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Truth & Rumors: Dec. 6, 2004

Posted: Monday December 6, 2004 12:14PM; Updated: Monday December 6, 2004 4:22PM
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MLB

Baseball's Hot Stove is heating up with a flurry of rumors and gossip. To keep you up-to-date, we've created a special edition of Hot Stove Truth & Rumors.

NFL

Ozzie Newsome
Will Ozzie Newsome return to Cleveland -- in the Browns' front office?
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Jim Brown said Sunday he'll try to lure fellow Browns Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome away from the Ravens to run the Browns. Brown said he hasn't yet spoken to Newsome about taking the job, "but I've just kind of talked to some of his friends just to know how he feels about Cleveland -- and he really likes Cleveland," Brown said. Brown, who is helping Browns owner Randy Lerner conduct his search for a GM and coach, said he's also high on Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of player personnel under Newsome. 
 -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

``I'm really not allowed to say anything for four or five weeks, but the Cleveland job is something like what I've been waiting for,'' Savage said. Getting Newsome might require compensation in the form of draft picks unless the league office can convince Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti otherwise.
 -- Akron Beacon Journal

Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was on display for Lerner yesterday, but Weis also is on a short list of candidates for the Notre Dame job.
  -- Boston Globe

Lions owner William Clay Ford wants to sign president Matt Millen to a contract that will keep him with the franchise beyond the NFL's 2005 season, when his current agreement expires.
 -- Detroit News

Millen and Ford denied rumors that Millen might be leaving the Lions at the end of the season -- by his choice or Ford's -- even though he has a year left on his five-year contract. There has been speculation Millen would prefer to spend more time at his family home in Pennsylvania and that Ford might be growing impatient with the pace of the rebuilding program, now in its fourth year.
 -- Detroit Free Press

Many Dolphins wouldn't mind seeing the interim tag removed from coach Jim Bates' title. In only a short time, Bates has earned the respect of many players. -- Miami Herald

The hot rumor on campus at Stanford University has Ravens consultant Jim Fassel becoming the next coach of the Cardinal.
 -- Baltimore Sun

The 10th season of Mike Shanahan in Denver seems doomed to end the same disappointing way as his previous five years. Notre Dame needs to start acting like an elite football program that's willing to pay the price for success. Shanahan could use a new challenge and gratification that money can't buy.
 -- Denver Post

49ers' coach Dennis Erickson has a strong relationship with co-owner John York, and predictions of Erickson's firing are premature. However, Erickson could possibly walk away on his own after this season. The unending losses have caused rifts within the team, including one between Erickson and GM Terry Donahue; neither has confidence that the other knows how to get the team turned around.
 -- San Francisco Chronicle

For the first time on Sunday, running back Larry Johnson was everything the Chiefs hoped when they made him their first-round draft pick last year. Johnson has been dejected almost from the day he joined them. He was stuck behind Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock and wished for a trade the Chiefs explored but couldn't make happen. Suddenly, the Chiefs have reason to be happy they failed. Johnson now looks like more-than-capable insurance for Holmes if Blaylock, his contract about to expire, leaves as a free agent.
 -- Kansas City Star

John Abraham, enjoying a career year, will have an MRI exam today to determine the severity of his sprained right knee. Abraham was hurt in the second quarter of the Jets' 29-7 victory over the Texans yesterday.
 -- New York Daily News

Vikings coach Mike Tice said after the game that Antonio Winfield might have suffered a high ankle sprain.
 -- St. Paul Pioneer Press

It appears better than 50-50 that quarterback Chris Chandler and running back Steven Jackson both will start for the Rams next Sunday at Carolina. Although Marc Bulger's injury isn't serious, team officials indicated that it's worse than a similar bruised shoulder he suffered Oct. 24 in Miami.
 -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

NBA

Jason Kidd returns to the court tonight as a Net, but for how long? "I think he has a great future with the Nets," Nets owner Bruce Ratner said. "That is my hope." Asked about speculation that Kidd could be traded. Ratner said, "It is not something I really [want to talk about.]" With Kidd's return, it figures that Nets president Rod Thorn's phone could start ringing from Dallas, Minnesota, Portland and Denver, all looking to barter.
 -- New York Post

Shareef Abdur-Rahim remains the Trail Blazer drawing the most interest from other teams. The Bulls need to put together a package quickly to make a run at Abdur-Rahim, a power forward who could complement Eddy Curry and thus provide a reason to keep Curry.
 -- Chicago Tribune

The Lakers' Kareem Rush could be heading to the Bobcats, trading the shadow of Kobe Bryant for Jason Hart's starting job. Rush is also sought by the Nuggets. The Lakers could bring back guard Tony Bobbitt, the final player cut in training camp, once the trade is completed. The Bobcats waived guard Eddie House, reportedly to create a roster spot for Rush.
 -- Los Angeles Daily News

The Bobcats would receive the Lakers' second-round pick next June and another future second-rounder.
 -- Orange County Register

The Nets have no interest in House, who had been shopped for two weeks before the Bobcats cut him.
 -- Newark Star-Ledger

