Jose Canseco Goes Down Swinging; A Bad Day for Big 10 Coaches

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Today in sports: Jose Canseco is appealing his suspension from the Mexican Baseball League, Peyton Manning pays a visit to Denver, and Jonathan Papelbon takes a final shot at Boston baseball fans.

Roving troublemaker Jose Canseco is "holed up in a Cancun Radisson" after his latest comeback attempt with the Quintana Roo Tigers of the Mexican Baseball League was thwarted. The reasons for Canseco's departure are contested: Mexican League president Plinio Escalante says Canseco admitted to taking testosterone, a banned substance, and refused to take a drug test, which led to him being suspended. Canseco concedes he never took the test and that he's been taking testosterone, but insists Escalante suspended him based on "false information." He's appealed the ruling, which will almost certainly not be overturned, but insists he's still going to play somewhere this season. In the meantime, he's biding his time on Twitter, pledging that when he "who lied about me to the media I am going to drag you around the streets of Mexico by your hair and feed you to the dogs." Always with the sweet talk, that Jose Canseco.  [New York Daily News]

According to a Yahoo Sports report, the FBI is investigating suspended Auburn University point guard Varez Ward in connection "an ongoing point-shaving probe" that began last month. (For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of point shaving, The Atlantic Wire offered a nifty explainer last spring after two University of San Diego players and a former assistant coach were charged with running an illegal sports betting operation.) Sources close to the Auburn investigation say the school first "became aware of possible point-shaving when a player raised concerns with an assistant coach" in late-February, and relayed the player's concerns to the FBI and NCAA. Ward and guard Chris Denson were both suspended prior to the team's February 25 game against Arkansas, and sources say Ward was also questioned as part of the investigation, but was cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated after the Arkansas game.   [Yahoo Sports]

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Peyton Manning is in Denver today, which is leading some to speculate -- not unreasonably -- that he might be interested in signing with the Broncos. Could be! Manning's arrival would push Tim Tebow out of the starting lineup, and knock his jealous, jealous backup Brady Quinn down to the third string. [Denver Post]

The University of Illinois has fired men's basketball coach Bruce Weber after nine seasons. Under Weber the team had a record of 201-101 and played in the national championship game in 2005, narrowly losing to North Carolina. But over the past six years, the team missed the NCAA tournament three times, and only mustered one tournament win. After a promising 15-0 start, this year's squad imploded, losing 12 of their final 14 games, and Weber's postgame news conferences increasingly became sad and searching occasions.  Weber is the third Illinois coach in six months to be fired by athletic director Mike Thomas, who also dismissed Along with football coach Ron Zook and  women's basketball coach Jolette Law. All told, the combined buyouts will cost the school more than $7 million.  [Chicago Sun-Times]

Weber was not the only member of the Big 10 coaching fraternity ousted Friday. Nebraska's scheduled to hold a later-afternoon press conference to announce that Doc Sadler has been fired after six seasons, and with a hefty $3.4 million left on his contract. [ESPN]

Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon has yet to pitch a single regular season inning as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, but he's already come to the conclusion that the fans in Philadelphia "know the game a little better" than the folks in Boston who are "a little bit more hysterical" when it comes to silly little things, like Jonathan Papelbon's habit of letting two batters reach base before finally closing the door in the 9th inning of a tight game. What he says may be entirely true, but it feels like the kind of thing Elisabeth Moss would say if she left a ballclub via free agency. [CBS Philly]

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