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Lions Prepare for Bears QB Jimmy Clausen

Lions Prepare for Bears QB Jimmy Clausen

Leon Halip/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Lions (10-4) enter Sunday's game against the Bears tied with the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North.

Chicago announced this week that they benched quarterback Jay Cutler and are going with backup Jimmy Clausen, who hasn't made a start since 2010.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said on Friday that with the news coming on Thursday, the team still had a chance to prepare for it.

"We heard fairly early, so we had a chance to take a look at him," Caldwell said. "There's always still a question of whether they'll do the same things that they've been doing with him."

"So, they'll certainly be a bit of an unknown there but we certainly have a chance," Caldwell continued. "There's enough tape on him in preseason and things of that nature to get a good look at him."

Caldwell said that despite Clausen's little experience as a starter, their defense will be ready for him.

"This year we've had a couple backup quarterbacks that have stepped in and played pretty well against us," Caldwell said. "Obvious (Drew) Stanton played pretty well and (Kyle) Orton stepped in and played extremely well. We're guarded about all that stuff, we're trying to make sure that we're functioning as well as we possibly can.

"It doesn't matter, if he's got on a uniform in the National Football League, that guy can play, they can make some things happen."

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Ron Rivera on Newton Starting: ‘Pointing in the Right Direction’

Ron Rivera on Newton Starting: ‘Pointing in the Right Direction’

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE) -- Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is probable for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Ron Rivera said on Friday.

Newton sat out last week's game after he had minor injuries due to a car crash, but is doing his best to be ready come game time.

"Everything is pointing in the right direction," Rivera said. "He did a lot of turning and twisting today. We put a lot of pressure on him, did some things on purpose so we could see, and he seems to be right on track.""He did really well today in terms of the amount of stress we put on him," Rivera continued.  "He's done a nice job and has a good handle on what we want to do. I like the way he practiced. Everything is positive."

The Panthers want Newton to be close to 100 percent before they choose him over Derek Anderson, who led them to a 19-17 win over the Buccaneers.

"They both bring a lot to the table," Rivera said of his two quarterbacks, "but Cam brings that extra dimension with his ability to run. That was big for us against New Orleans. He had a really good rhythm, and we're hoping he can recapture some of that."

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Spurs’ Forward Kawhi Leonard has Torn Ligament in Right Hand

Spurs’ Forward Kawhi Leonard has Torn Ligament in Right Hand

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Antonio Spurs will be without one of their best players for a little while as forward Kawhi Leonard has a torn ligament in his right hand, and it is unknown when he'll return.

Leonard must wait for swelling to reside before considering returning.

Not as bad as it sounds,” he said. “I should be back soon,” Leonard said via Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News said.

There is some speculation/hope that Leonard will only miss a few games, which would be best-cast scenario for the team.

Leonard is the reigning NBA Finals MVP and a key cog of the team's offense as well as defense.

In 22 games this season, Leonard is averaging 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Since his rookies year during the 2011-2012 season, Leonard's points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game have improved each season.

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Marlins Trade Third Baseman Casey McGehee to the Giants

Marlins Trade Third Baseman Casey McGehee to the GiantsMike McGinnis/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco Giants have found their replacement for former third baseman Pablo Sandoval as the team has acquired Casey McGehee from the Miami Marlins. In exahcange for McGehee, the Giants are sending t...

Dodgers Designate Reliever Brian Wilson for Assignment

Dodgers Designate Reliever Brian Wilson for Assignment

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Reliever Brian Wilson and his infamous beard are out of Los Angeles as the Dodgers have designated the former All-Star for assignment.

Despite the decision, the Dodgers will still pay Wilson his 2015 salary worth $9.5 million.

"At this point, we did not feel he was one of the best seven relief options," Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said on a conference call with reporters.

At one point in his carreer, Wilson was one of the most dominant relievers in Baseball and one of the more colorful personalities in baseball.

From 2008-2011, Wilson averaged over 40 saves during his time with the San Francisco Giants.

Despite his dominance, Wilson underwent multiple elbow reconstruction surgeries and he never quite recovered from it.

In 2014, the 32-year-old Wilson went 2-4 with a 4.66 ERA and a WHIP of 1.61. Those were his highest marks since his rookie year back in 2006.

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Report: Rockets Acquire Corey Brewer

Report: Rockets Acquire Corey Brewer

National Basketball Association(HOUSTON, Tx.) -- The Houston Rockets are adding some much needed depth to their bench.

Corey Brewer has been traded to the Houston Rockets from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday, according to Yahoo Sports.

