So Long, Seau

A busy Tuesday in local sports, despite not one of the local teams being in action last night…

Christopher L Gasper has a look at the Patriots placing Junior Seau on IR, ending his season and leaving them with a large hole to fill in the defense. Gasper cites an SI report from Michael Silver that says Seau had an altercation with Pepper Johnson a few weeks ago after Seau had deviated from a scripted defensive play. Albert Breer looks at the loss of Seau for the season, and what the options are for the Patriots to fill his position on the field. Alan Greenberg has more on how the loss of Seau will impact the Patriots going forward. David Brown says that Seau’s loss will mean some shuffling with need to be done at linebacker for the Patriots. Michael Parente examines how the roles of many will need to be adjusted in order to compensate for what Seau brought to the field. Christopher Price has more on Seau being placed on IR and has Tully Banta Cain ready to step up and play a bigger role.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card for this week, the running backs and receivers get the lowest grades because Felger takes turnovers “seriously.” Thank God for that. Ian Clark is even harder on the running backs, but his version of the report card reminds us that winning ugly is still winning.

John Tomase takes a look at the AFC playoff picture and what would need to happen for the Patriots to earn a bye. He breaks out the remaining schedules, noting that the Patriots have an easier stretch run than do the Ravens and Chargers.

Albert Breer examines how important it is for teams to really put it together after Thanksgiving. Tony Massarotti observes that the Patriots defense has been pretty good this season. Shalise Manza Young agrees with that assessment, turning to statistics to back it up.

We should have a Patriots Second Look posted sometime this morning on the Game Day page. Chad Finn offers up a First and 10 on Patriots/Bears.

Tomase’s notebook has more on the Patriots placing Seau on IR, ending his season and opening a roster spot. Gasper’s notebook has Bill Belichick praising his kicking game for their performance on Sunday. Young’s notebook has more on Seau’s season coming to an end. Parente’s notebook provides some good analysis on how Asante Samuel’s move to the left side on Sunday for the first time since last season yielded great results for him and the Patriots.

Jim Donaldson feels he is in a position to lecture Michael Vick about his “gesture” to the fans this weekend because he says he’s been in a similar situation many times, having to deal with abuse from “so-called fans.” Donaldson actually says at one point:

Unlike Vick, I bore substantial amounts of abuse stoically, never turning to look at whatever fool happened to be shouting obscene inanities. Consequently, I never had to apologize to those yahoos as Vick did yesterday in Atlanta. In a better world, the offensive fans also would apologize to him, but we know that'll never happen.

This has got to be a joke, right? The self-importance of some media members never fails to amaze me.

Celtics

Last Friday night Doc Rivers and the Celtics were booed by the fans. A look at the Atlantic Division standings show that Boston is tied for first place in the division. Is this possible? Yes, the once-proud Atlantic is that bad. The Celtics 5-8 record leaves them in a tie with Wednesday’s opponent, the New Jersey Nets for the top slot. Peter May observes that it just isn’t the Atlantic however, he notes that the whole Eastern conference seems to have gone south. Mark Murphy says that the Celtics are paying no attention to the standings, however. They realize that it is just plain silly to do so. While the standings may not be important at this phase of the season, Mike Petraglia notes that division and conference games still have meaning, as the Celtics look to improve on their shoddy record in the East from a year ago.

Bill Reynolds says that the Celtics problems go beyond Doc Rivers, and that things are going to get worse before they get better. Scott Souza reports that the sweat was flowing at Celtics practice yesterday as Rivers took advantage of the day off to work his club hard. May’s notebook looks at Kendrick Perkins getting a break from practice yesterday to rest a sore foot. Murphy’s notebook has Rivers talking about a growing disconnect between NBA players and coaches and the fans.

Red Sox

Gerry Callahan doesn’t understand the Red Sox fascination with J.D. Drew, who he tabs as a player not “suited” to play in Boston, someone not tough enough to handle the scrutiny of playing here and someone who will coast by with less then his best effort. He labels the potential signing a “big big mistake.” David Borges says that the Red Sox should instead be making a push to acquire Andruw Jones from Atlanta.

The signing of Drew could be a precursor to a trade of Manny Ramirez, Michael Silverman says. Gordon Edes adds that National League teams are getting into the bidding for Ramirez, as the Giants, Padres and Dodgers have all been interested parties. Jeff Goldberg also has a look at the speculation.

Silverman reports that Larry Lucchino has gone to Japan to talk to the Seibu Lions to see if some sort of “working agreement” can be arranged in order to get Daisuke Matsuzaka signed. Kevin Thomas looks at the waiting game on the Matsuzaka negotiations.

Get ready for plenty of these columns in the coming weeks. Bob Ryan says he will not be voting for Mark McGwire to make the Baseball Hall of Fame. However Ryan goes further than many reporters might as he explains that he was duped by the slugger:

I had read about Associated Press writer Steve Wilstein seeing the bottle of androstenedione in McGwire's locker, but I paid that story little attention. I just didn't follow up on it. Sorry. I do recall being struck by the size of McGwire's biceps and forearms during one of his news conferences, but I attributed that to weight training and went onto other matters.

Call that approach to the issue naive, and I won't argue. Call it ignorant, and I won't argue. Call it inexcusable and what am I supposed to say? It probably was. I'm neither cynical nor suspicious by nature, except when it comes to things people say. My long years of experience in this business have taught me that owners, administrators, coaches, and players far too frequently either lie or find nothing wrong with being laughably disingenuous. I must report to you that in the world of sport, honesty and candor are not exactly valued traits.

Bruins/Misc

Stephen Harris says that the Bruins rematch with the Maple Leafs tonight could be feisty. Fluto Shinzawa looks at the B’s recalling goaltender Hannu Toivonen from Providence. The stint in the minors is said to have been a positive thing for the young goalie. Harris’ notebook has more on the return of Toivonen.

The Globe has the obituary of Browns announcer Casey Coleman, the son of legendary Red Sox announcer Ken Coleman. He was one of the few in the Cleveland media who was friendly with Bill Belichick during his tenure there.

NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:30.

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