The Falcons will forfeit a fifth-round draft pick and be fined $350,000 by the NFL for piping in crowd noise during opponents’ huddles in home games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

The responsible party has been identified by the NFL as former Falcons director of marketing Roddy White. White has been fired by the Falcons and given an eight-game suspension by the NFL.

“The Falcons and all of our other businesses are built upon a foundation of values that drive our decision making,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “This issue was a clear failure in that regard. I apologize for any embarrassment this situation has caused the NFL, our fans, and our Falcons players and associates.”

Added Blank: “Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”

In other NFL news, Browns GM Ray Farmer has been suspended four games by the NFL, and the team will be fined $250,000. Farmer was investigated and punished for sending texts to team personnel during games throughout the 2014 season.

“I respect the league’s decision and understand that there are consequences for my actions,” Farmer said in a statement. “Accountability is integral to what we are trying to build and as a leader I need to set the right example. I made a mistake and apologize to [owner] Jimmy Haslam, [coach] Mike Pettine, our entire organization and our fans for the ramifications. Learning is a big part of who I am and I will certainly be better from this situation.”

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

Golf DigestSomething tells us that when 84-year-old Margaret is riding in the new $16,000 car she won on The Price Is Right, she won’t be lamenting her violation of the Rules of Golf. Nor should she. …

We’re happy for Margaret, but as the designated wet blankets in charge, we’d be remiss in not pointing out that the clinching putt is in violation of Rule 16-1e: Standing Astride or on Line of Putt. …

The stroke was deemed objectionable by a number of golf people, including Bobby Jones, and it was made illegal by the USGA in 1968, with the rule stating:

“The player must not make a stroke on the putting green from a stance astride, or with either foot touching, the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball.”

For the record, the penalty here is two strokes or a loss of hole, but for now, we’ll let Margaret off with a warning.

What? Golf Digest wants to just let Margaret off with a warning? Where’s the Golf Digest I used to know? Where’s the pride? The righteous indignation? What kind of Rules Nazis are you anyway if you’re just going to sit there and let this cheating old bitty wipe her orthopedic shoes with Rule 16-1e like this?

Back in my day, we believed in the rule book without exception. We grappled regulations like 16-1e to our souls with hoops of steel. And it didn’t matter if you were playing a $5 Nassau with your idiot buddies or a weekend charity scramble tournament  or watching the U.S. Open on TV or on a game show. Back when men were men, Rules Nazis prided themselves on calling the network in the middle of a tournament to rat out Craig Stadler for kneeling on a towel while he took a stroke (a violation by way of improving his stance) or getting Padraig Harrington DQ’ed for moving his ball.

Snitching on violators was a noble calling then. But now we’re just going to let the Margarets put their stance all astride the extension of the line of the putt like this and laughing in our faces from the seat of her new car. Let’s just hope she obeys the rules of the road. Because clearly no one cares about the rules of golf any more.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton




I’ve never assumed that a pro athlete’s life is anything like my own. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” (To which his smart-ass buddy Hemingway had to chime in with, “Yes, they have more money.”) But the longer the Aaron Hernandez trial goes on, the more we pull back the curtain to see how very different his life was from ours.

And Shayanna Jenkins’ testimony is doing the curtain-pulling. For starters, in your life have you ever once had a conversation with a loved one like she alleges she had with Hernandez after Odin Lloyd was found dead? “Say, you don’t happen to be the one who murdered Odin, are you?” “Nope.” And then you just move on? Call me overly sensitive, but if my Darling Irish Rose asked me if I killed somebody in cold blood, I’ve got a series of follow-up questions that are going to lead to a long and involved discussion. We’re not just grabbing a glass of wine and sitting down to watch “Jeopardy!” like she didn’t just accuse me of murder.

