Wakeup Call: We won't hold it against you, New Orleans

714574.jpg

Wakeup Call: We won't hold it against you, New Orleans

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, February 5.

BASEBALL
Yankee fans may have turned on Alex Rodriguez, but Mariano Rivera says Yankee players haven't. (AP)

While you're enjoying today's parade, Baltimoreans, Adam Jones wants you to start preparing for another one in November. (CSN Baltimore)

Oakland made the Astros an offer they couldn't refuse . . . (CSN Houston)

. . . and, as a result, Jed Lowrie is now an A. (CSN Bay Area)

Pressure's on, Donnie Baseball. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

You may know Hawk Harrelson as the cheerleader in the White Sox broadcast booth. History will know him as the only man who ever fired Tony La Russa as manager . . . and he regrets that. (CSN Chicago)

Sergio Romo's in the clear. (AP)

Next stop on the Jonathan Sanchez Reclamation Tour: Pittsburgh. (Hardball Talk)

If you haven't pitched in going on four years, can you actually retire? (AP)

The Mets are talking to Scott Boras about Michael Bourn. Or not. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
One day after one of his brothers-in-law won the Super Bowl -- same day another one lost it -- Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers regained the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll. (AP)

In the women's poll, that honor still belongs to Baylor . . . (AP)

. . . though the UPS Team Performance Index continues to think UConn's the best. (AP)

The Ivy League season has barely begun, but the Princeton women are already looking ahead to the NCAAs. (AP)

Back on the men's side, No. 9 Syracuse put the clamps on No. 25 Notre Dame. (AP)

Remember that horrific fall North Carolina's P.J. Hairston took last week at Boston College? It's going to keep him out of tonight's game against Wake Forest. (AP)

Tragic news: An assistant coach on the Cal State Fullerton women's team and her fiancee were found murdered in their car outside their upscale condominium complex in Irvine, Calif., and police say they have no suspects or motive. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Guess that Auburn tattoo wasn't such a good idea after all. (AP)

Bret Bielema trots out his Brother Love Traveling Salvation Show routine for the good folks at Arkansas. (AP)

Cal agrees to pay Jeff Tedford 5.55 million to not coach the Bears. (AP)

Boise State suspends safety Lee Hightower and tight end Hayden Plinke for violating university rules. (AP)

HOCKEY
Looking forward to the Shawn ThorntonMike Rupp rematch? You'll have to wait awhile; the Rangers traded Rupp to the Wild, whom the Bruins don't play this year. (AP)

Caps' GM George McPhee shoots down the Roberto Luongo-to-Washington talk. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

So why, then, was Canucks GM Mike Gillis at the Capitals' game on Sunday? (CSN Washington)

The Sharks suffer their first regulation loss of the season. (AP)

It took a day, but Chris Kunitz finally got his fourth goal from Sunday's game. (AP)

The Red Wings will be without rookie Brendan Smith for the next 2-4 weeks, further depleting their defense corps. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
This is why they say "Buyer beware" when it comes to DeMarcus Cousins. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Memo to Michael Beasley: If you plan on driving a) with a suspended license and b) without plates or registration, don't go 71 in a 45-mph zone. (AP)

The Clippers, without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, lose to the Wizards, but Washington coach Randy Wittman is shedding no tears for L.A. (AP)

The Pacers beat the Bulls for their 14th consecutive home victory. (AP)

California native, and 49ers fan, Tyson Chandler lost his bet with teammate, and Ravens fan, Carmelo Anthony. So when he spoke to the media after his third straight 20-rebound game in the Knicks' win over the Pistons, he was wearing a Baltimore Super Bowl championship hat. (AP)

Talk about a lose-lose night: The Magic drop their 10th straight -- and become the only NBA team with multiple double-digit losing streaks this year -- in Philly's 78-61 victory, but the Sixers may be without leading rebounder Thaddeus Young, who strained his left hamstring, for the next two weeks. (AP)

Happy birthday, Linsanity. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
Turns out the power outage came as no surprise to Superdome officials. (AP)

But Roger Goodell says he's not going to hold it against New Orleans when it comes to scheduling future Super Bowls. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

My apologies, Beyonce, for suggesting otherwise. (Pro Football Talk)

Here are the five plays that turned the Super Bowl in the Ravens' favor. (CSN Baltimore)

Say what you will about Bernard Pollard, but playing most of the season with six cracked ribs? Wow. (Pro Football Talk)

