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Former world champ refutes rumors that he’s “retired” from WWE

It had long been reported that Mark Henry was done wrestling within the confines of a WWE squared-circle. However, after an interview with Sports Illustrated, it appears the door isn’t exactly all the way shut.

“I am not retired,” said Henry to SI. “There is still a lot I can do.”

Here is where things to get tricky, as he talks a little bit more about his decision to, I guess, not retire, but go home:

“I love the WWE, I love the company, but I have two kids and they want me home,” said Henry. “They want me to see their recitals and sporting events, and I want to see them grow and evolve. My dad didn’t live with me when I was growing up, and he missed so much. I am not going to repeat that.”

Henry, who debuted in the WWE in 1996, spent most of the interview discussing some of his favorite memories and interactions he had during his 22-year run in the company. It is a good read and worth your time.

All of that being said, and it is very much only conjecture, but by Henry saying he’s not retired, it leaves the door open for a one-off here and there or possibly a goodbye match. Heck, with the Royal Rumble looming, the possibilities are endless. Again, only speculation.

Henry as held the (WWE version of the) ECW and World Heavyweight Championship belts one time a piece in his career.

USA Gymnastics says it will not fine McKayla Maroney if she speaks out against team doctor

USA Gymnastics said Tuesday evening it will not fine gymnast McKayla Maroney if she speaks publicly about the alleged abuse by former team doctor Larry Nassar.

Maroney, who signed a nondisclosure agreement for $1.25 million with USA Gymnastics in in December 2016 in exchange for her silence, is currently suing USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Michigan State University with the claim that the nondisclosure agreement she signed after claiming Nassar molested her was illegal. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Chrissy Teigen offers to pay McKayla Maroney's possible $100K fine to speak out about team doctor

USA Gymnastics said in a statement it has not and will not seek retribution if Maroney speaks about alleged abuse by Nassar during his four-day sentencing.

As of Wednesday morning, Maroney was not expected to speak at Nassar’s sentencing.

"USA Gymnastics has not sought and will not seek any money from McKayla Maroney for her brave statements made in describing her victimization and abuse by Larry Nassar, nor for any victim impact statements she wants to make to Larry Nassar at this hearing or at any subsequent hearings related to his sentencing,” the statement to USA TODAY read. “This has been her right and USA Gymnastics encourages McKayla and anyone who has been abused to speak out. USA Gymnastics remains focused on our highest priority — the safety, health and well-being of our athletes and creating a culture that empowers and supports them."

In response to reports Tuesday that USA Gymnastics could fine Maroney up to $100,000 if she spoke out against Nassar at his sentencing like nearly 100 other alleged victims, model Chrissy Teigen offered to pay the fine.

>> Read more trending news 

“The entire principle of this should be fought – an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla,” Teigen wrote.

After Nassar pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct in November, his sentencing on seven sexual assault charges began Tuesday. 

The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State doctor is currently serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges.

Our hearts are with the legendary Bill Snyder, who has suffered a tragic loss

Matthew Snyder, grandson of Kansas State Wildcats legendary coach Bill Snyder, has passed away at the age of 22-years-old. Matthew is the son of Kansas State assistant coach Sean Snyder.

According to a report from The Mercury, an emergency medical call was placed on Wednesday. At the time of this writing, the details currently available are scant, as police have confirmed the death, but are not yet releasing any other information.

The university is expected to release a statement at some point on Thursday. It is not yet known to what extent — or via what medium — it will be.

Given the relationship between the entire Snyder family and the Kansas State community, this will touch many people beyond the football program. Bill Snyder, who coached this past season while battling cancer, has been coaching the program, off and on, since 1989. He, as well as his family, are a well documented pillar of the community.

As the story develops, we will keep you up to date if any relevant information comes to the surface.

Our thoughts go out to the entire Snyder family during this tragic time.

Former Tennessee coach finds new home with latest hiring

Former Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney has accepted the same position at East Carolina, according to College Football Talk.

