foot-1) but is considered by scouts to be physical and tough. He turned into a special teams asset with the Broncos.

By the numbers: For a linebacker, Trevathan has put up some very impressive statistics in the turnover department, always a Bill Belichick defensive staple. Twice in the Super Bowl, he had huge recoveries for the Broncos. In the first half Panthers running back Mike Tolbert fumbled and Trevathan was there to recover. In the second half, Cam Newton fired a pass over the middle that was intercepted by T.J. Ward. But when Ward hesitated in his return and eventually fumbled, it was Trevathan there to save the day and keep possession with the Broncos. His best season came in 2013, when he started all 16 games for the AFC champs, intercepting three passes and forcing three fumbles. He had a career-best 129 tackles, two sacks and 10 passes defended. After an injury-plagued 2014, Trevathan bounced back this season to start all 15 games he played in, with two interceptions, including a pick-6. In essentially two seasons, (2012 special teams, ’14 injured), Trevathan has 19 passes defended, five interceptions, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

Why it would work: Bill Belichick will likely need someone to replace Jerod Mayo, assuming the eight-year veteran from Tennessee does not return. And while Dont’a Hightower certainly can fill the bill as a pure run-stopper, Trevathan has proven his ability over his first four years to be able to cover in passing downs. Trevathan is a three-down linebacker and could add remarkable quality depth to the linebacking corps, taking some of the burden off Hightower and Collins. In the Giants‘ glory days, Belichick had Lawrence Taylor, Pepper Johnson, Harry Carson and Carl Banks. Belichick has always had an affinity for great linebacking play. Add to the fact that Trevathan has proven himself as a special teams cog in Denver, and there’s plenty of reason to think Belichick could get his moneys-worth out of him.

Why it wouldn’€™€™t work: Trevathan looks for his payday. If the young linebacker hits the free market and agent Bus Cook looks to capitalize financially on the Super Bowl wave – and Trevathan’s role in one of the best defenses in recent memory – the Patriots would likely beg off. Trevathan would no doubt be welcome in Foxboro but only at the right price, as the Patriots have some other decisions to make financially after the 2016 season, namely Jamie Collins, Malcolm Butler, Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones. It’s highly unlikely the Patriots would spend big dollars on an unknown commodity (an outside player coming in) as opposed to committing dollars to a player they already know.

Our take: Denver has a lot of decisions to make on defense. They could tag Super Bowl MVP Von Miller or sign him to a long-term deal. They also have to address the futures of defensive linemen Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson. If somehow Trevathan slips through and becomes a free agent, this could be a player the Patriots pursue in free agency to add depth, versatility and youth to the linebacking corps. Look for the Patriots to make a play if Trevathan gets to the open market.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Hanley Ramirez takes ground balls, then talks Gold Gloves

Hanley Ramirez answered questions after his first day of taking grounders at first base in Fort Myers. (WEEI.com photo)

Hanley Ramirez answered questions after his first day of taking grounders at first base in Fort Myers. (WEEI.com photo)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Put it in the books. Day 1 of the most anticipated storyline of Red Sox spring training is in the books.

Hanley Ramirez worked at his new position, first base, for about 15 minutes on Field 1 at Fenway South without incident before answering questions about what it was like to be a first baseman. He then proceeded to run some sprints before heading into the clubhouse for a meeting with his new mentor, infield coach Brian Butterfield. (“He’€™s got some magic. I’€™m really happy to go out and work with him,” Ramirez said.)

Ramirez relayed that he has been working with Red Sox executive Laz Guitierrez in Miami for the last five or six weeks, taking grounders while using Mike Napoli‘s old first base mitt.

He is noticeably slimmer, taking Dave Dombrowski‘s mandate to get more athletic to heart.

“Everything is in the past now,” he said. “My whole body, my upper body, my lower body, core, we took care of everything. My shoulder got better. That top hand that I couldn’€™t use last year, that’€™s stronger.

“We have a pretty good plan. Everything went into the preparation, and I feel it right now.”

And then came the question regarding if Ramirez thought, with David Ortiz retiring after this season, if this first base thing was going to be a one year and done type of situation.

