Meet football's newest 120 million man

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Meet football's newest 120 million man

Monday, August 22, 2011
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald have agreed to an eight-year deal that could pay the star receiver as much as 120 million, making it one of the richest deals in the NFL. The agreement, with guarantees near 50 million, is by far the biggest in the franchise's history. Fitzgerald and team president Michael Bidwill appeared at a hastily called news conference Saturday night to announce the agreement. Fitzgerald insisted he "hates this part of sports," but he certainly has made a boatload of money. This is the third major contract he has signed, and he doesn't turn 28 until Aug. 31. "Growing up, since I was 7 years old, this has been the game I love and something I have been so passionate about," Fitzgerald said, "and to have to talk about it on the business side is a little bit uncomfortable. But I am really happy to put it behind us and it wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for the Bidwill family's hard work in making this thing happen." The Cardinals had said they wanted Fitzgerald's new contract wrapped up by the start of the regular season, and they made it with two weeks to spare. Bidwill, son of the team's owner Bill Bidwill, said the Cardinals' intent is to have Fitzgerald retire as a Cardinal "but not anytime soon." Fitzgerald, the third overall park in the 2004 draft at the age of 19, spoke of the opportunity to spend his entire career with one team. "It is an honor," he said. "I am so fortunate. Not many players have that opportunity but Michael has allowed me that opportunity and I just want to repay him with great effort and winning. That is what is important." The 6-foot-3, 218 pound receiver has become the franchise's career leader in receptions with 613 and needs just 294 yards to surpass Roy Green for career yards receiving. In Arizona's surprise run to the Super Bowl in the 2008 season, Fitzgerald shattered most of the NFL playoff receiving records. Fitzgerald has topped 1,000 yards receiving in five of his seven NFL seasons, including the last four. He caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards last season even though Arizona had one of the worst offenses in the league while struggling to a 5-11 record, in large part because of poor quarterback play in the wake of the retirement of Kurt Warner. While Fitzgerald said he never insisted the team make a big move for a quarterback -- "I am not anyone to hold a hammer over anyone's head" -- the Cardinals traded for Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles, then signed him to a five-year, 63 million contract, with 21 million guaranteed. Fitzgerald, who organized team workouts during the lockout, had a practice session with Kolb long before the trade. Fitzgerald will be under contract to the Cardinals through the 2018 season. It is not known whether the deal contains the kind of terms that gave him huge leverage over the team under its current deal -- specifically a ban on making him a franchise player and a no-trade clause. The contract could have widespread ramifications around the NFL, particularly in the case of running back Chris Johnson, who is holding out for a new deal with the Tennessee Titans. Johnson tweeted "congratulations to (at)LarryFitzgerald god is good" and Fitzgerald responded with "thanks CJ you up next my guy."

Cink takes leave from PGA tour as wife battles cancer

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Cink takes leave from PGA tour as wife battles cancer

Stewart Cink announces he is stepping away from competitive golf to be with his wife, Lisa, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Celtics like Butler, but Bulls not making him easy to acquire

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Celtics like Butler, but Bulls not making him easy to acquire

BOSTON – It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics are among the many teams that would love to swing a deal to acquire Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Well for now at least, it appears the Bulls aren’t willing to budge off moving their all-star small forward.

A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.

And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.

“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.

Any deal involving Butler to Boston from Chicago’s perspective, would most likely have to include Jae Crowder who is one of the best bargains in the NBA – and will be so for years to come.

With the increased salary cap on the horizon this summer for teams, the five-year, $35 million deal Crowder signed last summer is looking like an absolute steal on the Celtics’ part.

Meanwhile, Butler just completed the first year of a five-year, $92.3 million contract which raises questions if you’re the Celtics as to whether the difference in their salaries makes doing such a deal worth it.

If you’re the Celtics, such a deal would be a significant bump in paid-out salaries but it would also better position Boston to acquire a second superstar a la Kevin Durant who will be a free agent this summer.

There are a number of options for the Celtics to consider in their current rebuilding process, with one possibility being to fall back on the ‘07 “blueprint for success.”

Boston used the No. 5 overall pick (Jeff Green) as part of a trade with Seattle (now Oklahoma City) that helped the Celtics land Ray Allen.

A couple of months later, Boston was able to engineer a trade for Kevin Garnett who played for Minnesota at the time.

And the rest was Banner 17 history.

Without acquiring Allen, there was no way the Celtics were going to land Garnett.

And if the goal for the Celtics is to catapult itself to being a title contender sooner rather than later, they’re going to have to acquire an elite, all-star caliber talent before they have a serious shot at Durant.

Could Butler be this year’s Ray Allen?

At this point, the Bulls have no intention of allowing that to happen.

More likely than not, the Celtics will have to go in a different direction which may result in Boston pulling off a deal for Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.

Like the Bulls, the Kings are saying all the right things now about not wanting to trade him.

Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

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Pastrnak, Marchand and Vatrano represent Bruins at World Championship

The Bruins have three players headed to the IIHF Hockey World Championship, which begin this weekend in Russia.

Brad Marchand was invited to play for Team Canada early on in the process, coming off his 37-goal season for the Bruins. Last week the Czech Republic added 19-year-old right wing David Pastrnak to their squad with plans to skate on a line with the Montreal Canadiens' Tomas Plekanec.

And Frank Vatrano -- who scored a total of 44 goals between Boston and Providence in this, his first full professional season -- was added to the Team USA roster this week. Vatrano, 22, confirmed it on his own Twitter account on Tuesday night prior to hopping on a flight bound for Russia:

Torey Krug played for Team USA last season, but was unavailable this time around after undergoing right shoulder surgery just a couple of weeks ago that will have him sidelined until late October. 

Vatrano is one of four Massachusetts players on this year's version of Team USA. The others are Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon, Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin and Devils D-man David Warsofsky.

Both Marchand and Pastrnak previously suited up for their countries in the World Junior championships, and Vatrano played in the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts. Vatrano also previously represented the U.S. at the 2012 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic, where he helped Team USA claim the gold medal.

The IIHF Men's World Championships will start Friday and run until May 22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It features featuring many of the NHL players that aren’t participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs.