Wakeup Call: It's a devil of a time for Ray Lewis

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Wakeup Call: It's a devil of a time for Ray Lewis

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, January 31:

BASEBALL
MLB plans to interview all the players mentioned in the Miami New Times story about PED use, which could lead to suspensions for A-Rod, Gio, et al. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Joe Torre would have loved to have Andy Pettitte pitch for him again -- this time in the World Baseball Classic -- but Pettitte, perhaps influenced the Yankees' strong desire to protect his increasingly fragile health, said no. (Hardball Talk)

Um, Yanks? There are players out there under the age of 35, you know. And we don't just mean Kevin Youkilis. (AP)

There once was a time when Jose Contreras wouldn't have been such a welcome figure returning for a visit to Cuba. (AP)

Chase Headley gets rewarded for his breakout year with an 8.575 million contract. (AP)

Old friend Bill Hall lands on his feet again. (Hardball Talk)

As does old friend Andy LaRoche. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
It's so far, so good for Michigan as the nation's No. 1 team. (AP)

UCLA's upset over then-No. 6 Arizona seems far, far away now that the Bruins have lost two straight, including last night's overtime defeat, at home, at the hands of archrival USC. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

Miami? Unbeaten in the ACC? Really? (AP)

Indiana hands Purdue its worst home loss ever. (AP)

Stanford just has it in for Oregon, doesn't it? (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Dr. Phil's convinced: 1) Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was "deeply, romantically in love" with Manti Te'o; 2) Tuiasosopo concocted all the phony dead girlfriend stuff on his own, and 3) Te'o was a "victim" who had nothing to do with the hoax. (AP)

Jimmy Franklin tells Nicky Saban he's sorry. (AP)

Let me get this straight: The Big 12 wants to have a conference championship game but can't because -- despite its name -- it doesn't have 12 teams. So now it's going to ask the NCAA for permission to have one anyway. (AP)

No new trial for you, Sandusky. (AP)

GOLF
Deer-antler spray? Yeah, says Vijay Singh, I've done that . . . but I didn't know it was illegal. (AP)

HOCKEY
Can't win 'em all, right, Blackhawks? Although in the NHL, do shootout losses feel like real defeats? (CSN Chicago)

The Canadiens' four-game winning streak is over, thanks to the Senators. (AP)

Bobby Loo gets his first win of the season, and a shutout to boot, as the Canucks blank the Avalanche. (AP)

The Sabres' Patrick Kaleta will miss Buffalo's game against the Bruins tonight because of a neck injury he suffered Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. (AP)

And the Rangers' Ryan Callahan may miss as many as six games because of a shoulder injury that will sideline him for about two weeks. (AP)

Islanders forward Colin McDonald gets a two-game "vacation", courtesy of the NHL's discipline department, for boarding the Penguins' Ben Lovejoy. (AP)

The latest on trade updates in L.A.: Andrei Loktionov still wants out, but Jonathan Bernier's changed his mind. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

If you really believe this, Hasso, you ought to sit down with Jeremy Jacobs for a few. (CSN Bay Area)

Looks like the Coyotes' ownership mess isn't settled, after all. (AP)

Athletes aren't the only ones who can make jackasses of themselves -- and get punished for things they say -- on Twitter. (CSN Washington)

PRO BASKETBALL
Because the Heat won their championship in a lockout-shortened season, the Nets' Reggie Evans sniffed that it "doesn't prove nothing." Sufficiently riled, Miami went out and proved something in, and to, Brooklyn. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Just when things were gong so well for the Lakers . . . (AP)

To make matters worse -- much worse, perhaps -- Dwight Howard re-injures his shoulder. (Pro Basketball Talk)

And then there's the ongoing Pau GasolMike D'Antoni melodrama. (Pro Basketball Talk)

'Melo sets a Knicks franchise record with his 30th straight 20-point game in New York's win over the Magic. (AP)

That's nine in a row for the Spurs. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Ray Lewis says the report linking him to performance-enhancers, including deer-antler spray, is a "trick of the devil". (AP)

Because there haven't been enough deer-antlerI'm-the-best-receiver-ever distractions at this Super Bowl, 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver goes all Fred Flintstone on the topic of having a gay teammate. It led to swift condemnation from his team and one of the most unique "apologies" -- "The deregatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of the thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel . . . I pledge to learn and grow from this experience" -- I've ever seen. (CSN Bay Area)

Justin Smith's playing with half-an-arm -- figuratively, that is -- and will have surgery immediately after the Super Bowl, but he says he's not retiring. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens want nothing to do with the Lombardi Trophy until they win it. (AP)

The FBI says there are no credible terror threats for this year's Super Bowl and "there is no safer place to be this week than the city of New Orleans." (AP)

Brett Favre's been out of the spotlight long enough, so he's going to work for the NFL Network this week. (AP)

Jerome Boger's been picked as the referee for the Super Bowl. (AP)

Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is arrested on domestic assault charges. (AP)

TENNIS
First Sloane Stephens beats Serena Williams in the Australian Open. Then she takes her spot on the U.S. Fed Cup team . . . though it's probably because Williams has a bad back. (AP)

This Rafael Nadal comeback isn't going very smoothly, is it? (AP)

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

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Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

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PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

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