Morning Sports Update

‘Everybody has an opinion’: Mac Jones was asked about being labeled a ‘dirty player’

"Obviously I have respect for everyone around the league."

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New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) passes during the second half of an NFL football game Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Bruins defeated the Devils 3-1 on Wednesday, with defenseman Hampus Lindholm notching a pair of assists.

The Celtics face the Clippers tonight (7:30 p.m.) at TD Garden.

And the Patriots continue to prepare for a crucial matchup with the Dolphins on Sunday (1 p.m.) at Gillette Stadium.

Mac Jones’s response to accusations of being a dirty player: During the Patriots’ loss to the Bengals on Sunday, Mac Jones drew criticism for diving at the feet of Cincinnati cornerback Eli Apple during a fumble return (negated later by an incompletion ruling).

After the game, Apple expressed his frustration.

“He tripped me,” Apple said. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before. I’ve seen it.”


Apple was potentially referencing another instance in which Jones has been accused of a dirty play, during a 2021 game against the Panthers when he twisted the ankle of Carolina defensive end Brian Burns.

Jones initially addressed the incident with Apple during a WEEI interview earlier this week, noting that he was simply trying to allow teammate Tyquan Thornton a better chance to make a tackle, explaining that he “just kind of went down in front of [Apple] and tried to stop a fast guy from getting to another fast guy.”

On Wednesday, Jones was again asked about the moment during a press availability with team reporters.

“Everybody has an opinion,” Jones said when asked about being labeled a “dirty player” following Sunday’s game. “The biggest thing for me is just: Focus on being the best teammate I can be and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about.

“Obviously I have respect for everyone around the league,” Jones added. “It takes a lot to get to this league. I know there’s really good players out there and we’re all playing hard and trying to win. So at the end of the day you have to keep that in mind. It’s a game. You want to just have fun and enjoy it and compete against each other. That’s something that I’ve always done and I know my teammates appreciate that about me.”


Asked later on if he would appeal the reported fine given to him by the NFL, Jones didn’t address the matter directly.

“Really just focused on this week and let everybody else handle that stuff for me,” he replied.

The Patriots playoff hopes rest on beating the Dolphins this weekend, and then defeating the Bills in Buffalo in Week 18.

Trivia: Eli Apple was one of three Ohio State players selected in the top-10 of the 2016 NFL Draft. Can you name the other two?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Defensive end, running back.

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Goaltenders trading elite saves: Both Linus Ullmark of the Bruins and Vitek Vanecek of the Devils made some exceptional blocks in Wednesday’s game.

Here’s Ullmark:

And here’s Vanecek:

The beautiful game: Football, indeed. North Carolina ended up losing the Holiday Bowl to Oregon in a dramatic finish, 28-27.

On this day: In 1958, the Celtics defeated the Syracuse Nationals 107-105 behind star performances from Bob Cousy and Bill Russell to up the team’s winning streak to 11 games in a row.

Cousy finished with a triple-double (24 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists), while Russell pulled down 33 rebounds (and five assists) to accompany 28 points.

Boston Globe 1958: Bill Russell and Bob Cousy lead Celtics past Nationals.

Daily highlight: Bol Bol with one of the more impressive dunks of the season in a Magic loss to the Pistons on Wednesday.

Trivia answer: Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott


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