Secondly, if I did suspect someone of murder and said someone tells me it’s really important that I grab a box and secretly get rid of it without anyone seeing me do it, I’m going to be a little bit curious. I mean, I’m not the most inquisitive person by nature, but the whole dispose-of-this-mystery-object-no-questions-asked thing is going to pique my interest for sure. But again, Shayanna Jenkins handles these matters differently than you or I would.

It’s just that I imagine the people on the jury are more like you and me than like Bristol County’s “It” couple, Aaron and Shayanna. So if his defense team thinks she’s doing him any favors with this “Box? Dumpster? Nope. Never gave them a second thought” routine, they’ve got another thing coming.

Your average citizen who actually shows up for jury duty can barely get his wife to take out the trash, period. Driving around town getting rid of secret boxes in random dumpsters is pretty much out of the question. And overall not a good look for the defense. Let’s hope the jurors feel the same way.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.

[0:05:14] ... that point. This guy would I did the soreness is. Yes. Where Al Gore. But I always think of it. That way for some crazy masseuse who thinks and it's going to be tip but she. ...
[0:11:32] ... what's right you aren't even aware. That stop in his house. The gas station it's it's a sort of camera honest light pole. In. The victims straight on history. And at worst they're not surveillance cameras ...
[0:12:18] ... the accomplice. Of video. Here in the car lenient and a right Brad Pitt and pulling back in humans and he. In shoots again. Five minutes after the death he worked in this house with a ...
[0:16:18] ... And who dat nation writes love their new green eggs overlooking the golf course is far from going to. The golf courses seniors who live near one play all the time yeah Jessica duke it. Mean ...

Guard is a top priority for the Patriots in the NFL draft. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Guard should be a top priority for the Patriots in the NFL draft. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Introduction: This is a feature I did for years when I was still over at Barstool Sports. I’m an unashamed, open and proud NFL draft nerd and it was always rewarding to me to sneak these previews in between the posts about celebrity butts and which hot, crazy teacher was seducing her teenage students.

And I’m not shy about saying that I have successfully predicted more Patriots draft picks than anyone. I made waves at WEEI when I correctly said they’d grab Dominique Easley last year, but that was not my first barbecue. In previous drafts I’d called Nate Solder (if Matt Light was coming back for one last season, which is exactly how it played out), Dont’a Hightower, Brandon Spikes, Darius Butler and this one tight end out of Florida who had some off-field concerns whose name escapes me.

To be clear, I don’t claim to know more about the draft on the whole than the national pundits. I haven’t the first clue in whom, say, the Bears or Panthers are interested. But I’ll take a back seat to no one when it comes to understanding how the Patriots draft. The NFL draft guru-ing profession is lousy with so-called “experts.” And there is great draft analysis being done by my brother dotcommers, without question. But there’s only one Belichick Whisperer.

That said, I plan on doing several of these previews between now and draft day, based largely on the order of positional need. Starting with the guards.

Current roster: Ryan Wendell, Marcus Cannon, Josh Kline, Jordan Devey, Chris Barker and someone who answers to the name Caylin Hauptmann. Dan Connolly‘s situation is still up in the air and he is not listed on the team’s official depth chart.

Positional overview: I won’t rule out Connolly coming back at a reduced salary. And as an aside, I can positively see Logan Mankins being in a Patriots uniform in 2015 as well. But regardless, this is an area of need. Even if either of those two are back, he’ll be 33 at the start of the season and in the two-minute warning of his career and the clock running. And as we’ve seen in recent drafts, the Pats‘ modus operandi now is to draft a replacement a year before the need becomes critical. As they did with Solder and Light, Easley and Vince Wilfork, Hightower and Spikes, and so on. Which is why I think this year guard is Priority 1. For next season, sure. But mostly for 2016 and beyond.

The trick is figuring out what Bill Belichick‘s “type” is.

