– The Saints have agreed to terms with QB Drew Brees on a 5-year/$100M contract. Per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the deal contains $60M guaranteed and $40M in the first season. Brees is now the NFL’s highest paid player. The 32-year-old broke Dan Marino’s nearly unbreakable passing yardage record in 2011, and reset his own league record for single-season completion rate. He’s now under team control through his age-37 season.
– The Seahawks have released WR Mike Williams. He was set to count $3.6M against the cap after catching just 18 passes for 236 yards in 12 games in 2011. The 28-year-old is still rehabbing from a late-season leg injury.
– Bucs’ RCB Eric Wright will not be formally charged with felony DUI following his July 2 arrest in Los Angeles, and the case has been dismissed. Of note, LCB Aqib Talib also recently had his felony assault with a deadly weapon charge dismissed. It was his Wright’s first brush with the law as an NFL player.
– Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Brewers are believed willing to offer RHP Zack Greinke an extension worth close to 5-years/$100M. According to Heyman, people close to the team “hold little hope” that Greinke will sign an extension just months away from free agency. Greinke will likely be shopped leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
– Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that LHP Brian Fuentes, 36, is “likely” to join the Cardinals. Fuentes was granted his release by the A’s this week after posting a 6.84 ERA and 18/10 K/BB ratio over 25 innings this season.
– The Rockies have placed 1B Todd Helton (right hip inflammation) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 9. Helton has been bothered by the hip for the past few weeks.
– Baseball America’s Jim Callis reports that the Pirates failed to reach an agreement with 1st-round pick RHP Mark Appel. Appel is the only first-round pick not to sign. The 20-year-old ended up falling to No. 8 overall in last month’s First-Year Player Draft after reportedly turning down a $6M bonus from the the Astros. The Pirates were willing to go as high as $3.8M to sign him, well above of the slot recommendation of $2.9M. The Pirates will get the ninth pick in next year’s draft while Appel will return to Stanford for his senior season.
– 2012 No. 4 overall pick RHP Kevin Gausman wrote on his Twitter account on Friday that he has agreed to terms with the Orioles. Gausman is at Camden Yards and is expected to be officially introduced at a press conference prior to Friday’s game. ESPN’s Keith Law reports that he’ll get a $4.32M bonus, slightly above MLB’s slot recommendation of $4.2M. Gausman, 21, was the first pitcher selected in last month’s First-Year Player Draft.
– ESPN’s Keith Law reports that the Nationals have signed 1st-rounder RHP Lucas Giolito. Giolito will get a $2.925M bonus, above the recommended slot value of $2.1M for the No. 16 pick.
– The Braves have placed C Brian McCann on the paternity leave list. McCann is leaving the team to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child. He can remain on the paternity leave list for 24 to 72 hours.
– The NHL’s reported initial CBA proposal suggests that the players should reduce their share of the revenues to 46%, down from 57%. The NHL also wants 5-year entry-level contracts, an elimination of salary arbitration, no contracts in excess of five years, and players to spend 10 years in the NHL before their eligible to become UFAs. Wow. Stay tuned.
– The Avalanche have signed F Jamie McGinn to a 2-year/$3.5M contract extension. McGinn scoring eight goals and 13 points in 17 games with the Avs last season.
– According to John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR Phoenix’s sources, UFA F Shane Doan has been offered a 4-year/$30M+ contract by an undisclosed Eastern Conference team. Previous reports have suggested that the 36-year-old wants to stay in the West. Stay tuned.
– The Jets have re-signed F Kyle Wellwood to a 1-year/$1.6M contract. Wellwood recorded a career-high 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 77 games with the Jets last season.
– The Canadiens have re-signed D Raphael Diaz to a 2-year/$2.45M contract worth $1.2M and $1.25M. He posted three goals and 13 assists in 59 games as an NHL rookie in 2011-12. His 102 shots ranked third among first-year rearguards.
– The Ducks have signed 1st-round pick D Hampus Lindholm and F Nick Bonino to a 3-year entry-level contracts. Lindholm, 18, was the sixth overall pick in last month’s draft. He finished last season with Rogle BK, helping the club earn promotion to the Swedish Elite League. Bonino had five goals and 13 assists in 50 games last season with the Ducks.
