Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall explains his retirement

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Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall will retire. Yes, at the tender age of 26. How’s that for a surprise to kick off NFL free agency?

UPDATE: Rashard Mendenhall explains his retirement decision to HuffPo

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter first reported this development. Mendenhall battled turf toe for much last season. When he finally got to be 100%, Mendenhall scored five touchdowns in his final eight games. Rashard Mendenhall was “kind of a big deal” coming out of Niles West high school. As a five-star prospect, he was rated the No. 1 recruit in the state of Illinois by Scout.com. He committed to Ron Turner and the Illini where re-wrote the Illinois single season rushing record book.

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College Hoops 101 (3/8/11)

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First off, let me say that I am rather disappointed with my lack of college basketball watching this season.  I did say that I was going with a “quality over quantity” approach this year and not watching a game for an eight-day stretch when I was covering the Packers in the Super Bowl did not help my numbers.  My goal this week is to watch all 15 Big East Tournament games (you can check out my preview/predictions for that tourney) and hit the 25-game mark this week.

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days.  Click here to check out my updated bracketology.

By: David Kay
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Christina Aguilera Screws Up Super Bowl 45 National Anthem (Video)

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Right before the Green Bay Packers won NFL gold, they heard Christina Aguilera, a bad stripper-resembling-celebrity with a golden voice butcher her chance to honor America.

The very attractive and often very slaggishly dressed Christina Aguilera messed up signing the national anthem at Super Bowl 45. The recently divorced, 30-year-old mother of one took the prime time stage at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

That’s right, she ever so slightly went Lt. Frank Drebin as Enrico Palazzo on us.

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Green Bay Packers Are 2011 Super Bowl Champions


The Lombardi Trophy is returning to Green Bay as the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. It’s the Packers fourth Super Bowl victory and 13th overall championship.

Welcome Aaron Rodgers to the class of NFL’s elite quarterbacks because his 304 yards and three touchdowns couldn’t have been on a bigger stage or against a better defense. For his historic performance, Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP.

As expected, the battle between the league’s two most historic and storied franchises was a thriller to the end. Fitting that the Packers came out on top after persevering through some costly injuries and mental miscues, much like they  did during the regular season.

By: Nick Grays

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Packers Woodson Aging Like Wine, Deserved Higher Spot Among Big 10 Icons

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Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson is making his second trip to the Super Bowl. As he makes his next trip to the NFL title game to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45, his play is aging like a fine wine.

And it’s fitting because Woodson is an oenophile who developed his interest in wine while playing for Oakland, near the world famous Napa Valley. He partnered with former Robert Mondavi winemaker Rick Ruiz to develop a signature wine label, “Twenty-four by Charles Woodson.” I’ll give you the whine to go with your cheese by saying Charles Woodson is number twenty on the Big Ten Icon’s top 50 student athletes. The list is based on their accomplishments during their collegiate years; there will be no consideration for his professional career, well maybe a little.

Woodson played college football at the University of Michigan for the Michigan Wolverines. In 1997, Woodson led the Wolverines to a national championship. He is the only player in the history of NCAA Division I-A football to win the Heisman Trophy as a primarily defensive player, edging out then University of Tennessee and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. The look of “are you kidding me” surprise on Peyton Manning’s face is one of the enduring images in the Heisman archives.

By West Lamy

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Super Bowl 45 Site, Cowboys Stadium: Behind the Scenes Tour!

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We finally have the match-up set for the 2010 NFL Championship. The Green Bay Packers will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45.

They’ll battle in Arlington, Texas at Cowboys Stadium a.k.a. “Jerry’s World,” “The House that Jerry Built,” “DeathStar,” “Boss Hog Bowl,” “Jones Town,” and “Jones-Mahal.”

The $1.2 Billion palace was financed mostly by Jerry Jones himself, although the taxpayers in the city of Arlington picked up a sizable chunk ($325 million). It costs $18 to take the tour that I experienced, and will now summarize here.

I was fortunate enough to get this behind the scenes tour as part of the Nike Football Media Summit 2010, a phenomenal event and product rollout taking place on the famous new field in Dallas.

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Just How Valuable is Maurkice Pouncey to the Steelers?

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Obviously, one of the big topics that everyone is talking about heading towards Super Bowl 45 is Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie pro-bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. It was made official this week that Pouncey will not play in the Super Bowl after weeks of…. will he play or won’t he play conjecture. A man that played in big games all the time when at Florida protecting Tim Tebow won’t be able to play in the NFL’s biggest game. He’s sidelined due to the high ankle sprain that he suffered during the AFC Championship game against the New York Jets two weeks ago.

But, just how big of a loss is the 6’4 and 304 pounder from the college of Florida? [Read more…]

Phil Simms Threatens to Fight Desmond Howard at Super Bowl

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As if this Super Bowl needed any more distractions to take focus away from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. We’ve had the #snOMG blizzard, Ines Sainz, Roethlisberger’s fake chance at “redemption” now we have a 7th grade style “I’m going to kick your ass,” tiff between two big time NFL journalists and former Super Bowl MVPs.

Apparently, Phil Simms, one of the biggest names in football media, really wants to fight Desmond Howard in Dallas. Now word yet if he wants to throw down at recess in the playground; or wait till after the school day ends and meet him where the buses line up.

Check out Desmond Howard’s tweets:

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VIDEO of Ben Roethlisberger Partying During Super Bowl Week

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During the week of Super Bowl XLV, Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was caught on video living it up at a local bar in Fort Worth, Tex.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Hey Look!!! Ines Sainz at Super Bowl Media Day!!!!!!!!!

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Today was Super Bowl Media Day, and Ines Sainz was there. You remember Ines Sainz, correct? The NFL journalist , no wait, media personality, actually, a ring girl or bikini model with a microphone who was sexually harassed by the New York Jets back in September?

What she lacks in actual talent and ability, she compensates for with painted on pants and the tendency to be a publicity hound. And today, when everyone was interviewing all the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, journalists were interviewing Sainz.

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Will Super Bowl Make Rashard Mendenhall Greatest Illini Rusher Ever?

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For the second year in a row, the Super Bowl will have a feature back from the University of Illinois. This time, the Illini tailback is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall;  who in 2008 became the first University of Illinois player taken in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1996.

14 years ago, UI produced the #2 (Kevin Hardy taken by Jacksonville) and #3 overall (Simeon Rice drafted by Arizona) picks. Hard to believe that team went 5-5-1. Mendenhall’s 4.45 forty time, ideal size at 5’11”, 225, a 33½ inch vertical, Shard has developed into a star in the NFL. The native of Skokie will burn by you, run through you and impress you with a last name that sounds like it should belong to a British aristocrat. Or perhaps the name of the English countryside mansion where that nobleman lives.

Mikel Leshoure is drawing all sorts of Mendenhall comparisons right now, as his draft stock is gaining serious momentum. But who are the other Illini rushers who made their presence felt in the NFL?

By Paul M. Banks

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Big 10 Alumni Aplenty in this Year’s Super Bowl

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The Big Ten Conference will be well-represented on Sunday, Feb. 6, in Super Bowl XLV with 18 former student-athletes and nine coaches with previous conference connections on the rosters of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Big Ten is the only conference to feature at least one former player from every institution in the Super Bowl. The Big Ten and the SEC (20 players) are the only conferences with 18 or more players on the two Super Bowl squads, followed by the ACC (14), Big 12 (13), MAC (13) and Pac-10 (10).

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