Forbes magazine has the results of a Nielsen/E-Poll Market Research survey of NFL fans that attempted to determined which players are the most and least popular. Ranking No. 1, with a 63 percent appeal rating, is Steelers defensive back Troy Polamalu. At the bottom of the list is Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh, whose dirty play and off-field issues led to his 19 percent rating.

Normally brash Jets coach Rex Ryan found himself in unfamiliar position on Monday -- defending his team for appearing scared down the stretch of a game against the rival Patriots.

The drumbeat in New York continues for the Yankees to trade Alex Rodriguez, but general manager Brian Cashman is showing loyalty -- at least publicly -- to the team's embattled slugger. While acknowledging he will listen to offers for any of his players, Cashman insisted Sunday that it's "unrealistic" to think he's going to trade A-Rod.

"If anyone wastes their time thinking Alex Rodriguez is not going to be with us in spring training, they'd be wrong," Cashman told the New York Daily News.

Over at our LEEInks blog, you'll find our list of the worst coaches/managers in Boston sports history. Did we get it right? Is Bobby Valentine where he belongs? How about Rick Pitino? Or Butch Hobson? Make your opinion heard by casting your vote for Boston's all-time worst coach/manager in our reader poll.

The Yankees were swept out of the postseason Thursday night in Detroit, but the beginning of the end came days earlier in the Bronx. An unidentified Yankees player told the New York Daily News that the team was stunned by the way New York fans turned on the offensively inept team last weekend, and the players were unable to regain their composure.

"I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys," the player said. "A lot of guys hadn't been booed before, and they couldn't believe how nasty it got in the stands.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, mired in a batting slump and a controversy for allegedly flirting with two women behind the dugout during a recent playoff loss at Yankee Stadium, appears headed out of New York. The question is, who will take on the fading star and his megacontract?

Rodriguez, consigned to the bench after batting .087 this postseason, has a full no-trade clause but reportedly is resigned to the fact that he's not wanted by the Pinstripes and would accept a trade.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he got in touch with struggling Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez a couple of days ago, trying to boost the confidence of the third baseman who was batting .130 in this year's playoffs before being benched for Tuesday night's Game 3 of the ALCS against the Tigers.

The up-and-down career of Delonte West has taken another downturn, as the former Celtic was suspended by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Monday night for conduct detrimental to the team. According to multiple reports, West had an outburst in the locker room following Monday night's 123-104 preseason win over the Rockets in which the guard had two points, two assists and one rebound in almost 17 minutes.

Tweeted West late Monday: "Sorry moma…" adding, "I showed off on ur birthday again…"

Perhaps Yankees fans finally are tiring of the team's success. Or maybe they lack confidence in this year's squad. For whatever reason, fans are not filling up Yankee Stadium for the playoffs, and the team appears to be trying to save face. According to a report in Yahoo! Sports, for Game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers, all ushers in the stadium were told to move fans from the upper deck to the more expensive seats near the field.

"I don't know what it's about," an unidentified usher told Yahoo! "I guess they want to make it look better on TV."

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who served 18 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring, confirmed Thursday that he is a dog-owner again. Vick hinted that he was interested in acquiring a dog for his three kids when his probationary period ended last summer, and that caused an uproar among many fans.

Vick tweeted a photo of his daughter last week, and dog food was spotted in the background. He addressed the issue Thursday.