“What if I win a Gold Glove, what is going to happen next year?” he asked. “It’€™s too far away. I don’€™t make those decisions. I have a boss.”

So, is that Gold Glove thing a goal?

“It would be nice … for you guys,” he said with a chuckle.

“We’€™re going to work a lot,” Ramirez added. “I just want to make my infielders comfortable. Catch the ball and throw it. That’€™s the main key right now. Not have any thoughts in their mind where they have to throw the ball. I told Bogey right away, ‘€˜Just throw it in this area and you’€™ll be fine. Don’€™t worry. I’€™ve got you.’€™ Pedey, he don’€™t make bad throws, he told me.”

Then the nine-minute interview was punctuated with this: “Do you think you’ll be better than Dick Stuart?” (Stuart, of course, being the standard bearer for bad first basemen, having made 29 errors for the 1963 Red Sox.)

Ramirez just laughed, clearly not knowing how who Stuart was.

Let the fun begin.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Lance Armstrong whistleblower calls for Peyton Manning accuser to go public

This is Lance Armstrong’s whistleblower, Betsy Andreu, in a 2013 interview after Armstrong finally admitted to PED use after years of smearing her and her husband for telling the truth about his doping.

The Sporting News just interviewed Andreu about the allegations that Peyton Manning forced his man parts onto the face of his former U. of Tennessee trainer Dr. Jamie Naughright and then tried to destroy her reputation and her career. And Andreu offered some advice for the good doctor:

“My advice: Fight back. And fight back hard,” Andreu said.

“I can imagine she doesn’t want the publicity because she’s going to get smeared,” Andreu added. “But as hard as it is, she just has to stay strong. If I were her I’d say, ‘This is what happened and I’m not backing down from my story.’ Then you couple it with this whole Guyer clinic thing and it just paints a picture of a guy whose character is one huge, big question mark.”

But Andreu thinks Naughright will also get “unwavering support” from many quarters.

A stick tap to Sporting News for thinking of Andreu because I haven’t thought of them since probably that interview. But they offer the perfect template for what Dr. Naughright has probably gone through. Or really anyone who takes on a powerful, high-profile, famous person who’s backed by millions of dollars in business interests. It’s never easy to speak truth to power, especially when that power is the face of a major insurance conglomerate and in the pocket of Big Pizza. And of course Betsy Andreu makes a great point about how Manning was able to handle the Guyer clinic thing. It has to be doubly hard for Naughright to come forward when the guy she’s up against is capable of summoning his stormtroopers to go to another accuser’s parents’ house and intimidate him into changing his story.

So I hope Dr. Naughright can find the strength to take Betsy Andreu’s advice and speak out. Peyton and Archie Manning haven’t abided by the confidentiality agreement, so neither should she. It won’t be easy, as the case of the Andreus proves. But then, doing the right thing seldom is. And if she does, if she takes the tough path of coming clean and exposing Peyton Manning for the sexual assaulting monster and Archie Manning for the smear campaigner they are, then believe me, one of those “quarters” from which she’ll get “unwavering support” will be right here.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Vince Wilfork calls Jerod Mayo ‘my brother,’ wishes him well in retirement

In the hours following Jerod Mayo announcing his retirement Tuesday night, a few Patriots players took to social media to pay tribute to their former teammate and captain. That continued throughout the night and on Wednesday.

Even a former teammate paid his respects in Vince Wilfork, who called Mayo “my brother.”

Over the years I had a chance to play with some great ball players but no better person than my brother mayo. We spent a lot of time on and off the field and we became family. From his wife Chani and his three kids, chya, pop, and chyanne nothing but first class family. I had the luxury to become family and till this day enjoy our friendship we built over the years. There’s no price tag u can put on what we have. The struggles on field the meetings the film study the dinners the Bbq the crab boils Chani oxtails and chicken the good times and the bad times. Rehabbing together, working out together, You name it we done it and we will continue to do it cuz we are family. That’s something no one can take from us. No matter how far we are apart we only a phone call away. The game only last for so long and it’s time to move on and I understand that. Enjoy your life with ur family. Football is just a stepping stone for what we wanna be in life, now it’s time to enjoy life brotha. Thanks for the memories we have up to this point, because I know there is a lot more to make. and since you will have time, come to Houston so I can finally teach you how to Bbq lmao. I love u bro. Much love and respect to what u have accomplished so far but I kno it’s plenty more things in life you will excel in and I can’t wait to see and hear all about them. One love 💯 FOE ( family over everything )

A photo posted by VINCE WILFORK (@vincewilfork) on

Fellow linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins always paid tribute as well.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Jerod Mayo: A tribute

 

RETIRING A PATRIOT.

