Wakeup Call: Of DMSO and sports hernias and . . .

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Wakeup Call: Of DMSO and sports hernias and . . .

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, February 8.

AUTO RACING
They don't induct bats into the Baseball Hall of Fame, or helmets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But in NASCAR, cars get in. (AP)

BASEBALL
Is anyone really surprised that King Felix is staying in Seattle? (AP)

Please don't rush to judgment? In our society? Michael, you must be kidding. (AP)

Old friends Mike Aviles and Kelly Shoppach have new contracts. (AP)

What's that old saying, that if you can hit a curveball you can get away with murder in baseball? Well, with the Giants, you can get away with being accused of murder. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Indiana's reign as the nation's No. 1 team probably won't last long, not after the Hoosiers' last-second loss at Illinois. (AP)

Duke gets its revenge on slumping North Carolina State. (AP)

Yeah, I never heard of Nate Wolters, either. But the South Dakota State guard scored 53 points, most for a Division I player this season, in an 80-74 victory over IPFW. (AP)

Missouri's not going to stay in the Top 25 much longer if it can't figure out how to win on the road. (AP)

Florida's sixth man, Will Yaguete, is lost for at least the rest of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery. (AP)

Notre Dame spills the beans: It looks the Big East is going to stay together for at least one more year. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
According to her lawyers, poor Andrea McDonald is "exploring her options" during this "difficult time." And what's the "difficult time"? Her son wants to go to Arkansas instead of Miami. So, what, she's going to sue him? (NBC's College Football Talk)

That anonymous letter sent out by "UNM Senior Football Players" claiming New Mexico coach Bob Davie discriminates against players based on race is "unfounded and untrue" according to the university, which says it investigated the charges. (AP)

He broke some of RGIII's records at Baylor and was second only to Johnny Football in total yards per game, but Nick Florence is saying no to the NFL and will focus on getting his master's degree instead. (AP)

Nebraska and Colorado will resume their rivalry, beginning in 2018. (AP)

Well, it helps when your stadium seats 109,901. (AP)

GOLF
As long as they keep scheduling it during the week of school vacation, Phil Mickelson's going to keep skipping the Match Play Championship. (AP)

HOCKEY
Whaddya know? Phil Kessel finally scored! (AP)

These are your new fans, Tim Thomas. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

I mean, you didn't see Ranger fans cheering when this guy took one in the face, did you? (Pro Hockey Talk)

Can anyone stop the Blackhawks? (CSN Chicago)

Adam Oates' Wednesday contention that the Capitals were heading in the right direction looks kind of silly now, doesn't it? (CSN Washington)

Their hard-fought loss to the Bruins apparently took something out of them, because the Canadiens couldn't hold a two-goal, third-period lead and lost in a shootout to the stumbling Sabres. (AP)

Methinks though dost protest too much, Barry. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Ken Hitchcock reminds the Blues that there's no 'i' in team. (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Mike Krzyewski may return as U.S. coach in 2016, after all. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Ooh. Trouble in paradise! (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Real trouble! (Pro Basketball Talk)

Since Tom Thibodeau took over as coach, the Bulls have rarely gotten blown out. Last night, though, was different. (CSN Chicago)

Kevin Love apparently has decided on the glass-is-half-full outlook. (AP)

Let's hope Lou Williams can do the same. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Deer antlers?? Why, in Tony Casillas' day, they used DSMO! (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

2,097 yards rushing with a sports hernia. If the phrases "deer antlers" and "DSMO" -- and other things -- leap to mind, I get it. (AP)

Gregg Williams is full of apologies and mea culpas as he gratefully accepts his reinstatement and takes a job with the Titans. (AP)

The Ravens are enjoying the present but -- unlike the last time they won the Super Bowl -- still looking to the future. (AP)

Too bad. Would have been fun to see an assistant coach dance his way onto the field before a game. (CSN Baltimore)

So the good folks of Baltimore will have to get their weekly Ray Lewis fix from a statue of him that's being planned. (Pro Football Talk)

We got a sneak preview of that statue on the field during the Super Bowl. (CSN Bay Area)

Jim Harbaugh's still crying about the non-call on the 49ers' last offensive play. (Pro Football Talk)

The Bills are going to let Donald Jones become a free agent. (AP)

The Colts may do the same with Dwight Freeney . . . but he hopes they don't. (Pro Football Talk)

And the Steelers? They may be saying goodbye to lots of their veterans. (Pro Football Talk)

Report: Belichick may be called to testify in Hernandez trial

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Report: Belichick may be called to testify in Hernandez trial

Bill Belichick, identified as "William Belichick," has been added to the list of potential defense witnesses who could testify during the upcoming double-homicide trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, according to the Boston Herald.