 The Timberwolves will receive guard Troy Daniels as well as two second round draft picks - one via Sacramento.

Houston is currently 18th in scoring offense in the NBA, averaging 99.8 points per game.  Their bench is also last in the NBA with 21.4 points per game.

Brewer will likely improve those numbers as he is averaging 10.5 points per game this season and shooting 41.8% from the field. 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/19/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/19/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA:  Utah Jazz 101 (8-19) - Orlando Magic 94 (10-19)

Charlotte Hornets 109 (7-19) - Philadelphia 76ers 91 (2-23)

Boston Celtics 114 (10-14) - Minnesota Timberwolves 98 (5-20)

Toronto Raptors 110 (20-6) - Detroit Pistons 100 (5-21)

NHL: New Jersey Devils 3 (11-16-6) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (20-10-4)(F/SO)

NCAAM:  Eastern Kentucky 72 (6-4) - (18) Miami Fl 44 (9-2)

(20) St. Johns 53 (6-3) - Saint Mary's 47 (9-1)

 

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Yankees and Marlins Swap Prado and Eovaldi

Yankees and Marlins Swap Prado and Eovaldi

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The Yankees and Marlins have completed a five-player trade that will send Martin Prado to Miami and Nathan Eovaldi to New York.

Friday, the Yankees sent Prado and relief pitcher David Phelps to Miami, in exchange for the 24-year-old right handed fireballer Eovaldi, utility player Garrett Jones and minor league pitcher Domingo German.

Eovaldi, was 6-14 last season with a 4.37 ERA while also surrendering the most hits in the National League with 223.

The Yankees have made similar moves in the past; buying low on young inconsistent talent.

Last season, the team acquired pitcher Brandon McCarthy in a low risk move.  After a few tweaks to his mechanics and pitching tendencies McCarthy lowered his ERA from 4.53 in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, to 2.89 over 14 games for the Yankees last season.  McCarthy signed with the Dodgers this offseason for $48 million over four years.

According to Marc Craig of Newsday, the Yankees are also including $6 million in the trade to cover the salary of Prado. 

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Report: Padres Acquire Outfielder Justin Upton from the Braves

Report: Padres Acquire Outfielder Justin Upton from the Braves

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Diego Padres have struck again this offseason by acquiring another big-time bat. According to reports, the team has acquired outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves.

According to reports, the Padres will send Braves pitcher Max Fried, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith.

Still just 27 years old, Upton hit .270 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs in his eighth season in the big leagues. He will be a free agent following the 2015 season.

The Padres now have a completely revamped offense/outfield. Not only have they acquired Upton, they've also made trades for former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp and former American League Rookie of the Year outfielder Wil Myers.

The Padres also recently acquired All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics, and reportedly they've acquired third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox for Ryan Hanigan.

In 2014, the Padres ranked 30th in Major League Baseball in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.

San Diego hasn't made the playoffs since 2006.

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Seahawks Reward Linebacker K.J. Wright with Four-Year Extension

Seahawks Reward Linebacker K.J. Wright with Four-Year Extension

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(RENTON, Wash.) -- The Seattle Seahawks have locked up another key member of their dominant defense. ESPN reports they've rewarded linebacker K.J. Wright with a four-year extension, worth $27 million.

Since the team drafted him in the fourth round back in 2011, Wright has emerged as a fantastic defensive player who's a key member of the team's top-ranked defense.

"In the offseason, we identified K.J. as one of our core players moving forward and aimed to keep him as a part of the Seahawks family for a long time," general manager John Schneider said in a statement. "The timing of this signing gives us the ability to keep as many of our core players together as we possibly can. Since Day 1, K.J. has been a true professional in his daily approach and we are excited for K.J., his family and the 12s to keep him in the organization."

In 14 games this season, Wright has 96 tackles, two away from tying a career-high. He has started all three linebacker spots for the team as well.

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Giants Re-Sign Starting Pitcher Jake Peavy

Giants Re-Sign Starting Pitcher Jake Peavy

Brandon Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Starting pitcher Jake Peavy enjoyed his brief time with the San Francisco Giants so much, he agreed on a two-year deal with the club on Friday morning.

ESPN reports that Peavy's deal is worth $24 million to go along with a $4 million signing bonus.

The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins were reportedly among the teams who were also pursuing Peavy.

Peavy is a three-time All Star and former Cy Young winner who rebounded strongly after the Boston Red Sox dealt him to the Giants prior to the trade deadline.

In 20 starts with the Red Sox in 2014, Peavy went 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA. In 12 starts with the Giants after getting traded, he went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA.