Mahoney worked with the Vols under former head coach Butch Jones from 2013-16 and spent last season with a Div. II program in West Virginia.

“Don’s wealth of experience and expertise is synonymous with a foundation we need to have in place on the offensive side of the ball here,” a statement from head coach Scottie Montgomery said. “His background features a strong association of development and depth, two qualities which are crucial to the growth, balance and success of our unit.”

Mahoney had previously worked as an offensive line coach at Cincinnati (2010-12), Central Michigan (2007-09) and Tulane (1999-2006).

He began his career working as a graduate assistant with the Chippewas from 1993-94, before being promoted to tight ends coach in 1995.

Report: SEC won’t prevent Alabama from hiring maligned coach

In what is turning into a daily soap opera, a new report states the SEC won’t get in the Alabama Crimson Tide’s way of hiring Hugh Freeze.

On Wednesday, a report from Aaron Suttles of surfaced, stating a few major hurdles stood in the way of Nick Saban bringing over his guy to the program. The gist of the report was concernedAlabama’s need to have the SEC’s approval to make such a maneuver with its coaching staff.

However, CBS Sports college football insider Dennis Dodd is reporting something else.

By way of the CBS report:

“…saying the SEC does not have the ability to stand in the way of Saban hiring Freeze. While an SEC bylaw states a school is supposed to consult commissioner Greg Sankey when it wishes to hire an individual with major NCAA violations, the hiring decision is ultimately made by the school, not the conference.”

This appears to be verbiage semantics. The difference between “consult” and “approval.” Basically, at the end of the day, it is Alabama’s call, but if Freeze has major violations attached to his resume, the school is supposed to “consult” with Sankey — whatever that means.

Alabama has reportedly found its new offensive coordinator. If Freeze is brought in, it likely won’t be for that gig.

Big Ten coach makes history 95 years in the making

Chris Holtmann, in his first season with the Ohio State Buckeyes, is the first Big Ten coach to win his first seven league games in 95 years. He accomplished this feat on Wednesday night, after the Buckeyes defeated the underwhelming Northwestern Wildcats, 71-65.

Holtmann, who replaced Thad Matta during the offseason, is joining some neat, historical company. While Matta, the program’s all-time wins leader, might deserve his fair share of the credit for building the Buckeyes into something special, it is Holtmann who joins only two other Big Ten coaches to accomplish this milestone.

As mentioned, Holtmann is the third Big Ten coach to win his first seven conference games. For clarity, he joins Wisconsin’s Walter Meanwell (1911-12) and Iowa’s Sam Barry (1922-23) as the only coaches to have ever done such a thing. To put that in some other perspective, when Meanwell did it for the Badgers, the Big Ten was actually called the Big Nine.

This immediate growth under Holtmann is jarring. While most college basketball fanatics realized how great of a coach he is when he was manning the helm for the Butler Bulldogs, few predicted such a meteoric rise for Ohio State under his leadership.

Once, at best, presumed to be fighting for a spot in the NIT, not only are the Buckeyes atop league standings alongside the Purdue Boilermakers, it almost feels like Ohio State is a lock to go dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

The NFL could make a drastic decision to prevent national anthem protests next season

One of the biggest stories in the NFL over the past two seasons has had nothing to do with on-field play, but instead with players demonstrating in protest before games during the playing of the national anthem. The displays, sparked by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have spread across several teams and eventually became a major national story when President Donald Trump commented on the protests during a speech in September.

The NFL has reportedly been debating for months on how to handle the protests, and it looks like they might be close to reaching a decision. According to Jim Trotter of ESPN, the NFL may decide next season to keep players in the locker room during the pre-game playing of the national anthem.

I continue to hear from knowledgeable people that the league plans to keep players in the locker room next season during the playing of the National Anthem. — Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 18, 2018

No decision by the NFL has been official for next season. It is also unclear how much input the players would have in such a decision, or if there would be a league-wide reaction if any policy was thought of as unfair.

