Wakeup Call: Dead man walking in Dallas

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Wakeup Call: Dead man walking in Dallas

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, February 14.

BASEBALL
Mariano Rivera knows whether or not he'll play beyond 2013 . . . but he's not telling you. Yet. (AP)

Well, this is different: Francisco Cervelli, one of the players named in the Miami New Times article, admits that, yes, he's actually heard of Biogenesis of America LLC, and, yes, he consulted with them. But, of course, he didn't take any PEDs, no, no. (AP)

As for players who actually got caught with their hands in the PED cookie jar, the Padres' Yasmani Grandal plans to make his apologies this weekend. (AP)

And the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz made his yesterday. Very quietly. (CSN Philly)

Pete? Pete who? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

He looks a lot different with short hair. And Tim Lincecum says he feels a lot different -- a lot better -- at this early stage of spring training. (CSN Bay Area)

Johnny Cueto feels better, too. (AP)

The Rays are trying to figure out ways to keep Evan Longoria feeling better. (AP)

The Mets insist the worst of their financial woes are behind them, and that their modest 83 million payroll is that low simply because they don't have many good players. Well, they didn't say that, but . . . (AP)

Yes, that's right, Robin Ventura declined his contract option this offseason. But that doesn't mean he wants to stop managing the White Sox. (CSN Chicago)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Connecticut sure made its last-ever regular-season meeting with Syracuse a good one. (AP)

And it's reason for the Orange to start worrying. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

It wasn't the clash of the titans it usually is, not with North Carolina just sort of stumbling along this year, but Duke is still happy with the 73-68 win over its arch-rivals. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The Big Ten is putting its teams on a cupcake-free diet. (AP)

Hitting a defenseless opponent in the head may get you kicked out of the game if the NCAA institutes a proposed rule change. (AP)

The Merry Maids should do housecleaning as thorough as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. (AP)

New coach Brett Bielema has his first player arrest to deal with at Arkansas. (AP)

GOLF
Here's a little break in the monotony of the qualifying round: Daniela Holmqvist uses a tee to extract what she thought was potentially fatal venom from a spider bite on her ankle at the Women's Australian Open . . . and then continued playing. Alas, she shot a 74 and didn't make the cut. (AP)

We might still have belly putters if only Ernie Els and Webb Simpson hadn't won majors in consecutive months last year. At least that's whay Els thinks. (golfchannel.com)

HOCKEY
The Senators lose star defenseman Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, when his left Achilles is cut by the dastardly Matt Cooke's skate blade during Pittsburgh's 4-2 win over Ottawa. (AP)

Mike Milbury thinks it was just an unfortunate accident but knows that "a lot of people are going to start yakking . . . about Matt Cooke this and Matt Cooke that." And sure enough, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray fumed after the game: "It's Matt Cooke. What else should I say? Watch the replay." (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

You have your upper-body injuries and your lower-body injuries. But those head injuries are another matter entirely . . . and that's what the Avalanche's Erik Johnson has to deal with. (AP)

All the Blues had to do to break their five-game losing streak was get out of St. Louis. (AP)

You can go home again, right, Alexei Ponikarovsky? (AP)

Right, Andrew Brunette? (AP)

As expected, the Blue Jackets make Jarmo Kekalainen the first European GM in NHL history. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Shaq and Kobe are pals again. Now we can all sleep at night. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Derrick Rose says if he has to sit out the year in order to get completely healthy, then he'll sit out the year. Good news, eh, Bulls Nation? (CSN Chicago)

This isn't the Pro Bowl; players actually like participating in the NBA All-Star Game. But, like his NFL brethren, 'Melo says he has an injury that may force him to miss it. Unlike his NFL brethren, it's a real one. (AP)

Come on, Clippers. You score 46 points in the first quarter, you really should finish with more than 106 for the game. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Jason Garrett insists that all those moves which seemed to diminish his powers as Cowboys coach were collaborative decisions with everyone, him included, in on the discussions. (AP)

But Mike Florio wonders if Garrett isn't a dead man walking, even at this late date of the offseason. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

At the other end of the security spectrum, the Vikings pick up Leslie Frazier's option for 2014. (AP)

Johnny Knox, released by the Bears Tuesday, is calling it quits. (AP)

Terrell Suggs made a miraculous recovery from a partial Achilles tear. Now he may go without surgery to fix the partial tear of his right biceps. (CSN Baltimore)

The NFL's movers and shakers, including Robert Kraft, come together in a tribute for Steve Sabol, the late president of NFL Films. (CSN Philly)

Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

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Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

FOXBORO -- Day 1 of Patriots training camp practice featured a little bit of Rob Gronkowski news before the session. During the session, Gronkowski put on a show.

In shells and shorts, the Patriots tight end put his trademark style on display by catching touchdown passes during 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work and then hamming it up -- perhaps practicing for the regular season when the restrictions on celebrations have been pulled back a bit by the NFL.

Before the session, Bill Belichick said that Gronkowski had "no limits" in practice. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder certainly seemed to be feeling just fine.

WHAT WE SAW
* Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Joe Cardona were not spotted at practice. Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch began camp on the PUP list and did not participate Thursday.

* With two of the roster's perceived top defensive ends not present, the representatives for that edge group on Day 1 were Trey Flowers, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Geneo Grissom and Shea McClellin.

* During 3-on-4 drills at the goal line, Gronkowski put on a show. The drill may have been only semi-competitive at times but when Gronk caught a touchdown, he celebrated with gusto and the crowd ate it up.

