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

MLB: Mariners at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Braves at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Panthers at Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV)
NFL preseason: Raiders at Packers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Bears at Seahawks, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
Basketball: Exhibition, United States vs. Puerto Rico, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA playoffs: Sky at Dream, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA playoffs: Sparks at Mercury, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)


Doug Marrone

Doug Marrone

– Fights are not uncommon in NFL training camps, but the Bills’ inability to avoid confrontations has pushed coach Doug Marrone to the breaking point.

During Thursday’s final practice of training camp in Pittsford, New York, Marrone lit into his players about the fights and shoving matches. After a few players got into a skirmish, he stopped a drill and had those players run sprints. He then barked in the direction of starting defensive end Jerry Hughes on the sideline.

“Why can’t you handle it as players,” he said while looking toward Hughes. “Do you want to play on this team? … If you’ve got a problem with me, you need to come and tell me.”

Marrone and Hughes had a meeting after practice, although Marrone later told the media he was not singling out Hughes.

“That’s directed at anyone who doesn’t want to be part of the team,” Marrone said. “I told Jerry that I love the way he practices and I love the way he plays special teams and how he goes about it. And we’ve got to get some other guys who are starters to do that.”

A day earlier, rookie defensive end Bryan Johnson knocked off center Eric Wood‘s helmet and punched him repeatedly before being wrestled to the ground by two other offensive players.

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Marrone, himself a former NFL offensive lineman, expressed his disappointment with the fighting.

“Figure it out. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game,” Marrone said. “There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion.”

– Steelers running backs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount played in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles after being charged with misdemeanor marijuana violations one day earlier.

“[I] didn’t consider it a punishment to send them home,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “I’d rather them play more.”

Blount, who played for the Patriots last season, rushed seven times for 32 yards.

“I’m sorry for the distraction I caused my team,” he said. “I apologized to the team and the coaches.”

Bell, who faces a charge of driving under the influence of marijuana, had nine carries for 23 yards. He made a similar apology, and both players said they would not address the matter further.

Tim Howard, the star of the U.S. soccer team at last month’s World Cup, announced that he will be taking a one-year break from the team so he can have more time with his family.

Howard, 35, asked coach Jurgen Klinsmann to take him out of consideration for the team until next fall, although he will continue to play in the English Premier League for Everton.

“Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time,” Howard said in a statement. “It’s the right decision at the right time. Jurgen has always been up front with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with. So I look forward to coming back next fall and competing for a spot.

Howard is the country’s all-time leader for goalies in appearances (104) and wins (55).

“I totally understand Tim’s situation,” Klinsmann said. “He was very straightforward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that.

“I told him as long as he is the same Tim Howard that we always see performing well, he will be welcome back with open arms and right back competing for a spot. He knows that he has to prove that he deserves to be back.”

Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando were Howard’s backups at the World Cup.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 22, 1993, which veteran outfielder, acquired a day earlier in a trade with the Tigers, hit a home run in his first at-bat for the Red Sox as part of a 3-for-6 day in a 3-2 loss to the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I feel like we have a chance to make the playoffs and make a lot of noise this year if we listen to [coach] Brad [Stevens].” — Celtics guard Avery Bradley, on the prospects for the team this season

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 – Hits allowed by Angels starter Matt Shoemaker in 7 2/3 innings as he lead his team to a 2-0 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday night

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Nationals’ winning streak reached a team-record-tying 10 games, and they once again won in walkoff fashion, this time on a throwing error by Diamondbacks third baseman Jordan Pacheco in the ninth inning.

Rays fans — at least the few of them that showed up at Tropicana Field — give David Price a standing ovation before he pitches against their team as a member of the Tigers. Price went on to pitch a one-hitter but suffer a hard-luck 1-0 loss.

Rays right fielder Kevin Kiermaier lays out to make a nice catch.

Comedian Chris Rock comes up with a foul ball at the Yankees game and gives it to a young fan.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late John Lee Hooker was born on this day in 1917.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Greg Dickerson, Jerry Thornton and Rob Bradford fill for Dale and Holley, and the 2014 Patriots debate is in full swing.
Greg Dickerson, Jerry Thornton and Rob Bradford fill for Dale and Holley, and the 2014 Patriots debate is in full swing.
We tackle four topics inspired by the injury to Angels pitcher Garrett Richards in last night's sox game.
We tackle four topics inspired by the injury to Angels pitcher Garrett Richards in last night's sox game.

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With the Pats game on Friday night, MFB does a version of Patriots Friday a day early with Jerod Mayo. He talks about the Carolina Panthers.

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Bryan Cox told his team about ability with the ladies at a young age. The guys talk about white pants, and also... tapeworm!

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Speaking at the WEEI NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon with Dennis and Callahan, Curt Schilling revealed that he had mouth cancer, a form called squamous cell carcinoma. He blames his use of smokeless tobacco and says it is his biggest regret in life. This revelation has sparked debate about whether MLB should ban the use of all tobacco.
As JBJ's struggles at the plate seem never-ending, the Red Sox have sent him down to Pawtucket and with the open roster spot, have brought Mookie Betts back on to the 25 man roster.

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