– The Sabres agreed to terms on a 3-year, entry-level contract with F Zemgus Girgensons. He was selected with the 14th pick in the first round, spent the last two seasons with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League, recording 45 goals, 59 assists and 115 penalty minutes through 100 games.
– Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that Rockets’ F Luis Scola has been officially released using the amnesty clause on Friday. Houston is putting all its chips towards Magic’ F Dwight Howard. By clearing Scola’s contract, Houston can take three of the four bad Magic contracts–including Jason Richardson, Glen Davis, Chris Duhon and Hedo Turkoglu–in any potential trade for Howard. Scola has career averages of 14.5 PPGand 7.7 RPG and will draw league-wide interest.
– David Aldridge reports that Knicks’ RFA G Jeremy Lin has officially signed a 3-year/$25.1M offer sheet with the Rockets. The contract to Lin is for $5M in year one, $5.225M in year two and $14.898M in year three. Head coach Mike Woodson has gone on record saying that Lin will be his starting point guard next season.
– According to Adrian Wojnarowski, a league source has confirmed that the Mavericks successfully claimed F Elton Brand off amnesty waivers on Friday for $2.1M. The Mavs are also believed to be close to signing F Chris Kaman. Both appear to be solid signings by Dallas.
– According to beat writer Chris Haynes on Friday, Blazers’ RFA G Nicolas Batum attempted to sign a Wolves’ offer sheet earlier in the week, only to have it rejected by the league. The Wolves reportedly didn’t have enough cap space to make the transaction, and will now have to wait until Sunday. Portland may try and pull a sign-and-trade to avoid losing him for free.
– The Pacers have officially re-signed F Roy Hibbert to a 4-year/$59M contract. Hibbert was an All-Star last year and averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 blocks per game last season.
– The Sixers and F Kwame Brown have agreed on a 2-year/$6M contract with a player option for the second year. He should become the team’s starting five.
– WWE.com published a rare interview with company head Vince McMahon that WWE Magazine conducted in 2007 in celebration of 15h anniversary of Raw. The WWE Chairman discusses the longevity of Raw, competing with WCW, the future of the sports entertainment industry and who he feels is the most important Superstar in the evolution of the program—it’s a Rattlesnake.
“There’s no question that guys like Triple H, The Rock, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker have all made enormous contributions to this company, but if there was one single personality that exemplified Raw in the truest sense of what I wanted it to be, it would be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.”
“Make no mistake, the Attitude Era started long before “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Bret Hart was the first one to push Mr. McMahon on his ass. When the audience responded to that incident so positively, I knew we had something. The great thing about what we do is that we have a focus group every night – our fans. You think you’re giving them what they want, but then they shift on you. Raw has changed. Raw has continued to be flexible in order to keep true to what WWE fans want to see. That’s why Raw has produced more hours than any other television show in history.”
When asked about Raw running the competition out of business, World Championship Wrestling, he noted, “I don’t think we drove WCW out of business. That was certainly never our intent. That was the mindset of Ted Turner and WCW, but not WWE. See, if you spend all of your energy trying to kill the other guy, your product suffers.
“If you don’t kill the other guy, then he’s going to come back at you, and when he comes back, you won’t have done anything to make your house better. It’s no different than being in a fight and knowing that, if the other guy keeps on hitting you, that son of a bitch is going to wear himself out pretty fast.”
– WWE.com reports Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler and ring announcer Justin Roberts were involved in a car accident just outside of downtown San Diego, California on Friday afternoon shortly after 5:00 p.m. PT. The three performers were traveling in a limousine, which was rear-ended as they were transported from Comic-Con: International at the San Diego Convention Center. All three individuals were reportedly evaluated by paramedics shortly after the accident and no serious injuries have been reported at this time. WWE.com plans to issue more details as they become available.