A photo posted by Jerod Mayo (@jerod_mayo51) on

.

And so, with a simple announcement on his Instaface, Jerod Mayo ends his career the way he conducted it. Quietly. With dignity and class. Largely unheralded. And altogether too soon.

It’s too soon to judge where Mayo, having had the last three seasons of an eight-year career end on injured reserve, ranks among the other Patriots greats. I just always believed that even at his healthiest best, he was underappreciated. I heard the knocks that he didn’t make enough “impact” plays. That he didn’t force many turnovers or produce enough sacks. That he’d get 100 tackles a season but they were all seven yards upfield. But that was not only unfair, it displayed an ignorance of what his role was in Bill Belichick‘s defense. In the Patriots’ “Spill it and kill it” scheme, with the defensive front forcing plays to the outside, no one was ever better at spilling sideline-to-sideline to prevent big gains than Mayo was. I truly believe that if the team asked him to rush off the edge, take the A-gap blitz or disrupt more, he would have been great at it. But played his assigned role. Wore the green dot. Quarterbacked the defense. And (wait for it) did … his … job.

Even the way the Patriots landed Mayo as a blue chipper out of Tennessee was impressive. The second-highest draft pick of the Bradichick Epoch (behind only Richard Seymour), the Pats had swindled the 2008 seventh overall pick from San Francisco for the second of their 2007 first rounders (the 28th overall). The draft back then started at noon on Saturday, and all week long rumors were flying that the Patriots were furiously working the phone lines, trying to swing a deal to move up and grab Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston. But when a Patriots beat reporter called Belichick at 5 p.m. on Friday, he was leaving the office to go watch his son’s lacrosse practice. Not a game. Not a game. We talking practice. Instead, the Jets took the cheese on the colossal bust that was Gholston while the Pats moved down to the 10th pick and selected the man who would be their defensive captain for the next eight seasons.

If anything, I think that Mayo suffered from a deplorable lack of self-promotion. That he was a victim of his own humility. If he did a signature move after every tackle, had a dance to pump up the crowd, said a bunch of outrageous stuff and hawked more products, he would have been a household name. But he was simply a guy who was only interested in winning football games. Who’d rather spend time in the film room than a studio shooting commercials. The fact that he never had an endorsement for mayonnaise alone should tell you where his head was at. And to his detriment, it wasn’t drawing attention to himself.

Fortunately, his coaches, teammates and most Patriots fans noticed him anyway. And I have no doubt he’s going to have a future in coaching or with a front office somewhere, because his football intellect would be wasted otherwise. With him now at the end of the line, I’m going to send Mayo off with the same Irish song I posted on Barstool Sports the day they drafted him and wonder where all that time went. Godspeed. And thanks.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton

Brandon Marshall on Bill Belichick: ‘I own him’

Brandon Marshall has never been afraid to speak his mind, and so the wide receiver didn’t hesitate to offer up his opinion when asked about Patriots coach Bill Belichick in a Twitter Q&A on Tuesday evening.

Marshall was asked if Belichick “haunts his dreams.” The receiver, who has averaged five catches for 78 yards in 10 career games against Belichick and the Patriots, responded by saying, “I own him.”

(For the record, Marshall’s teams are 3-7 in 10 career games against New England.)

It’s the second time in a week that an opposing player has taken a shot at Belichick on Twitter. Pittsburgh running back D’Angelo Williams, who is apparently still steamed that the Patriots selected Laurence Maroney ahead of him in the 2006 draft, said that the only player on the New England roster who likes Belichick is Tom Brady.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price