* Jimmy Garoppolo took off for an early lap alongside backup center Ted Karras after a fumbled quarterback-center exchange. Working out the kinks. It's early yet.
 
* Austin Carr had a good release and then caught the "period-winner" to make defensive backs do pushups at the end of a 2-on-2 drill at the goal line. The undrafted rookie receiver from Northwestern earned plaudits from Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates for his performance. Even receivers coach Chad O'Shea was fired up, telling the rookie to celebrate after the fact. Carr's in the running for more reps with Andrew Hawkins now out of the mix.

* Justin Coleman made a nice pick with his hands to start things in a positive direction for the defensive backs during 2-on-2 work. Undrafted rookie Kenny Moore also made an impressive pass breakup while in coverage of Malcolm Mitchell.

* Cyrus Jones dropped a kickoff very early in the practice. He looked more smooth during punt-return work. He worked alongside undrafted rookie Will Likely during a punt-return drill.

* During kickoff work later in the session, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola were the first two returners taking reps. Matthew Slater was also back there in his traffic-cop role. Rex Burkhead, James White, Jones and Likely also took part.

* Cooks ran one around the edge off of motion during 11-on-11 work. It'll be interesting if the Patriots try to implement him in that fashion during the season. He took occasional sweep handoffs while with the Saints with varying levels of success.

* Following the first 11-on-11 period of the day, Tom Brady and Garoppolo worked a side-session with Josh McDaniels and Dion Lewis. Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman also had a quick conversation with Brady.

* Another side session came later that featured Edelman, Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Devin Lucien.

* Grissom appears to be one of the primary beneficiaries when it comes to playing time with Ninkovich and Ealy out. Rookie Derek Rivers also saw work with regulars. At the linebacker level, Jonathan Freeny appear to be one of the first off-the-ball options, along with Shea McClellin.

* Late in the practice, Brady and Garoppolo worked with a group of centers that included Karras, David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Jamil Douglas. Douglas spent much of last season on the Patriots practice squad.

11-on-11
* Brady incomplete for Cooks down the middle. 0-for-1.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski short. 1-for-2.
* Brady incomplete for Cooks. Broken up by Butler. 1-for-3.
* Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone with Freeny on him. 2-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Gillislee short. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman. Broken up by Rowe. Thrown behind a bit. 1-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Edelman with Cyrus Jones in coverage. 2-for-3.
* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 3-for-4.

* Brissett complete to Foster. 1-for-1.
* Brissett complete to Cody Hollister. 2-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 3-for-3.
* Brissett complete to LeShun Daniels. 4-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Allen down the seam. 4-for-5.
* Garoppolo complete to Allen with Harris in coverage. 5-for-6.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman with Butler in coverage. 5-for-7.
* Garoppolo complete to White with McClellin in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brady complete to Cooks deep with C. Jones in coverage. 3-for-5.
* Brady complete to Burkhead with Van Noy in coverage. 4-for-6.
* Brady complete to White. 5-for-7.
* Brady complete to Edelman with C. Jones in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brissett complete to Foster deep with Thompson in coverage. 5-for-5.
* Brissett incomplete to Lucien. Pass breakup by Kenny Moore. 5-for-6.
* Brissett incomplete. 5-for-7.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 6-for-8.

11-on-11 HURRY
* Brady complete to Cooks. 6-for-9.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 7-for-10.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 8-for-11.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 9-for-12.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 10-for-13.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 11-for-14.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 12-for-15.

7-on-7 HURRY-UP
* Brady complete to Cooks on low throw. 1-for-1.
* Brady incomplete for Gronkowski. Broken up by Van Noy. 1-for-2.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski. 2-for-3.
* Brady complete for Edelman. 3-for-4.
* Brady incomplete for Hogan in back of the end zone. Broken up by J. Jones. 3-for-5.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 3-for-6.

* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 2-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 3-for-3.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Broken up by Ebner. 3-for-4.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Richards. Intended for Develin on scramble drill. 3-for-5.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Rowe. 3-for-6.

* Brissett incomplete for Slater. 0-for-1.
* Brissett complete for Slater. 1-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 2-for-3.
* Brissett incomplete. Broken up by...the paddle guy. Defense loves it. 2-for-4.

LATE 11-on-11
* Brissett complete to Foster.
* Brissett incomplete to Washington.
* Brissett complete to Jacob Hollister.
* Brissett incomplete out of the back of the end zone.
* Brissett incomplete. Batted down by Wise . . . and Wise wasn't trying.

Belichick: Gronkowski 'doesn't have any limits that I know of'

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Belichick: Gronkowski 'doesn't have any limits that I know of'

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's health is one of the lone obvious concerns facing the Patriots as they begin training camp this week, but even that doesn't seem to be much of an issue at the moment. 

Asked about Gronkowski on Thursday, Bill Belichick said that the tight end "doesn't have any limits that I know of." 

Gronkowski had season-ending back surgery -- his third such procedure -- after taking part in just seven plays during a Week 12 win over the Jets. The Patriots got by with Martellus Bennett and Matt Lengel as their top two tight ends for the remainder of the season.

Belichick's most recent comments don't come as a major shock since Gronkowski participated fully during OTAs, but they are an indication that even when pads are introduced later in camp, Gronkowski will be prepared to take part in contact drills. 

Any time the words "Gronkowski" and "full participant" happen to appear in the same sentence -- as it appears they will early in camp -- that's obviously very good news for the Patriots.