– Former WCW talent Marcus Alexander Bagwell (aka Buff Bagwell) was apprehended by Georgia law enforcement on Monday and charged with reckless driving, according to the official website of the Georgia Department of Corrections. The 42-year-old wrestler was taken into custody to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and subsequently released on bond. Bagwell has largely recovered from injuries suffered in a serious car accident on April 23 while traveling in Cherokee County, Georgia. Here’s Bagwell’s latest mugshot picture:
– Former WWE talent Serena Deeb posted a denial-type statement on her Twitter account Friday night in response to online reports of her arrest last Sunday in Tampa, Florida.
“Ok…can anyone REALLY picture me driving a boat? Get real.”
Her arrest report says she was charged with violation 327.35 BUI VESSEL, which according to the official website of the Florida state legislature is (BUI) Boating Under the Influence. The website states that “a person is guilty of the offense of boating under the influence and is subject to punishment as provided in subsection (2) if the person is operating a vessel within this state and: (a) The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance set forth in s. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when affected to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired.”
Deeb also addressed individuals she perceives as being judgmental toward her:
“AND…next time the highlight of your day involves judging others who you know nothing about, maybe you should look yourself in the mirror.”
Deeb appeared for WWE in 2010 as a member of the CM Punk-led Straight Edge Society, a group which promoted and abided to abstinence and discipline—primarily no smoking, drinking, or drugs. The faction acted as a militant organization, denouncing all people who didn’t practice the straight edge lifestyle, even those who also abstain from substance abuse. Her contract was terminated in August of that year, with WWE sources cited to the Pro Wrestling Torch saying that she was not maintaining the gimmick’s image in public. In December 2011, she acknowledged her troubles with alcohol and proudly proclaimed to having achieved one full year of sobriety.
Deeb tweeted December 5, 2011,
“Today I am incredibly proud, as it marks one full year I have gone without drinking alcohol. A year ago I looked myself in the mirror & reevaluated my priorities. I decided to make serious changes. I have always wanted to be a role model & help others around me because I believe that makes the world a better place. I hope this message can inspire & encourage whoever reads it.
“Oftentimes when people approach change, it can be overwhelming. One week is hard, one year is even harder and ‘forever’ almost sounds impossible. From my personal account, I think it’s helpful to take things one day at a time & to constantly remind yourself of the bigger picture.
“We all have changes that we want to implement. A new year approaching is the perfect opportunity. Don’t limit yourself & the potential that you have to live a better life. Change is never easy BUT with a challenge, you build a stronger character. Self confidence & a strong will are very empowering. Take small steps & don’t look back- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Deeb has since taken an indefinite leave from professional wrestling due to the effects of a serious concussion suffered in a match. She now works as a yoga instructor.
– Diamond Dallas Page clarified remarks he made during a recent interview concerning a possible induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The former WCW World Heavyweight Champion noted that until Randy Savage and Jake Roberts are in the elusive Hall, he’s content waiting in line. Speaking to Wrestling Inc., he now says that he would “absolutely” accept an invitation to be inducted if offered.
“When I was being interviewed, they kept asking me over and over and over again [if he wanted to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame]. I told them, ‘listen, it’s not that big of a deal. Until Jake Roberts and Randy Savage are in, who am I to bitch about anything? [laughs] What happens, happens. It’s not something I sit around thinking about.’
“But I sure as hell didn’t say that I’d turn it down… that’s ridiculous. The [expletive] that wrote that took me out of context.”
– Bruno Sammartino appeared on Inside The Ropes on Thursday night and he had a lot to say. Here are the highlights of what Sammartino said about:
Memories of WrestleMania 1: “When McMahon contacted me after Vince Sr died, he asked me if I would come back saying he wanted to carry on his fathers tradition and who better to do that with than me because I’d been there for so many years. I agreed because he said I’d do broadcasting once every three weeks. Everything turned out to be not true. He did not keep in his father’s tradition. He made changes that I personally didn’t care for. I saw the disgusting steroid and drug use that bother me tremendously so things started going bad for me in that relationship. As for that WrestleMania, I had no idea how big it would be. I was there as a second, with my son on the ring. I was so unhappy at the time. I just wanted to get away from there.”
