Wakeup Call: Those Drew-to-Boston rumors just won't die

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Wakeup Call: Those Drew-to-Boston rumors just won't die

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, November 21:

AUTO RACING
Danica Patrick is divorcing her husband of seven years. (AP)

BASEBALL
The Stephen Drew-to-the-Red Sox rumor just won't die. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Sox killer Robert Andino is on his way to Seattle. (AP)

Buck Showalter calls losing Andino "a tug on my heart". (CSN Baltimore)

If anybody's interested in Chone Figgins, he's available. (AP)

Old friend DeMarlo Hale may turn up in Toronto as bench coach. (CSN Baltimore)

Hiroki Kuroda got a short-on-time, big-on-money contract to stay with the Yankees. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The Big East takes another hit, as Rutgers bolts for the Big Ten. (AP)

And the exodus may not be over, as the ACC apparently is targeting UConn, Louisville, South Florida or Cincinnati as potential replacements for Maryland. (CSN Philly)

Yet more woes for the Big East: One of its teams gets knocked off -- at home, no less -- by an Ivy League school. (CSN Philly)

At least one of its football-only members isn't going anywhere . . . despite rumors to the contrary. (AP)

Some vacation: No. 9 North Carolina went all the way to Hawaii to lose to unranked Butler. (AP)

No. 1 Indiana needed overtime to pull one out over Georgetown. (AP)

The Hoyas have been contacted by Florida about finishing the game that started on the USS Bataan, which was called at halftime -- with the Gators leading, 27-23 -- because of condensation on the court. (AP)

Georgia women's coach Andy Landers recorded his 800th career victory. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Well, well. The Notre Dame-USC game just got a little more interesting. (NBC's College Football Talk)

After 11 years as head coach, Jeff Tedford's out at Cal. (AP)

The Bears better not send any alumni solicitation letters to Aaron Rodgers in the wake of Tedford's firing. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

UTEP's Mike Price is calling it quits, ending his 31-year head-coaching career. (CSN Houston)

Maryland is barely competitive in the ACC, so how does it expect to survive in the Big Ten? But coach Randy Edsall insists that with "what we're building here and the depth we're creating, there's no doubt we will be able to compete and do well". (AP)

If President Obama can pardon turkeys, why not Ohio State? (College Football Talk)

GOLF
Rory McIlroy will break Tiger Woods' record for earnings in a single season if he wins the season-ending Dubai World Championship. (AP)

Looks like the belly putter is on the way out . . . much to Paul Azinger's dismay. (AP)

HOCKEY
Yeah, they're going to meet again today. No, no one expects much to come of it. (AP)

While things look bleak at the moment, a deal could be struck if the NHL moves on contracting rights and the NHLPA moves on economics. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The players have stood firm so far throughout this dispute. But if they don't bend a little on the escrow issue, they may not play this season. (CSN Washington)

Believe it or not, there have been some agreements in the talks so far. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
The Mike D'Antoni Era in L.A. begins with a victory. (AP)

It's been a month since his knee surgery and Dirk Nowitzki still has no idea when he'll play again. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Turns out Ed Reed won't have to sit out a game after all, but he's still not sure why he was suspended in the first place. (CSN Baltimore)

Tim Dobbins and the Texans didn't agree with the 30,000 fine Dobbins received for the hit that caused Jay Cutler's concussion. Turns out Cutler didn't agree with it, either. (CSN Chicago)

Cutler says he's "as normal as can be", but still has some "hoops to jump through" -- medically speaking, that is -- before he'll be cleared to play. (AP)

Ben Roethlisberger won't play this weekend, but the Steelers are "encouraged about his status" . . . whatever that means. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Whenever Roethlisberger returns, he'll have a newold target to throw to. (AP)

Jim Harbaugh skipped his day-after-game conference call with the media to visit his heart doctor for a follow-up evaluation on the procedure he underwent last week. (CSN Bay Area)

Yet another case of not checking those darn ingredients of an over-the-counter medication -- or so says his agent -- has resulted in a four-game PED suspension for Seahawks rookie Winston Guy. (AP)

Down in Miami, one ex-Patriot, Jabar Gaffney, is out, and another ex-Patriot, Kyle Miller, is in. (AP)

TENNIS
Rafael Nadal, who's been sidelined since Wimbledon because of a knee injury, is targeting the Australian Open for his return. (AP)

Curran's Sunday 4-pack: So, what HAS Tom Brady been up to?

Curran's Sunday 4-pack: So, what HAS Tom Brady been up to?

Six days – four quarters of football – remain in Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.
 
The fact is the Patriots are 3-0 and have gotten a long – and enjoyable – look at their quarterback depth behind Brady. Brady, meanwhile, has gotten a chance to shave one-quarter off the season-long wear-and-tear he takes.
 
But highlighting silver linings and pointing out there’s not much sand left in the suspension hourglass is no real consolation. Said one team source Thursday night, “It’s never going to go away.”
 
What’s Brady been up to? Mixing family time and working out. He’s routinely spent four hours a day training, I’m told, presumably with his body coach Alex Guerrero at TB12 Sports Performance at Patriot Place. Also, aside from his Sunday session with Wes Welker, Brady’s been throwing to young college players at undisclosed locations, eschewing the opportunity to bring in some of the “name” former players who’ve reached out and offered their services.
 
Spotted in Italy with wife Gisele Bundchen last week, Brady’s also been back home in San Mateo visiting with his family.
 
Speaking to two people close to him, I was told he succeeded in making peace with the time off and avoiding the creep of too much bitterness. I was also told he’s unbelievably motivated to return at a high level and wants his transition back to be seamless in terms of performance and conditioning. That last part is, of course, to be expected. But it will be interesting to see how Brady does perform out of the gates after a month’s forced exile.
 
NINKOVICH RETURNS, TOO

The lesser of the two suspended prodigal sons set to return next week – Rob Ninkovich – is no doubt going to benefit physically from the quarter-season vacation as well. And the defensive ends who’ve performed well in his absence – Jabaal Sheard and especially Chris Long – will do well to have Ninkovich back in the mix. Mention should also be made of Trey Flowers who has shown up in opponent’s backfields on a weekly basis. It depends on what your personal cup of tea might be, but through three games, Long seems to me a much better defensive fit for this team than Chandler Jones. Jones was the more explosive pass-rusher but Long’s ability in the running game, and his play-in, play-out impact in applying pressure on the tackle in front of him makes it seem so far as if he’s an upgrade.
 
NEW DEALS AHEAD?
 
Still no word on which Patriot may be in line for a new deal since the team restructured Devin McCourty and freed up some cap space.

Donta Hightower, Malcolm Butler and Jamie Collins have been seen as the most likely targets for extensions and a redo of Hightower at this point would whittle down his $7M cap number and possibly allow another extension to be executed for either Collins or Butler, as our Phil Perry pointed out.  Jabaal Sheard, meanwhile, is the Patriot who flies under the radar when extension talk starts. He may be every bit as important to the success of the Patriots defense as the other three.
 
REX WRECKS
 
The Bills are 0-2, the natives are beyond restless in Buffalo and the Cardinals are in Western New York on Sunday. The Bills are expected to play without wide receiver Sammy Watkins and are a team staring into the esophagus of 0-3 with a visit to the Patriots coming next week. Have a gander at the Bills Mailbag in the Buffalo News.  Seems like years since Rex was all giddy about the paint job on his new truck. It was less than 19 months ago.