In his 15 New England drafts, The Hooded One has taken 10 interior offensive linemen, and only five of them were listed as pure guards. If there’s any common traits they share — things that would indicate what Belichick values above others — it’s that they be agile and quick to pull and lead block, to be leader types, to have high enough football IQs to know the pass-protection schemes, and versatile enough to be able to not only handle both power and zone-blocking concepts, but also to move around to different positions as needed. And going by past history, being man enough to grow a really solid beard appears to be a big plus as well.

These are the top guards in the 2015 crop — the OGs who have the best chance of becoming true OGs.


A.J. Cann, South Carolina, 6-foot-3, 313 pounds, 5.33 in the 40-yard dash

I’m not suggesting Cann is the consensus best guard in this crop. There’s no Kentucky Wildcats in this particular tournament. But by and large he seems to get the most consistent praise for having the most upside of any of them. He’s played all three interior positions and is one of those guys they say is good “in the phone booth.” (You readers under the age of 30 will know it as “a glass case of emotion.”) Cann gets a good pop with his initial punch, then has a strong enough grip to control the defender. So he’s probably best suited for a power run team. Where he needs work is in his pass protection, getting off the ball and operating in space. So he might be the perfect guy to sit for a year and learn. He’s got the leaderishness enough to have been named permanent captain in his junior year, talent enough to be first team All-American and brains enough to make the SEC Academic Honor Roll three times. (I know in SEC football that’s like being The Shires’ tallest hobbit, but let’s not let it reflect badly on Cann.)


Laken Tomlinson, Duke, 6-foot-3, 323 pounds, 5.18 40 time

Tomlinson was born in that land steeped in rich football tradition we call … Jamaica. He came to the U.S. when he was 10 and never played the game until his freshman year in high school. But he started all four years for the Blue Devils at right guard. And he’s already got an NFL-ready body. He’s got a promising combination of size, strength and agility, though like A.J. Cann he’s a more polished run blocker than pass protector. Still, with his quickness he’s show good recoverability when he gets beaten initially. Tomlinson had a slow start to his senior year but improved as the season wore on, had a good game against Florida State in the ACC championship game, then had a very impressive week at the Senior Bowl. He’s been projected by most as maybe a third-rounder, but a team that sees he fits its scheme could take a second-round flier on him. As far as his intangibles, he was a captain and carried a double major of evolutionary anthropology and psychology from friggin’ Duke.

Ali Marpet, Hobart, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, 4.98 40 time

Without looking it up, I’d guess that the only thing in the NFL rarer than guys from Jamaica are former Hobart Statesmen who were Jewish Sports Review All-Americans. Playing Division 3 ball in the UCAA isn’t exactly the fast track to pro ball, but Marpet drew interest with his size and athleticism. He played tackle at the college level but has a shortish wingspan and does his best work in small areas, keeping his elbows in and controlling opponents. There’s concern that he was able to get away with poor technique against inferior competition and he does need work on bending at the waist and not lunging at people. The best thing in his favor as far as the Patriots being interested is that they are infatuated with the three-cone drill. They’ve proven over the years they put much more stock in players’ agility than their straight line speed, and Marpet ran by far the fastest time at the combine with a 7.33. He was also twice named team captain, which doesn’t hurt his case, to say the least.


Tre Jackson, Florida State, 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, 5.52 40 time

Jackson is a road-grader type. Powerfully built with thickness in his frame, hips, legs and ass, he’s got a great leg drive for overwhelming people at the point of attack. Where he lacks is in pass protection, and he gave up far too many pressures of Jameis Winston. If he doesn’t shuffle properly to stay square on rushers or let’s them get into his chest, he’s done for. So you wonder if he’ll be of much use on a pass-first pro team.

Josue Matias, Florida State, 6-foot-5, 309 pounds, 5.52 40 time

The general consensus was that Jackson was more highly regarded than Matias. But there are plenty of personnel people saying that’s flipped. Matias is more of technician and less of a bull than Jackson. He played both guard and tackle at FSU and showed the ability to pull, hit people on the move and take good angles. He’s got freakishly long arms he uses to keep defenders away from his body. But on the inside he’s shown he can get beaten by counter moves when he (coachspeak alert) “opens the gate” too quickly.