Per the Herald, the new list of potential witnesses for the defense also includes Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was Hernandez's teammate at the University of Florida. 

Belichick, McDaniels and Pouncey aren't guaranteed to testify, but their presence on the civilian witness list makes their presence in court a possibility. 

Hernandez's trial is scheduled to start next Wednesday. He's accused of killing Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Furtado back in July of 2012. Hernandez is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of the murder Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Patriots To-Do List: Figure out what’s up with Cyrus Jones

Patriots To-Do List: Figure out what’s up with Cyrus Jones

Personally, I would buy a crapload of stock in Cyrus Jones. In part because – after his nightmarish rookie season – stock can be bought on the cheap. But also because he’s too talented, too committed and too smart to suck like he did in 2016 when he handled punts like they were coated in uranium and never made a big contribution in the secondary.

(Listen above to hear Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss Cyrus Jones on the Quick Slants podcast.)

Because of his disappointing year, Jones is an overlooked player on the Patriots roster, but he’s in a pivotal spot. With Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon approaching free agency, Malcolm Butler’s contract expiring after 2017, Pat Chung on the edge of 30 and a free agent after 2018 and the other corners being Justin Coleman, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones, Cyrus Jones is going to get his shot.

The reason I included safeties Harmon and Chung in the discussion is that when the Patriots go to six DBs, roles are less stringently defined. And because of Jones’ size (5-10, 200), powerful build and short-area quickness, he can be the kind of versatile player who covers inside against quicker slot receivers as well as being on the outside if necessary. Kind of like Chung can cover on the back end or drop down to cover tight ends.

The Patriots are confident that Jones will get it right. His teammates in the secondary are unanimous in saying he’s got all the talent he needs.  

PATRIOTS TO-DO LIST:

But as 2016 wore on, it was apparent that Jones was miserable and let his failures consume him. Jones muffed or fumbled five kicks in the 2016 season.
 
By the time the Patriots played the Ravens on a Monday night in December, he was so inside his own head that he stalked a bouncing punt he had no business being near (for the second time that game) and had it bounce off his foot setting up a Ravens touchdown. That night, Jones exited the Patriots locker room and made his way to the players parking lot before the field was even clear of equipment.

Jones either expected things to come as easily in the NFL as they did at Alabama and wasn’t prepared to deal with adversity. Or the mistakes he made caused him to wonder if he really was good enough to play in the league.

Either way, Cyrus Jones was all about Cyrus Jones in 2016. And his comments to the Baltimore Sun over the weekend were evidence that the world he’s concerned with ends at the end of his nose. 

"I honestly felt cursed," he said. "I reached a point where I didn't even want to play. I just didn't have it...What I did this year was not me," he said. "I don't care how anybody tries to sugarcoat it. Yes, I was a rookie. But I feel I should always be one of the best players on the field, no matter where I am.
 
"But honestly, it was hell for me," he said. "That's the only way I can describe it. I didn't feel I deserved to be part of anything that was happening with the team. I felt embarrassed that these people probably thought they wasted a pick on me."

The first thing Jones needs to do this offseason is get over himself. He can look one locker down and talk to Devin McCourty about getting crushed for shaky play in 2012, battling through it and then turning into a Pro Bowl-level safety. He can talk to fellow Alabama product Dont'a Hightower about Hightower’s being benched in the 2013 season against the Broncos and labeled a bust before flipping his season around and being the team’s best defender by the end of that year.

But he’s going to have to figure it out. Draft status means nothing to New England and, as it now stands, undrafted corner Jonathan Jones out of Auburn has more demonstrated value to the team that Cyrus Jones does. In two months, the Patriots are damn sure going to add more secondary players.

This offseason, Jones needs to check his ego, simplify his game and simply ban outside perceptions from fans, media or coaches from infect his on-field decision-making.

His conversation with the Sun didn’t really indicate he’s ready to do that. Asked about criticism, Jones said, “It pisses me off. You can say shut it out or don't listen, but I know people are talking, and it's negative. I'm not a dumb guy. It definitely affects me. What it should do is piss me off in a way that I want to shut them all up."

From the limited number of times I spoke with him and from his teammates regard for him, I can confirm Jones isn’t a dumb guy. That doesn’t necessarily make life easier though. In 2016, Cyrus Jones’ brain got in the way. The Patriots need him to shut that thing off in 2017.