The NFL has become increasingly image conscious on the issue ever since President Trump made the remark that he would “fire” players that decided to demonstrate during the playing of the national anthem. The issue was amplified even more when John Schnatter, then CEO of Papa John’s, said that the demonstrations had affected profits for his company. Papa John’s is one of the NFL’s biggest advertising partners.

Schnatter has since stepped down from his position as CEO following the backlash of his comments.

Kaepernick, the man who originally started the demonstrations in the 2016 preseason, has remained unsigned by any NFL team since he was released following the end of the 2016 season. Kaepernick has continued to speak out on racial issues in the United States, which Kaepernick says was the reasoning for why he protested to begin with.

Former No. 1 overall pick could reportedly land deal in excess of $100 million

The Houston Texans are going to be in a bit of a pickle this offseason. They have their quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson and have some weapons around him on offense, but on the defense the Texans have some decisions to make. Former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney has a fifth-year team option that’s worth $13.8 million, but the team may not wait another year to give him a long-term contract.

According to the Houston Chronicle , new Texans GM Brian Gaine wants to make sure Clowney is taken care of and could offer him a deal as rich as Von Miller’s. He could become the highest paid player in the league — in the non-quarterback category. From the Chronicle’s report:

Clowney’s contract could exceed the six-year, $114.1 million contract of Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller. That deal includes $70 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $19.016 million.

Clowney has finally justified his No. 1 status and had an outstanding year with fellow pass rusher J.J. Watt out for much of the year with an injury. He recorded 20 tackles for loss as well as 9.5 sacks this past season and had 17 tackles for loss to go with six sacks in 2016.

[h/t Saturday Down South]

Two ESPN legends will reunite for special playoff appearance

Longtime ESPN NFL Primetime hosts Chris Berman and Tom Jackson will reunite for a special addition of the show on Sunday, a day shy of the one-year anniversary in which the network’s NFL studio was renamed in their honor, according to ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer.

Chris Berman and @TomJackson57 will reunite on ESPN's NFL PrimeTime this Sunday, a day shy of the one-year anniversary of our NFL studio being renamed in their honor. #TBT — bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) January 18, 2018

The duo began working together during the show’s launch in 1987 and continued until Jackson’s retirement from broadcasting in 2016.

NFL Primetime has served as a staple for ESPN’s roundup coverage of the league’s games on Sunday nights for more than 30 seasons.

Berman, who retired 12 months ago, is also expected to have an undetermined role in ESPN’s coverage leading up to the Super Bowl, according to Awful Announcing.

The veteran broadcasters will also be joined by former Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown analyst Keyshawn Johnson.

The special addition of Primetime will air live on ESPN following the NFC Championship Game, which is expected to be around 10 p.m. EST.

Alabama has reportedly found its new offensive coordinator

The Alabama Crimson Tide reportedly have a new offensive coordinator, and head coach Nick Saban didn’t even need to look outside his staff to find someone to replace Brian Daboll.

According to FootballScoop, Alabama is expected to go with Mike Locksley as the team’s new offensive coordinator. BamaOnLine has also sent out a report of its own, stating that this news is true.

It has been reported that Saban was meeting with Hugh Freeze about potentially joining the staff, but there’s clear obstacles in the way of him even getting a job, nevertheless landing one as important as offensive coordinator.

Locksley does bring a ton of experience with him. Prior to the Bama gig, he spent four seasons as an offensive coordinator at Illinois from 2005 to 2008. Not to mention another four seasons as Maryland’s offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2015.

Let us not forget that he was the head coach of New Mexico from 2009-2011, too. In three seasons as a head coach, it wasn’t pretty, as his overall record was 2-26. He managed to have a short stint with Maryland manning the helm in an interim roll, going 1-5 in 2015.

Locksley has spent the last two seasons with Alabama, serving as the receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator in the 2017 season.

The Crimson Tide loss Daboll after the National Championship game. He decided to take a gig with the Buffalo Bills.

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