House is averaging more points than any of the shooting guards trying to replace Voshon Lenard. It's no wonder the Nuggets are interested in him.
  -- Rocky Mountain News

Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik hopes to add a third point guard soon. Candidates include free agents Anthony Goldwire, Doug Overton and House.
  -- Denver Post

The Knicks, with a roster spot open after Eddie Robinson failed his physical, could use another jump-shooting shooting guard.
 -- New York Post

Five NBA coaches most likely to be on the hot seat if they don't win big this season:
1. Jeff Bzdelik, Nuggets. GM Kiki Vandeweghe wants the team to run, but Bzdelik is an old-school coach who believes in defense first. Vandeweghe will ultimately win this battle.
2. Lenny Wilkens, Knicks. The history is proof that Isiah Thomas isn't afraid to make moves. If the Knicks ever go in a funk, he could name himself GM and coach.
3. Maurice Cheeks, Trail Blazers. This team is loaded with talent, but again underachieving. Some wonder if Cheeks is tough enough on his players.
4. Don Nelson, Mavericks. Mark Cuban won't stand for another up-and-down season and an early flameout in the playoffs. Nellie should think twice about letting Avery Johnson coach for him again.
5. Scott Skiles, Bulls. The Bulls are no better now than when Skiles took over last winter, and to make matters worse the young talent seems to be regressing.
 -- Florida Today

NHL

Coyotes player rep Shane Doan said of the players new proposal, "There is a significant move in a lot of areas, not just the luxury tax, but the salaries of players. It's a great offer. You'll probably find a lot of players who think we're giving too much now. This proposal answers all their questions, does everything they say they wanted. They wanted a drag on salaries, they wanted the average salary to come down -- it's all there. The only things not in there are giving up guaranteed contracts and the salary cap. Those are the only things we haven't given them."
 -- TSN.ca

Expect the owners  who accepted the players' invitation to meet merely to bolster their defense against a potential union charge of unfair labor practice and bad-faith bargaining  to summarily reject the NHLPA proposal. Expect the commissioner or his spokesmen to repeat that the two sides are still not talking the same language. And then the league and its advising attorneys will begin to implement the final stages of their strategy. There isn't going to be an agreement, negotiation or any hint of compromise because that isn't consistent with the Board's plan to break the union and impose a punitive hard cap on a league that not only has no need for one, but whose adoption would immediately destroy the fabric of the pro game.
 -- New York Post

Red Wing forward Brendan Shanahan will convene a group of as many as 20 experienced hockey people in Toronto this week to examine how the game can be improved. Shanahan won't reveal the identity of the group members who are expected to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, but it's believed Canadiens GM Bob Gainey and Lightning coach John Tortorella will be present. 
 -- Sportsnet.ca

Not everyone is onside with what Shanahan and his group are trying to do. A source said the timing of this meeting stinks, saying, "There is no authority here and all this meeting is going to do is cause problems," an opinion based on the fact Team Shanahan will meet just two days prior to the NHL's meeting with the NHLPA. "Management and head coaches should not attend," the source adds. 
  -- Sportsnet.ca

If the locked-out NHL isn't going to compete for the Stanley Cup this season, the Cup should go back to being awarded to the best team in Canada, say three fans who have launched a campaign to Free Stanley. Michael Payne, Mark Suits and Tom Thurston say if the NHL can't resolve its labor dispute, the silver mug should once again be a challenge trophy open to any team up to the task. The trio has launched a Web site (www.freestanley.com) which outlines their mission and the rationale behind their proposal.
 -- Canadian Press

Panthers GM Mike Keenan said he would not release forward Nathan Horton from his San Antonio AHL duty to play for the Canada in the World Junior Championships before Dec. 20. The Canadian team will issue invitations today for their five-day training camp beginning Sunday. A Canadian junior team policy states that no player can join the club after the selection camp begins.
 -- Globe & Mail

Soccer

Ryan Giggs' performance on Saturday -- a master class in dribbling, dummying and crossing in Manchester United's 3-0 win over Southampton -- came in the wake of headlines about Giggs supposedly being poised for a January move to Newcastle. Denied almost immediately, it proved the sort of story which leaves conspiracy theorists wondering whether it was leaked to concentrate Giggs's mind on United's offer of a one-year contract extension -- featuring a reduced, performance-related salary -- a document the distinctly underwhelmed 31-year-old has hitherto refused to sign.
 -- The Guardian (UK)

Ruud van Nistelrooy is definitely out of Manchester United's Champions League clash against Fenerbahce on Wednesday, after sitting out Saturday's victory with a calf injury.
 -- The Daily Mail (UK)

David Beckham is confident he will be fit for Real Madrid's crucial Champions League match against Roma on Wednesday night. The England captain was substituted after 65 minutes of Real's match last night after aggravating a foot injury.
 -- The Daily Mail (UK)

Glenn Hoddle's agent this afternoon denied that the former Southampton and England manager has been invited to return to Southampton. 
  -- The Guardian (UK)

Baseball's Hot Stove is heating up with a flurry of rumors and gossip. To keep you up-to-date, we've created a special edition of Hot Stove Truth & Rumors.

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