– Vikings’ WR Sidney Rice (hip) has undergone surgery and is expected to keep him out for half of the regular season. Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune speculates that Rice’s contract situation is the reason the surgery was delayed, and that he elected to go ahead and have the procedure because he’s making just $550K.
– The Jets have re-signed C Nick Mangold to a 7-year/$55M contract. Guarantees haven’t been finalized so the deal isn’t done quite yet, but the $7.86M annual average makes him the highest paid center in football. Now under contract through his age-32 season, Mangold has emerged over the past two seasons as the NFL’s premier center on the league’s premier run-blocking line.
– Tigers’ OF Johnny Damon told reporters after Monday’s game that he is leaning towards staying with the Tigers. “My gut and everything else tells me Detroit’s the place for me.” The Red Sox claimed Damon off waivers on Monday, however the 36-year-old has the right to exercise his NTC. He’s leaning towards staying right now, but a lot can change in 24 hours.
– Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello told the Bergen Record they are still negotiating a new contract with F Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk has been working out in Russia the last several weeks and there has not been much chatter regarding him negotiating with any other clubs. Odds are he and the Devils will reach an agreement soon. Stay tuned.
– Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini is finding it hard to trade D Sheldon Souray. He has 2 years remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $5.4M and he has injury concerns as well, so trying to find a suitable trading partner has not been easy. A recent rumour had Souray heading to the Capitals in for F Tomas Fleischmann, but the Capitals are also among a handful of teams trying to sign D Willie Mitchell. The Oilers may wait until training camp opens and see if they can deal him to a team in need if injuries occur. Tambellini said he will be working hard to try to get something done in the next couple of weeks. If Souray does end up attending camp it could be a distraction that neither side wants. Stay tuned.
– Ducks’ F Joffrey Lupul (blood infection in back) is expected to miss the start of training camp after suffering a setback in his recovery. He stopped training one month ago because of discomfort and it may keep him on the sidelines for the beginning of the regular season as well. GM Bob Murray said, “He’s expected to make a full recovery. However, he will not be able to train until he’s completed his cycle of antibiotics (on Sept. 20). He will be re-evaluated at that point.”
– WWE has released Serena. She had made her WWE in-ring debut during last week’s SmackDown, defeating Kelly Kelly in a mixed tag match. The decision to cut the Straight Edge Society member was made shortly after last week’s SmackDown tapings. An official announcement has not yet been made by WWE and likely will not be made until the weekend. She appeared at last Wednesday’s SmackDown tapings (set to air this Friday night) and accompanied Luke Gallows to the ring for his match with the Big Show. While we are awaiting confirmation as to why Serena was let go, two WWE sources, it’s believed that her conduct on the road has been a major factor. Unlike Straight Edge Society leader CM Punk, who lives his substance-free gimmick in real life, Serena liked to be party and it got the attention of WWE management. After being warned several times and being told she needed to behave better, there was a recent incident (details are forthcoming) that led to her being released. Serena’s wild behavior on the road is a similar situation that led to Mickie James’ WWE release earlier this year.
– Last week, WWE responded to claims former wrestler Chris Nowinski made regarding the company’s business practices under Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s leadership. Political news outlet The Hill published his response today to WWE’s statement.
* WWE’s claim that Lance Cade was a stranger to Nowinski: “It is very dubious that he ever had a conversation with Lance Cade much less Lance Cade confiding to a total stranger that he used painkillers and steroids.”
Nowinski responded: “They don’t think I’ve ever met my 2003 tag team partner in the WWE developmental system who I worked with in Cincinnati and Louisville in 2002-2003 almost daily and saw regularly while working with WWE until 2007?
“Linda [McMahon] can spend $24M on a campaign, you’d think they could hire a decent PR person.”
* WWE’s response to Nowinski’s claim regarding steroids: “He states WWE suggested that its performers take steroids. However, at no time does he ever state that it was suggested that he do so.”
Nowinski replied: ?”The point I was making was that they reward people who take steroids.”
* Nowinski not notifying WWE of his concussion history: “Chris Nowinski did not reveal, as required, that he suffered previous concussions before signing his contract with WWE.”
He responded: “[I] was unaware that I had a concussion history until the last one.”
Nowinski felt he had to speak out due to McMahon’s public position.
“When someone would disrespect a deceased former employee, when she’s seeking [a Senate seat], as a patriot you have to say something. You want to make sure good people are in those jobs.”
– “The Million Dollar” Man Ted DiBiase discussed his usage of steroids and cocaine during an interview with The Courier.
“I took steroids for a very short time. It should be obvious by looking at me that I didn’t take them regularly because I was in good shape, but I was never massive. My strength was my ability to talk and my work in the ring. I always looked like an athlete but I didn’t look like Charles Atlas.”
“The thing about the steroids was I was always afraid of them and I finally had a doctor tell me about the effects and that warned me right off them — that was it for me with that stuff. The only other drug I took for a while was cocaine. Now this doesn’t sound like the Million Dollar Man, but I stopped doing that because I was cheap — I didn’t want to spend the money on it!”
– The Bobcats have signed F Kwame Brown to a 1-year/$1.3M deal. The interesting thing here is that after Brown busted as the No. 1 overall pick, he became a symbol of Michael Jordan’s incompetence as an executive. Now Brown and Jordan are reunited (and it feels so good!).
Marc Valeri – email@example.com
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