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Ryan Braun's Statement After His 50-Game Suspension Was Overturned

Ryan Braun had his suspension overturned Thursday. (AP photo)
Here is Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun's statement after having his 50-game suspension overturned tonight by a baseball arbitrator. It was the first successfully challenged drug-related case:

I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision.

It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. 

Dolphins Fans Strike First In Recruitment Of Colts QB Peyton Manning With Giant Billboard

A Peyton Manning billboard in Fort Lauderdale in Florida. (AP photo)
There are a host of fan bases that would love to add Colts star Peyton Manning to their team this offseason, but a group of Miami Dolphins fans made the first major recruitment pitch to the quarterback. As you can see from the billboard above, Miami fans definitely want Manning on the roster.

Their will be plenty of competition, however, if the Colts decide to let Manning go. The Arizona Cardinals could be a major player as well, with the New York Jets watching closely.

Jets Restructure Ferguson’s Contract, Still Need More Space To Make Free Agency Splash This Offseason

D'Brickashaw Ferguson restructured his contract. (AP photo)
The New York Jets gained some much-needed salary cap space today by restructuring D'Brickashaw Ferguson's contract. The Jets will free up $7.5 million this season by handing out a $9 million signing bonus to the offensive tackle. That can be spread over the final six years of his current contract.

Ferguson was scheduled to make a base salary of $9.985 million this season.

Cashman Says Yankees Played For Wild Card in 2010, Likes Proposed Extra Playoff Team Format

Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman prepare for another season. (AP photo)
As pitchers and catchers report to Yankees spring training today, general manager Brian Cashman, continuing his overly-honest approach that began last year, admitted the team played to win the wild card in the 2010 season. The Rays ended up winning the division, but had to face the Texas Rangers in the first round. The Yankees won the wild card and played the patsy Minnesota Twins.

"I felt we made the appropriate decision," Cashman said. "I won't say we gave it away because Tampa earned it, but we were willing to not win it if it meant putting ourselves in a better position to move forward in October."

The decision worked out in the opening round of the playoffs, as the Yankees blew past the Twins, while the Rays lost to the Rangers. The Yankees then lost to Texas in the American League Championship Series.

ESPN Chooses ‘Chink In The Armor’ For Headline After Lin, Knicks Lose

ESPN's terrible choice of a headline. (AP photo)
I'm not sure it gets any worse than this. ESPN published the headline "Chink in the Armor" to describe the Knicks losing to the Hornets Friday night on its mobile site. Of course, the team is led by Jeremy Lin, the first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.

"Chink" is a racial slur, for those that don't know. I'm not sure I can think of a more racist, and flat-out stupid, headline choice, especially for a company with the visibility of ESPN. The network apologized for the headline, but in the internet age, the headline will always be a click away.

Finally, Burnett Is Sent Packing To Pittsburgh, Now Raul Ibanez And Eric Chavez May Be On Deck For Yanks

A.J. Burnett is finally heading to Pittsburgh. (AP photo)
Finally, the Yankees have sent pitcher A.J. Burnett packing in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the Yankees didn't get much in return, this was more a classic case of addition by subtraction. Burnett would have come into spring training as the seventh starter, so there was no reason to keep him around.

Finding someone to take on the remaining money on Burnett's contract made this process a lot harder, but luckily the Pirates were in desperate need of a pitcher. And, of course, the Yankees had to pick up a majority of the money left - Pittsburgh will pay $13 million of the remaining $31.5 million of Burnett's deal.

Knicks Analysis: Jeremy Lin And Linsanity Are Here To Save The NBA

Jeremy Lin has everyone excited this season. (AP photo)
There's no secret to my utter dislike for what the NBA has become over the past decade or so. Long gone are the days when the New York Knicks had epic battles against the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, matchups that were all about which team you wanted to see win, and perhaps more fittingly, survive into the next round of the playoffs.

Nobody cared about who could jump the highest or dunk the loudest. It was all about rooting for one team over the other.

Today, the NBA has gone the way of individualism, with players more concerned about dunking their way onto a poster than setting up an open teammate for a 3-point shot.

Yankees Analysis: Yankees Invite Russell Branyan To Spring Training

Russell Branyan will get a shot to make the Yankees. (AP photo)
The Yankees signed a former power hitter Wednesday, and no it's not Hideki Matsui or Raul Ibanez. Russell Branyan has been invited to spring training, the Yankees announced. Branyan appears to have little shot to make the team, but anything can happen with a strong exhibition season.

Branyan played 68 games for the Angels last year, hitting .197 with five home runs and 14 RBI. Branyan is a career .232 hitter with 194 home runs. In 2009, the best season of his long career, Branyan batted .252 with 31 home runs and 76 RBI in 116 games.