Arie Kouandjio, Alabama, 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, 5.52 40 time

His brother Cyrus was drafted in the second round by the Bills. And like him, Arie is wide-shouldered and stout. He is definitely more of a punishing run-blocker than anything. Bama had greater success running the ball behind him than asking him to pass block. In the Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma in his junior year he gave up far too many pressures, although that improved somewhat last season. He plays a little stiff, but he’s strong enough to latch onto defenders and steer them around. He was recruited by dozens of schools before signing on with Nick Saban, which could help his cause in New England. Another factor in his favor might be the multiple surgeries he had on both knees in 2011, which as we’ve seen scares off a lot of GMs but not Belichick. So he could be a high-upside bargain pick in the middle rounds.


Jamil Douglas, Arizona State, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, 5.25 40 time

Douglas is a weight-room warrior who doesn’t play up to his measurables. He has the core strength to fight off bull rushes, but then has technique breakdowns where he’ll play high and get beat by swim moves. He once got arrested on suspicion of burglary but was never charged. That’s less of an issue than him just seeming to play soft.


Jarvis Harrison presumably didn't look this good when he was benched for being out of shape. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jarvis Harrison presumably didn’t look this good when he was benched for being out of shape. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Jarvis Harrison, Texas A&M, 6-foot-4, 330 pounds, 5.19 40 time

Harrison is a former prep basketball standout who has at times excelled at both pass and run blocking. Unfortunately he’s also excelled at competitive eating. His weight has ballooned up to at least 345 and he was finally benched for being out of shape. He also didn’t do himself any favors for the stopwatch and tape-measure crowd at the Indianapolis Kennel Show. Another knock on him is that he doesn’t play with enough of an edge and needs to get plumb mad-dog mean if he’s ever going to succeed. And reach for a salad once in a while.


Robert Myers, Tennessee State, 6-foot-5, 326 pounds, 5.44 40 time

Myers impressed scouts at the Lucas Oil Olympics with his combination of size, power and athleticism. It shows up on his film, too, with his ability to get to the second level and move bodies. He’s got the feet to move and mirror defenders, and the reach to stay with them when they do get by him. He could really fit well into a zone-block scheme for a team patient enough to develop him.

Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah, 6-foot-5, 335 pounds, 5.32 40 time

Poutasi was the Utes’ right tackle as a freshman, then moved to left tackle, then surprised pretty much everyone by declaring himself eligible a year early as he’s only 20 years old. Still, he was a mauler opening holes for Devontae Booker. He’s got good straight-line speed, but his lateral movement, not so much. He showed he was vulnerable to quick-twitch edge rushers like the ones USC threw at him, thus the move to the inside as a pro. He’s been compared to UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo, who went to the Texans in the second round. But with the age an inexperience factors he’ll likely fall much lower than that.


John Miller, Louisville, 6-foot-2, 303 pounds, 5.33 40 time

Miller is another road-grader type, kind of a lower-rent A.J. Cann for a team with other priorities. He’s got a powerful lower body and can dish out the ultra-violence with his hands, but he also has heavy feet, so he struggles in pass blocking. To use Peyton Manning‘s words, Teddy Bridgewater “had some protection problems” playing behind him. He got eaten alive by FSU’s Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., though he did help his stock quite a bit with a good showing at the East-West Shrine Game. He played both guard spots in college but with his deficiencies in the passing game likely will be a right guard in the pros.

PERFECT PATRIOT: Laken Tomlinson

Selecting Tomlinson makes too much sense. He’s got the size/speed combination. He’s got the intelligence and leadership qualities they put so much importance on. One can’t even make the “Well, he only played at Duke” argument now that the Blue Devils won 19 games in the last two years. Plus I always feel like Belichick takes to guys who’ve overcome long odds in life the way a little boy takes to a stray dog. Mankins was considered a second- or thirdish-round prospect back in 2006, but Belichick didn’t hesitate to take him with the 32nd pick. I think he could wait and still get Tomlinson but may very well just grab him at the end of Round 1 like he did Mankins.


