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03/21/2012 - 1:08pm
Saints coach Payton suspended for 2012

Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams, was suspended indefinitely for their roles in a bounty program the past three seasons. Williams will sit out the 2012 season, and then his status will be reviewed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Punishments also were doled out to Saints general manager Mickey Loomis (eight games plus a $500,000 fine) and assistant coach Joe Vitt (six games).

Additionally, the Saints will forfeit their second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 and pay a fine of $500,000.

The Saints were found to have paid players thousands of dollars for hits that knocked opponents out of games. At least 22 players were found to have been involved, and the league will announce their punishments in the coming weeks.

The NFL cited "conduct detrimental" to the league in announcing the harsh punishments...

03/21/2012 - 12:44pm
Bobby V: Iglesias can play at big league level

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Though it does not mean that he will make the Opening Day roster, Jose Iglesias has the ability to play at a major league level right now, according to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

“I think his ability is good enough,” said Valentine. “Whether it’s his time is the question, with all the other contributing factors. Mike Aviles is doing great. There’s been a lot of guys who have been somewhere else waiting for their opportunities.

“Or, if there’s, again, some formula that says he needs another something. His ability is all I’m saying. I haven’t taken into consideration whatever that other stuff is, time in the classroom.”

Iglesias is hitting second in the lineup against the Pirates today in Bradenton. He is 3-for-13 (.231) in Grapefruit League play.

For more of Valentine's thoughts on Iglesias, click here. For...

03/21/2012 - 10:34am
Sox' Miller on hamstring: 'It's frustrating'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Andrew Miller said Wednesday morning that the left hamstring strain he suffered while facing his first batter Tuesday night took him totally by surprise. The pitcher said there were no signs of the ailment leading up to the incident.

"I can’t explain it," said Miller, who was walking with a noticeable limp. "It’s not like I drank a big old pot of coffee before I went out and pitched. I don’t know. Maybe I just did something a little bit differently and it was a matter of time. I have no idea.

"I didn’t do anything differently as I have always done. If you told me that would have happened, that would have been the last thing. It happened, so I have to deal with."

The injury is the third setback for Miller this year, as he dealt with a sprained ankle just before camp, and then elbow tightness that forced him to miss an appearance.

Although it is unclear how long it...

03/21/2012 - 9:59am
Brickley on D&C: Bruins intimidate Leafs

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins' recent struggles and changes they've made as the team prepares for a three-game trip to the West Coast.

Brickley began the conversation by discussing the Bruins' most recent game, an 8-0 demolition of the Maple Leafs on Monday. The Bruins have won all seven games against their Northeast Division foes, and Brickley said there's a very simple reason for that -- not only are the Bruins fundamentally better, but there is also an intimidation factor involved.

"They tried the coaching change, they’ve tried major turnover in personnel," Brickley said of the Maple Leafs. "If you only watch the Leafs play the Bruins, you think, ‘Wow, this is not fixable,’ because that is a team that is in total intimidation by the Bruins -- they just can’t match up physically, emotionally,...

03/21/2012 - 7:46am
Mashup: Rival criticizes retiring Steeler Ward

Hines Ward retired from the Steelers Tuesday, and Bengals safety Chris Crocker won't miss him. Crocker acknowledged that Ward belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he said the receiver was dirty as well. "He tried to end people's careers, and that's not the way the game is supposed to be played," Crocker said.

Added Crocker: "He's probably the first receiver to make blocking such a big part of his game; he was an all-around receiver. He was a dirty player, but he made a lot of plays. They used him perfectly to suit his abilities and he was a big-time player for them. Some people might think of him as a borderline Hall of Famer, but I think the fact he helped them win two Super Bowls and all the things he did for that team make him deserving."

In 2008, Ward hit Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers with a blindside block that broke Rivers' jaw. The following season, Crocker said Ward punched him in the face at the start of a play.

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