Jets Analysis: Santonio Holmes Will Be Back With Jets, Hopefully With An Attitude-Adjustment (& Better Play)

Santonio Holmes will be back with the Jets next season. (AP photo)
Every Jets fan had already come to the conclusion that, despite what many had wanted, wide receiver and ultimate troublemaker Santonio Holmes would be back next season. So it wasn't a surprise that Holmes is still on the roster today, even though it means paying him $15.25 in guaranteed money.

If the Jets released Holmes before today they would have had to pay him $7.5 million to go away. Obviously, the Jets weren't about to swallow that big-money loss and will welcome back the man who was at the heart of the team's dysfunction at the end of the season. Remember, it was Holmes' shouting match with tackle Wayne Hunter in the huddle in the final minutes of a season-ending loss to the Miami Dolphins that exposed what had become of the Jets' team.

Giants Parade Will Be Tuesday

Victor Cruz and the Giants celebrate Tuesday in NYC. (AP photo)
The Giants will make their way through the Canyon of Heroes Tuesday morning with a ticker-tape parade, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday night. The parade will start at Battery Place and Washington Street starting at 11 a.m.

Giants Win Super Bowl: We Hand Out Game Balls After Giants Beat Patriots

We're handing out game balls after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots, 21-17, to win Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants are your world champions.

 The Game Balls 
Eli Manning celebrates the win. (AP photo)
* Eli Manning: There should be no argument about whether or not Manning is an elite quarterback. With his second Super Bowl title, and second Super Bowl MVP, Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in football. There's no question about it. Manning completed his first nine passes of the game, a Super Bowl record, and ended up 30-of-40 for 296 yards and a touchdown. But it was the biggest drive of the game where Manning proved how great he really is. Taking over at his own 12-yard line, Manning drove the Giants 88 yards in nine plays for a go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds to play. The play of the game was his perfectly-thrown ball on the sideline to Mario Manningham, who himself made an unbelievable catch, getting two feet in bounds and holding onto the ball with two Patriots' defenders on him. Manning led the Giants to 12 straight points after the Patriots took a 17-9 lead, clinching another world title. "It's been a wild game, a wild season," Manning said. "This isn't about one person. It's about one team, a team coming together."

Giants Win Super Bowl: Ahmad Bradshaw’s TD Could Have Cost Giants Super Bowl Victory

Ahmad Bradshaw scores the game-winning touchdown. (AP photo)
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw could have been the biggest goat in Super Bowl history - for scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the final moments. Bradshaw broke free up the middle against the Patriots defense and had a clear path to the end zone from six yards out. With Giants players screaming at him to take a knee at the one-yard line, Bradshaw turned and fell into the end zone.

Giants Win Super Bowl: Shades Of David Tyree, Mario Manningham Has His Super Moment Against Patriots

Mario Manningham makes an unbelievable catch. (AP photo)
First there was the David Tyree helmet-catch in Super Bowl 42, now there is Mario Manningham's tight-rope 38-yard sideline grab in Super Bowl 46. Both will be equally remembered as great plays in not only Giants history, but Super Bowl history as well.

With the Giants trailing 17-15 with 3:46 to go, Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw a sideline pass toward Manningham on the first play. Double-covered, Manningham, who just minutes earlier ran a poor sideline route that turned what would have been a big play into an incompletion, brought the ball in, held control and got two feet in bounds for the catch. After a long replay challenge, the catch was confirmed and the Giants were on their way to a comeback victory.

Giants Win Super Bowl: Eli Manning Proves Once And For All He Is Elite

Eli Manning is the Super Bowl MVP. (AP photo)
If there was any question as to whether or not Giants quarterback Eli Manning was indeed elite or not, it was emphatically answered in Super Bowl XLVI. Manning was simply outstanding in the game, leading the Giants to a 21-17 victory and world championship. But it was his play in the clutch that puts him in the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

Manning walked onto the field with 3:46 to play in the Super Bowl and down 17-15 with the ball at the Giants' 12. The first play was a perfectly thrown deep ball that dropped right into the waiting hands of Mario Manningham for 38 yards. Manningham made a play almost as spectacular as the David Tyree catch the last time these two teams played in the Super Bowl, getting both feet down and maintaining control for a huge play.

Super Bowl XLVI: Giants 21, Pats 17

Ahmad Bradshaw scores the game-winning touchdown. (AP photo)

Super Bowl XLVI Third Quarter Analysis: Giants Need To Put Pressure On Brady Or Patriots Will Be Champs

Aaron Hernandez scores for the Patriots. (AP photo)
Here's our quick Thoughts & Observations from the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI. The New England Patriots lead the New York Giants 17-15.

* If you read our halftime piece below, we mentioned two things the Giants had to do in the third quarter to slow the Patriots momentum - don't let Tom Brady drive the ball downfield for what would be back-to-back touchdowns and to defend tight end Aaron Hernandez. Well, the Giants did neither of those things. Brady completed 16 straight passes in the last drive of the second quarter and first of the third quarter and turned a 9-3 Giants lead into a 17-9 Patriots advantage. Hernandez? He caught the touchdown from Brady in the third quarter. Brady is 20-for-25 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Hernandez has caught six passes for 52 yards and a score. The Giants, still, have to slow those two players if they want to come back and win this game.

Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Analysis: Giants Dominate, But Patriots Lead

The Giants need more from Hakeem Nicks in the second half. (AP photo)
Here are our Thoughts & Observations from the first half of Super Bowl XLVI from Indianapolis. The New England Patriots lead the New York Giants 10-9.

* The 96-yard drive by the Patriots to take the lead at the half not only tied the record for longest drive in Super Bowl history, but could be the start of a New England run in the second half. The Patriots get the ball first in the third quarter, which means Tom Brady and company could go from down six to up eight in a matter of minutes (not counting the long halftime show, obviously.) The Giants need to respond with a big defensive effort after the break or the Patriots could take control of the game.

Peyton Manning Wants To Play For The Jets, He’s At Least Talked About It

Peyton Manning could be a free agent soon. (AP photo)
I may be reading too much into Bob Costas' interview with Archie and Olivia Manning during the NBC Super Bowl pregame show, but I believe Peyton Manning wants to play for the New York Jets. During the interview, Costas asked about Peyton and Eli Manning playing in the same city, stadium and market. Olivia said that both have talked about it and Eli joked that Peyton could stay in his spare bedroom.

It wasn't a serious question, but I sensed Olivia was giving a serious answer, and that she thought it might be a possibility. Archie was quick to jump in and say that he didn't know what was going to happen.

FOX 61 Is Pathetic For Its Embarrassing Decision To Show Manchester United-Chelsea On Tape Delay … Revolt, Connecticut

Just when you thought sports on television had reached a new level, where athletic events were aired live, no matter the time difference, we have the WTIC Fox affiliate in Connecticut. The embarrassing programmers decided to air the Manchester United-Chelsea English Premiere League soccer game on tape-delay. That's right, tape delay. In 2012.

So, in New York at this exact moment, at about 12:45 p.m., the game is in the 88th minute. In Connecticut, the game is in the 18th minute. Pathetic.

Super Bowl XLVI: Giants’ Website Sells Title Merchandise And Belichick Releases Tiquan Underwood

The Super Bowl is just hours away but there already is some interesting news coming out of both camps, and it's not good. Both the Giants and Patriots, teams that already aren't the most popular in the league, committed what easily could be considered personal fouls Saturday.

First, the Giants put on their website that they were indeed the world champions this season, selling merchandise for their "victory" over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. The headline on the main page, which you can see above, says "The Giants Are Super Bowl Champions" in all caps.

Jets News: Jets Great Curtis Martin Elected To Football Hall Of Fame

Curtis Martin is in the Hall. (AP photo)
Former New York Jets great Curtis Martin was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. The news may have come a year too late, but that doesn't take away from this moment. Martin was one of the key figures in turning the fortunes of the Jets as a franchise around. He rushed for 14,101 yards, fourth best all-time and added 90 touchdowns during his 11-year career.

"When I get awarded something like the Hall of Fame, it's almost foreign to me," Martin said. "This wasn't something I planned on doing. Football is something I did so I didn't end up jailed or dead. If you make up your mind to just do the right thing no matter what ... and you stick to it, which I did, this is how things can turn around. I feel as if my life turned around from what it used to be, and I think anyone has a chance."

Super Bowl XLVI: For Jets Fans, This Is What Hell Has To Feel Like

Jets fans have to live with rooting for Eli Manning. (AP photo)
The New England Patriots-New York Giants Super Bowl matchup this coming Sunday is being hyped as one of the greatest battles in the game's long and storied history. It's the rematch. It's great offense against great offense. It's Tom Brady against Eli Manning. It's Tom Coughlin against Bill Belichick.

It doesn't get any better than that, right? Right?

Well, if your allegiance lies with the New York Jets, this is nowhere near a dream matchup. It's a nightmare in every sense of the word.

Tool Concert Review From Mohegan Sun: Maynard, Tool Give Amazing Performance That Lived Up To Hype

  By Brad Carroll  
There's a very short list of rock bands that I would drop everything to go see live. So when one of those bands was playing Mohegan Sun Tuesday night, I made sure to be there. The band was Tool, one of the greatest rock bands of all time and one that I've never had the privilege of seeing in person.

That changed Tuesday night. To say I was excited for the show going in would be a giant understatement. Out of all the rock shows I've been to recently, this was the one that had me most pumped. And, thankfully, Tool didn't disappoint, rocking the entire arena with an epic 90-minute performance.

The first and obvious thing to check out during a Tool show, beyond simply listening to the music, is watching lead singer Maynard James Keenan work on stage. He's been known to play entire shows with his back turned to the audience, almost unwilling to be the typical front man of a major rock band.