The Changes in Wrestling He Didn’t Like: “Not that we had girl wrestlers, they brought them in skimpy. The wrestling, they started getting more vulgar, the profanity, the language. Everything had changed. Triple H having sex with a corpse in a casket. You can imagine what that would do to someone like me who had been in the business 25 years and see this. To see Steve Austin, the champion, he had a can of beer in his hand and they had to bleep every word, there were little kids in the audience. It appalled me.”
Thoughts on Hulk Hogan: “People get fooled by publicity. Hogan wasn’t a good champion at all. In 1985, Hogan had been champion for a year and a half. Vince asked me to put on the tights because the house was down. He would do a good house the first time, but if he came back the second, or dare the third time, he couldn’t draw. He wasn’t a great performer. It did not work. He would use him more for merchandise and pay per view events. He was not a good for a champion like previous people.”
Backstage Incident With Ric Flair In 2004: “He’s an idiot. A first class pathetic idiot. He wrote a book and said something that wasn’t very complimentary about me, I haven’t read it so I don’t know. So I’m standing in the hallway at the show talking to 2, 3 people and my back was turned to him. When I turned round and he saw me, I started walking towards him to say hello and he turned away and ran. Later he told one of the Hebner brothers that he wanted to come say hello to me but I turned my back on him and ignored him. Which is a complete bold class lie.”
Why He’s Not in the Hall of Fame: “I am in the Hall of Fame. The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. Only wrestlers get inducted there. When you talk about McMahon’s Hall of Fame, I absolutely wouldn’t have any part of it because of my feelings for him and his company. Secondly, it’s not a legitimate Hall of Fame. When you have kids and you wanna go see a building, there’s nowhere to go. It’s just a marketing campaign. Look who’s in it, game show hosts, Drew Carey. A baseball player, football player. I’d be embarrassed to be in that Hall of Fame.”
What He’d Do if He Wa Inducted Into the Hall of Fame Post-Humously: “I don’t know the law….that’s something an attorney would have to tell me. I don’t know what the law is on that. That’s a good question. I’m glad you asked me that because I’m going to ask my lawyer about that.”
– Zack Ryder is back with Episode 75 of the Z! True Long Island Story. This installment takes place from Comic Con in San Diego, California:
– Jack Swagger granted his first wish for the Make-A-Wish organization on Monday night when he met Brandi RedCloud-Owen. Swagger had this to say about the experience to WWE.com:
“Being able to be a part of a Make-A-Wish for Brandi was something that really hit home for me. I know it made her day to have lunch with a WWE Superstar. At the same time, it made my day to be a part of something magical and realize that just the littlest things can make the biggest difference in people’s lives.”
– According to the Wrestling Observer, more female talent changes within the ranks of major league wrestling could be in the works as two unnamed women wrestlers are rumored to have requested their releases from TNA Wrestling this week. The official Twitter feed of female independent women’s wrestling promotion Women Superstars Uncensored wrote Thursday afternoon,
“Hearing rumors two knockouts asked for their releases today….”
“Getting calls from people at TNA tonite, a lot of contracts are expiring. TNA wants to put them on pay-per deals and kill weekly contracts for some. I haven’t watched TNA since January 2010 but for people who do, if you don’t see someone [on Impact Wrestling] tonight, keep it in the back of your head.”
– Kurt Angle compared Samoa Joe’s in-ring style to Chris Benoit during this week’s Impact Wrestling post-show:
“[Samoa] Joe and I know how to trade off submissions really well,” Angle said. “I compare Joe… he’s a much bigger type of Chris Benoit, he had that ability. He knows how to trade off submissions, he knows a lot of submissions. I enjoy wrestling Joe because it’s such a challenge.”
Angle’s comments comparing Joe to Benoit can be seen below around the 9:50 mark:
– Former TNA Wrestling talent Angel Williams (a/k/a Angelina Love) worked this week on the next Dark Rising project, an independent Canadian horror comedy film series she stars in. She also relayed her excitement for the future via Twitter.
“Even more good news and exciting projects coming up….stay tuned!!! ?#askbelievereceive? ?#soblessed?”