MVP Joe Flacco starts hitting the late-night talk-show circuit. (AP)

The Ravens and 'Niners didn't have quite the ratings power of Patriots-Giants or Packers-Steelers. (AP)

As soon as the 49ers finish the 2013 season -- and then move into their new Santa Clara home -- the city of San Francisco is going to blow up the 'Stick. (Yahoo! Sports)

Our only question to the Lions: What took you so long? (AP)

But not to worry, Thaddeus Young. If this guy can find work in the NFL after getting out of jail, there's hope for you yet. (AP)

R.I.P., Walt Sweeney. (AP)

SOCCER
A match-fixing scandal is exploding in Europe, where 680 contests -- including some World Cup games -- are under investigation. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

FIFA says greater cooperation between law-enforcement agencies and sports' governinhg bodies will be required in order to fix the problem. (Pro Soccer Talk)

Scaramucci says Kraft gave Super Bowl LI ring to Trump

cp-trump-kraft-082117x.jpg

Scaramucci says Kraft gave Super Bowl LI ring to Trump

Anthony Scaramucci isn't afraid to say stuff. This time, it involves the Patriots. 

The outspoken former White House communications director follows over 180,000 Twitter accounts. One of them is @rslashpatriots, who asked about Robert Kraft's Super Bowl rings via direct message. 

Putin famously stole Kraft's Super Bowl XXXIX ring while Kraft was visiting Russia in 2005. According to Kraft, he took out the ring to show it to Putin, but Putin put it in his pocket and left without giving it back.

Now that Trump has Kraft's ring, Kraft theoretically only has three of a possible five Super Bowl rings now. Guessing he could get new ones made. 

Availability key for Rex Burkhead during transition to Patriots

patriots_rex_burkhead_081917.jpg

Availability key for Rex Burkhead during transition to Patriots

It can be difficult to pick up the Patriots offense even for players who are on the practice field on a daily basis. For those who aren't? They have some catching up to do. 

It remains to be seen just how much, if at all, that reality will impact how Patriots running backs are deployed moving forward.

Though Mike Gillislee was given what looked like typical "big back" responsibilities early in training camp when the pads were introduced -- he had back-to-back touchdown runs during one of the first goal-line periods of the summer -- he's hardly practiced at all since then, sidelined with a reported hamstring issue. 

During joint practices with the Texans last week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the difficulties that a new player faces when he's trying to learn a system and a new set of teammates without the benefits of practice time.

"Yeah, well that’s one of the challenges of training camp," Belichick said. "No pads in the spring so you only have so many padded practices and preseason games at this time of year. Each one that’s missed is an opportunity to improve on the field, but what we can’t do is let what we can do take away from what we can’t do.

"The things that we can do in terms of training or whatever drills or learning experience we can gain, we have to try to gain as much as we can. And then when the opportunity comes to do the things that we can’t do, we have to be able to take advantage of that. Look, this is not the first time a player has ever missed a practice in training camp, so let’s not act like this is an historical event. Every team deals with it every year, but you do the best you can with it. You work through that players individual circumstances and where your team is and you do the best that you can with the opportunities that you have."

Though there's plenty that Gillislee can do in terms of workouts and sitting in on meetings, contrast his situation with that of Rex Burkhead, and the difference in the number of on-the-field opportunities for the two players has been stark.

Burkhead has been present and on the field for the vast majority of Patriots training camp practices, and In Saturday's game against Houston, he saw 13 snaps, finishing with seven carries for 20 yards and three receptions for 50 yards. One of those catches went for a 22-yard touchdown where he freed himself from linebacker Zach Cunningham with a nifty move over the middle of the field. 

"Rex has missed very little time," Belichick said when asked about Burkhead's progress on Sunday. "He’s basically been out there every day and we’ve worked with him in all areas of the game that we think he can contribute in, which is all three downs offensively and the four phases of special teams that he’s been involved with, from Day 1."

Burkhead, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots this offseason after four years with the Bengals, has been used in a variety of roles, as Belichick alluded, including in hurry-up packages and on the goal line. His frame (5-foot-10, 210 pounds) and his skill set could make Burkhead a viable option as the team's "big back" should Gillislee miss time in the regular season. But he's also a more-than-capable pass-catcher, as he showed against the Texans. 

How he'll be used when the games matter remains to be seen, but he's available, and at this point that may be his most important quality.