Welcome to Tuesday’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.

Welcome to Tuesday’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.

NHL: Bruins at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN, NESN)
NHL: Red Wings at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Florida Gulf Coast vs. Fairleigh Dickinson, 6:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Vanderbilt vs. Wichita State, 9:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Akron at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Davidson at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, High Point at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Alabama at Creighton, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Florida at North Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Long Beach State at Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, New Mexico State at Saint Mary’s, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Red Sox, 6:05 p.m. (MLB Network, NESN)
MLB preseason: Nationals at Astros, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Dynamo Kyiv at Manchester City, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Under pressure from a congressman during a congressional committee roundtable discussion Monday, an NFL executive admitted for the first time that there is a link between football and the chronic traumatic encephalopathy — the brain disease known as CTE.

After referencing the work of Boston University neuropathologist Dr. Anne McKee, whose staff has found CTE in the brains of 90 former players, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) asked NFL senior vice president for health and safety Jeff Miller point-blank if there is a link.

“Well, certainly, Dr. McKee’s research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE, so the answer to that question is certainly ‘yes,’ but there are also a number of questions that come with that,” Miller said.

It marked the first time the league acknowledged football can lead to CTE. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other league representatives have long sidestepped the issue, deferring to the medical community. Prior to the Super Bowl, San Francisco neurosurgeon Dr. Mitch Berger, who heads the league’s subcommittee on long-term brain injury, recognized the studies but noted that CTE has been found “in all spectrums of life” and said, “It remains to be seen” what the cause is.

Miller said he was “not going to speak for Dr. Berger,” saying it’s more important to examine the entire issue.

“You asked the question whether I thought there was a link,” he said. “Certainly based on Dr. McKee’s research, there’s a link, because she’s found CTE in a number of retired football players. I think that the broader point, and the one that your question gets to, is what that necessarily means and where do we go from here with that information.”

Schakowsky criticized the league for its evasive behavior on the issue.

“The NFL is peddling a false sense of security,” Schakowsky said. “Football is a high-risk sport because of the routine hits, not just diagnosable concussions. What the American public need now is honesty about the health risks and clearly more research.”

Miller’s comments might impact a settlement of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL by former players. A lawyer representing seven ex-players who are objecting to the settlement sent a letter to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals later Monday, arguing that Miller’s statements are a “stark turn” from the league’s previous position, as they “directly contradict” the NFL’s position in the case.

— Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji announced Monday he will take off the 2016 season, explaining he needs to take a “hiatus.”

The seven-year veteran, a product of Boston College, is a free agent after a bounce-back 2015 campaign in which he recorded 22 tackles in 15 regular-season games. He missed the 2014 season with a biceps injury.

“This decision was made after hours of conversation with close family members and mentors and considerable self-introspection and is one in which I am absolutely certain,” Raji said in a statement. “I cannot rule out a return to the NFL in the future, but I will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.”

Raji quoted Packers coaching legend Vince Lombardi in his explanation.

“Coach Lombardi once said that ‘Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it — his mind, his body, his heart – what’s life worth to him?’ That is the approach I have taken with football since I was a two-star high school recruit,” Raji said. “I knew that I would not be able to live up to coach Lombardi’s ‘total commitment’ standard and made this decision out of respect to this great organization.”

— University of California assistant basketball coach Yann Hufnagel, a former Harvard assistant, vowed to fight his punishment for violating the school’s sexual harassment policy, according to posts on Facebook and Twitter that appear to belong to him.

“My time to exonerate myself of a fruitless claim by a reporter will come,” the posts read.

Huffnagel, 33, was accused of harassing the woman — apparently a female reporter who covered the team — last season.

“I’m crushed,” he told ESPN. “I can’t believe it. I’m blindsided. I never imagined this would be the outcome. Cal has been incredible slow-moving in the process. I’m in the process of hiring a legal team to exonerate my name.”

Head coach Cuonzo Martin addressed the issue on a conference call, after the school announced that Hufnagel had been “relieved of his duties pending the outcome of the termination process.”

“You’re talking about a guy who’s part of your staff and a family member,” said Martin, whose team is preparing for the NCAA Tournament. “We continue to push forward. It’s not an easy thing, but we’ll find our way.”

Hufnagel was an assistant at Harvard for four seasons before leaving for a season at Vanderbilt in 2013-14 and then Cal.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 15, 1928, which player became the first Bruins goalie to win 20 games in a season, with a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This isn’t an opportunity I’m going to squander.” — New Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez, at his Monday press conference

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 — Year Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant was suspended for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Mirza Teletovic hits a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to give the Suns a win over the Timberwolves.

From the Illinois Class 2A state semifinals over the weekend, Carson Frakes hits a buzzer-beater from three-quarters court to give Rockridge High School a 45-43 victory over Hales.

New Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto takes a line drive off his head during Monday’s spring training game against the A’s but stays in the game.

Braves left fielder Jeff Decker leaps over the wall to steal a home run from Rays batter Reid Brignac.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Mike Love of the Beach Boys (and Kevin Love’s uncle) was born on this day in 1941. He’s on the right in this 1964 appearance on “American Bandstand.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar
Christian Arcand is in studio for Mut. Listen as Christian discusses breaking news concerning the NFL and NFLPA moving towards a deal that would strip Roger Goodell of disciplinary power when it comes to off-the-field infractions by players.
Mut and Villani hear from a former coach who gives a unique perspective on the controversy between Catholic Memorial and Newton North High School.
Mut and Villani are talking about the big story out of MIAA Basketball, Newton North High students and Catholic Memorial students going back-and-forth with insulting chants during a game.
Mut and Villani are talking about whether athletes should be more reserved and "professional" when on the field or if showing emotion doesn't constitute showboating.
Mut and Villani are talking about Bryce Harper and Goose Gossage's differing opinions on the unwritten rules of baseball.

This is by no means new, but for me, it will never get old. It’s impossible not to admire the time, effort, money and commitment that went into what is pretty much a one-off joke. Or to respect the risks to pull off an enterprise like this. It’s like a mini-Sasha Baron Cohen movie in that Gandalf here faced danger and possible arrest for his art. And it worked on simpleton like me.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
We discuss the Bruins and how they've quickly turned things around since the trading deadline. Are you taking notice? We discuss it.
We close out the Dale and Holley show with some of the best soundbites from this past weekend and today.

[0:01:05] ... go to the bathroom defense when they've been pulled over by copper traffic violation. But late last week one driver was apparently. Telling the truth about. A traffic stop cause my instinct for lake county sheriff's ...
[0:03:50] ... the right color. I didn't do enough room. The practice right away. Academy Award. Yes they did make an ethnic here. Well I don't know what they usually do last they don't want to shout. No ...
[0:08:03] ... people that I hacked off but then in me and. For Macon Ted Williams and number two we did steal Ted Williams joy. And the real people that suffer the ones that carry out the face Terry Williams area. Yes that's not what this ...
[0:09:00] ... only time at least the Balkan tour in the last. Even the Dallas Cowboys when asked if they were interest at that now I'm not Philly gets his life back in order. So when you attend ...