He’s also a great story. And a mensch.

Check out WEEI’s individual draft capsules at the It Is What It Is blog.


Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The latest feud between Shank and Papi was discussed.

[0:04:54] ... most watched dual clutch diet critic yeah I cried Dan Shaughnessy dear David Ortiz since you brought it up is that headlight against honesty dateline Fort Myers, Florida and into sentences redundant as beginning. I think it's a great column by David Fincher brought a sense says hired right open letter to David Ortiz and writes dear David. Don't need bowl picture personally. You could just wears his edit it just like dear date yourself than ...
[0:09:33] ... that is someone who has failed another test. Speaking of incorrect facts David Wright you that you asked me for my address when I asked about possible PED used in the soft couples may 2013. You ...
[0:15:40] ... oil says failed a test Lance Armstrong Barry Bonds Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez. These guys did not fail tests. Most of the guys who have busted. It didn't they'll pass to get busted in other ...
[0:20:54] ... let me finish this up here so shelty finish as the peace. Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez were the other names leaked from the 2003 testing they turned out to be dirty we can go back to bonds McGuire Marion Jones Lance Armstrong. Everyone is all about denials until it turns out to be true. Are we supposed to believe that you are the one and only positive tester who was truly wrong that's offered now David you are one of the great performers in the history of Boston. And you have done tons for our community. Boston sports fans love you on a par with ...

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

[0:01:23] ... I've package where's Michael and cook. A clerk rather sadness of the Bill Cosby type because I believe the thirty women. We've come for so for accused of rape and I can't speak to a woman ...
[0:04:00] ... dished try to do what win. No I don't see so Luke misses. Child asleep on of Satan democracy and he threw the world vision blurred as well. And they should have been in and it ...
[0:05:46] ... Easter morning you know I've been a phone together the parties was Arnold Schwarzenegger. It but they're pretty good friends parties. No he was inspired their shirt around the world. Arnold wasn't there go now is ...
[0:13:01] ... just a little bit at some point also. Dan Shaughnessy buyers at David Ortiz and a friend Susan who brought some good question. If you're Obama and you come in confident that you have to. His ...

The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.

[0:03:36] ... be an. Attorney right hand the met him blasting it out so John Brown. I just decimal it is. He came up albeit cool so my faith in me put it at all officers attacked as ...
[0:04:30] ... so I. Don't know if that's what diplomacy when he's ally north Paul McCartney talks. Won't right now I don't want to know nobody. I know what it. Bad about that and just let the bank ...
[0:06:33] ... of what. Only Gerri what does Eric Holder sent today what is Al Sharpton saying today we gonna launch an what does that eighty that Hulk from Harvard law saying today it more and it didn't ...
[0:15:31] ... know about BK. And their client off the end wire where is Jesse Jackson the bad jammed. Any cops had to. Just tell walking on eggshells just to do that job guys. People look at cryptic ...

The guys opened the show by discussing the Final Four and Kirk's latest road race.

[0:01:18] ... Should do the Johnny Damon headband can do that's not a bad John Daly the head of our Mark Sanchez Sanchez early in a brilliant that's right the good work ethic so we can pull off. ...
[0:14:34] ... I saw this things O gala big money epic and the officials Alec Baldwin. Richie Goodyear's. Matt Damon right the usual left when a ball trolls yes now right. They did they want these people there epic synthetic can be trademark to get run doubles a minister at some reasonable famous people actor. But this not a single real Hollywood. Star. Eight let's keep it better than its next to Joseph Biden at a gala and probably not probably not odd now but but. I did they want that the they want. You know Alec Baldwin's there and John and then Trent Lott will be there. Kennedy's sons former US rep Patrick Kennedy. At Kennedy if you get ...

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.