Peavy did fall apart in the postsesaon though despite the team winning the World Series. In four starts, Peavy went 1-2 with a 6.29 ERA.

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Jay Cutler Benched

Jay Cutler Benched Nick Laham/Getty Images(LAKE FOREST, Ill.) -- Jay Cutler will be the backup quarterback when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions Sunday. Bears head coach Marc Trestman announced Thursday that Jimmy Clausen would start over the NFL's highest-paid offensive player on Sunday.

Cutler just signed a seven-year, $126.7 million contract with the Bears this past off-season.

"Certainly it was not an easy decision," Trestman said. "In my mind those types of decisions never are. As I told our team today, this doesn't void us of our offensive struggles that we have or the team struggles that we have by making this change. And I think our guys are well aware of that. But for the present moment, I think this is in the best interest of our football team." It may be true. The 31-year-old Cutler currently leads the NFL with 24 turnovers. The Bears are also one of only four teams that hasn't scored at least 30 points in a game this season -- the Jaguars, Raiders, and Titans are the others.

Now Clausen, who is 1-9 as a starter in the NFL, takes over. "I think we need a lift at quarterback. I think we need a spark," Trestman said. "The weight of the world should not be on Jimmy Clausen. He's going to get an opportunity to play and I'm hoping that against a very, very good defense there will be some response from our football team."

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Celtics Send Rondo to Mavericks

Celtics Send Rondo to Mavericks

NBA via Boston Celtics(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Celtics traded point guard Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and a future first and second round pick, the teams announced Thursday.

"My time in Boston has meant so much," Rondo tweeted. "I've grown up with this city both as a basketball player and person. The love I have for the most loyal And supportive fans in the league is unmatched. I look forward to building something special in Dallas."

The Celtics will also send forward Dwight Powell to the Mavericks and will waive center Vitor Faverani. The C's also receive a $12.9 million trade exception.

"We would like to thank Rajon for everything that he has done for the Celtics organization and the success we have experienced during his tenure with us," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.The 28-year-old Rondo is in the final year of his current contract and is averaging a league high 10.8 assists per game this season.With Rondo the Mavericks (19-8) would get a pure point guard to help deliver the ball to current starters Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, and Chandler Parsons.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/18/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/18/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars 21 (3-12) – Tennessee Titans 13 (2-13)

NBA: Chicago Bulls 103 (16-9) – New York Knicks 97 (5-23)

New Orleans Pelicans 99 (13-12) – Houston Rockets 90 (19-6)

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (2) Duke 66 (10-0) – Connecticut 56 (4-4)

(6) Virginia 70 (10-0) – Cleveland State 54 (5-6)

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes 4 (9-19-3; 21pts) – Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (19-10-3; 41pts)

Florida Panthers 2 (14-8-8; 36pts) – Philadelphia Flyers 1 (11-14-6; 28pts) SO

Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (21-6-4; 46pts) – Colorado Avalanche 0 (10-13-8; 28pts) OT

Washington Capitals 5 (15-10-6; 36pts) – Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (13-15-3; 29pts) OT

Anaheim Ducks 2 (22-7-5; 49pts) – Montreal Canadiens 1 (20-11-2; 42pts)

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Ravens Preparing for ‘Physical’ Game Against Texans

Ravens Preparing for ‘Physical’ Game Against Texans

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- The Ravens enter Sunday's game against the Texans holding onto the final spot in the AFC playoffs.

With the Chiefs and Chargers right behind them, Baltimore understands the importance of getting a win against Houston.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he expects it to be a tough game on the body. "Every time we play Houston, it's always extremely physical," he said Wednesday.  "They're always committed to running the football; they have one of the best backs in football [Arian Foster]."

Baltimore is 4-3 on the road this season and Houston is 3-3 at home.

"We've played down there a good amount," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said.  "It's not going to be a new scene, we've played against most of those guys, how much that really matters, I don't know."

Houston Pro-Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt has recorded seven sacks in the last three games for a season total of 16 1/2, which is third in the league.

When asked what will happen if Watt gets to him on Sunday, Flacco said, "I'm going to pick myself up off the ground. I don't know who hits me; I hope it's not him. I hope it's not any of them."

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Philip Rivers Expects the 49ers Best

Philip Rivers Expects the 49ers Best

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- The San Diego Chargers find themselves still in the thick of things in the AFC as they head into their game on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers.

San Diego sits in the eighth spot with the Chiefs, Ravens, and Steelers ahead of them.  

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is expecting the 49ers to be in spoiler mode, having been eliminated last weekend.

