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12/04/2011 - 10:41pm
BC's Kuechly wins Butkus Award

Boston College junior Luke Kuechly on Sunday was named winner of the 27th annual Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker. Butkus, the Pro Football Hall of Famer, was on hand at the Eagles' season-ending banquet Sunday to surprise Kuechly with the award.

"I didn't know what was going on," Kuechly said, according to a release from the school. "These two big guys were standing right behind me and I was like, wow, what is going on right now?

"I used to watch football growing up and I used to watch NFL Films," Kuechly continued. "They would always be talking about Dick Butkus. I just remember watching those games and he is one of the all-time linebackers and they always mentioned his name. ... That’s the best award if you are a linebacker."

Kuechly, a runner-up for the award last year, recorded an ACC single-season record 191 tackles this season, including 102 solo. He also had three...

12/04/2011 - 10:27pm
Reports: Manny files for return, ban reduced

Former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez has filed papers to initiate his return to Major League Baseball and will have his 100-game suspension cut to 50 games, according to multiple reports.

The 39-year-old Ramirez, who started last season with the Rays, faced a 100-game suspension in April after violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He already served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Dodgers for a similar offense. Ramirez instead quit baseball.

FoxSports.com, which first reported the story, indicated MLB took into consideration Ramirez' time away from the game (upon urging from the union) and appeared willing to trim his suspension to 50 games. ESPN credited sources as saying teams have been informed of the...

12/04/2011 - 5:57pm
Belichick: Poor finish was 'disappointing'

The Patriots beat the Colts, 31-24, on Sunday, but Indianapolis outscored New England 21-0 in the fourth quarter, nearly turning a blowout into a nail-biter for Patriots fans. The Colts' comeback ultimately failed when Deion Branch recovered an onside kick attempt with less than a minute to go in the game, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not pleased with the way his team played in the final quarter. 

"I thought we did some good things out there today, we obviously have to do a better job of finishing the game," Belichick said in his postgame press conference. "That was disappointing. But we'll work on that, go back to work and get ready for Washington next week." 

After scoring just three points in the first quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense opened up the game in the second quarter. First, Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for an 11-yard touchdown. Then, BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran the ball...

12/04/2011 - 4:53pm
Wake-up call: Pats kick winless Colts to curb

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski and Gronkowski ran another in on a lateral and the Patriots woke up from an early slumber to handle the winless Colts, 31-24, Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won their fourth straight to improve to 9-3, clinching their 11th straight winning season. The Colts dropped their 12th in a row and continued their march to what would be the second 0-16 season in NFL history.

Brady finished 29-of-33 for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Brady now has 291 touchdown passes in his career, tying him for Warren Moon for sixth in NFL history. Gronkowski now has 13 touchdown catches, tying him with Antonio Gates (2004) and Vernon Davis (2009) for the single-season NFL record for tight ends. Wes Welker had another big day, catching 11 passes for 114 yards. 

With the Patriots starting Niko Koutouvides at linebacker, Matthew Slater at safety and newcomer Nate Jones at cornerback, the...

12/04/2011 - 12:56pm
McCourty returns while Chung still inactive

FOXBORO -- Devin McCourty is active for the first time since injuring his right shoulder on Nov. 13 against the Jets as the Patriots announced their seven inactive players prior to the game with Colts.

Patrick Chung once again leads the list of inactives, missing his fourth game with a right ankle injury. Chung suffered the injury in the loss to the Giants on Nov. 6. 

Also inactive are right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (foot), Brandon Spikes (knee), rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Shane Vereen, starting center Dan Connolly (groin) and Dane Fletcher (thumb).

With Connolly out, Ryan Wendell gets the start at center, with Nick McDonald signed off the practice squad as his back-up. With Vollmer out, Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon, both rookies, are expected to see lots of playing time at right tackle. 

For more analysis, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and...

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