"Not only can they embrace that role if they so choose. I also know that there's a lot of prideful, Pro-Bowl players on that team," Rivers said. "When they suit up they play."

San Francisco is allowing 20.4 points a game this year.

49ers safety Antoine Bethea said of Rivers is a "veteran quarterback one of the top ten, quarterbacks in the league. He's been doing it for a while and he's got a lot of weapons to get the ball to."

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Wisconsin Badgers Name Chryst Head Coach

Wisconsin Badgers Name Chryst Head Coach

David Stluka/Get​ty Images(MADISON, Wi.) -- The Wisconsin Badgers have found their replacement for the surprising departure of Gary Andersen.

The Badgers football team announced Wednesday that Paul Chryst will take over as head coach, who leaves the University of Pittsburgh to return to the University of Wisconsin. Chryst was formerly the offensive coordinator of the Badgers from 2005 to 2011. 

Chryst is also a Wisconsin native who graduated from the University in 1988.

"To be able to do this and come back home, to Wisconsin, it truly is special," Chryst said.

Athletic director and former head coach Barry Alvarez said that finding a candidate with Wisconsin ties wasn't a requirement, but it did help.

"To continue to grow and learn, and then leave and be able to come back ... Coach, I appreciate that, more than you know," said Chryst, while turning toward Alvarez.

During his three-year tenure at Pittsburgh, Chryst was 19-19. His best record was 7-6 in 2013, where the Panthers capped their season with a 30-27 win over the Bowling Green Falcons in the Little Ceasar's Pizza Bowl.

 

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Reports: Royals to Sign SP Edinson Volquez

Reports: Royals to Sign SP Edinson Volquez

Major League Baseball(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The American League pennant winners are adding to their rotation.

Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez will join the Kansas City Royals rotation on a two-year, $20 million deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. 

The right-handed pitcher spent 2014 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was a bounce back season as he posted a 3.04 ERA, 140 strikeouts and a 3.3 BB/ 9 over 192.2 innings pitched.

Volquez, 31, had struggled after Tommy John Surgery in 2009. He was suspended for 50 games in 2010 after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He was then traded to the Padres and had a brief stint with the the Dodgers. In that span, he never posted an ERA better than 4.14.

He will likely replace James Sheilds in the Royals rotation as he is expected to leave via free agency. 

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Padres Acquire Wil Myers in Three-Team Trade.

Padres Acquire Wil Myers in Three-Team Trade.

Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images(SAN DIEGO, Ca.) -- The San Diego Padres have acquired outfielder Wil Myers in a three-team trade.

In a deal with the Nationals and Rays, the Padres also obtain young pitchers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes, as well as veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan from Tampa Bay.

In return, the Rays receive Burch Smith, a right-hander who was drafted by the Padres in 2011, first baseman Rene Rivera, catcher Jake Bauers, a 2013 draft pick of the Padres and outfielder Steven Souza as well as left-hander Travis Ott from the Nationals.

The Nationals receive right hander Joe Ross and shortstop Trea Turner, who both come from San Diego in the deal.

Myers, 24, was acquired by Tampa Bay in 2012 as part of seven-player trade that saw Kansas City acquire James Shields.  

The next season, Myers batted .293 and smacked 13 homeruns and 88 RBI on his way to the 2013 rookie of the year award. 

After dealing for Matt Kemp, the Padres are expecting to improve on an offense that ranked last in baseball with 535 runs scored.

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Report: Bears to Start Clausen Against Lions

Report: Bears to Start Clausen Against Lions

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill) -- The Bears will bench Jay Cutler in favor of Jimmy Clausen as Chicago prepares to face Detroit Sunday.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chicago is making the switch after Cutler leads the NFL with 24 turnovers and has shown a clear regression in head coach Marc Trestmann's offense.

"Our whole football team isn't where it needs to be," Trestmann said, during Wednesday's press conference when talking about the offense.

"Quarterback's always going to be the guy to get looked at, no doubt about it. We all can do better."

Clausen, 27, a second round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2010. He was 1-9 in his rookie season before the Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall the next season.

Cutler signed a seven-year, $126 million contract extension this offseason, that also saw the team allow back-up quarterback Josh McCown leave for Tampa Bay.

McCown signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Buccaneers after completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games with the Bears last season.

Turmoil has taken over the Bears organization as player outbursts and anonymous criticisms have been the focus of the 2014 season. After a loss to the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 19, wide receiver Brandon Marshall could be heard from the team locker room calling out teammates for a lack of effort.  Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was discovered to have been an anonymous source in a story that criticized Cutler and his poor performance.

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