Patriots release WR Chad Ochocinco

Posted June 08, 2012, at 8:18 p.m.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have released wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

The former Chad Johnson spent one unproductive season with the team, even though the Patriots went to the Super Bowl. He had 15 receptions for an 18.4-yard average and one touchdown, but rarely was a key part of the offense.

Ochocinco, who played 10 seasons for Cincinnati before joining the Patriots. In seven seasons, he had seven 1,000-yard receiving years and a high of 97 catches.

Ochocinco tweets Thursday: “Thoroughly enjoyed the oppurtunity to play for the “Patriot” organization… fans were … wicked awesome, I wish all of you the best…”

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says he is “in the process of gauging interest from potential teams.”

Rafferty named NCBWA New England top pitcher

STANDISH, Maine — Saint Joseph’s pitcher Chad Rafferty has added 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) NCAA Division III New England Pitcher of the Year honors to his growing list of accolades.

The junior righthander enjoyed one of the finest seasons ever recorded by a St. Joe’s pitcher this spring when he helped lead the Monks to a Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship, and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth, by going 10-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 68.1 innings.

Rafferty placed fourth in the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Year voting with 27 points.

Saints hire Freeh’s firm to conduct internal probe

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints have hired a firm run by former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct an internal investigation of the NFL club with the aim of getting to the bottom of allegations ranging from wire-tapping during games in the Superdome to the bounty scandal.

“Serious allegations have been made about our organization this offseason; we take these allegations very seriously,” Saints spokesman Greg Bensel wrote in an email.

Bensel says the hiring of the Freeh Group, first reported Friday by NBC’s Pro Football Talk, is part of Benson’s effort “to leave no stone unturned.”

Benson “has spared no expense to get to the bottom of these allegations,” Bensel said. “We have given the Freeh Group complete access to our team and all of the individuals who have been associated with” the alleged wrongdoing.

The Freeh Group’s initial focus is expected to be on wire-tapping allegations currently under investigation jointly by the Louisiana state police and the FBI.

LSU board approves pay for Jones, Chavis

BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU Board of Supervisors has approved a $1.1 million annual pay package for new men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones and a raise for football defensive coordinator John Chavis that will take his average annual pay to $1.1 million over the next three seasons.

The board, which met Friday, also approved pay changes for several other football assistants, including raises for running backs coach Frank Wilson and offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa, as well as a pay cut for quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe.

Wilson, also the recruiting coordinator, will earn $600,000 a year, while Studrawa will earn $500,000.

Chicago’s Ramirez gets replacement of lost gold medal

CHICAGO — Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez got a replacement for his lost gold medal that he earned with Cuba’s Olympic team at the 2004 Athens Games.

During a surprise presentation Friday, Ramirez was left emotional and momentarily speechless as he received another medal.

Fellow countryman Jose Contreras, the star of the White Sox’s 2005 World Series winner and currently on the Phillies’ DL, showed up during stretching and, with the team gathered in the outfield, handed Ramirez a box with the replacement medal in it.

The original medal had been lost or stolen while Ramirez and his wife were en route to Chicago before his first season with the White Sox in 2008. The White Sox eventually contacted the IOC and had a replacement medal made and shipped.

Heat-Celtics Game 6 draws big TV rating

BOSTON — The Miami Heat’s win to stay alive against the Boston Celtics has matched the highest television rating for an NBA playoff game on cable since records started being kept in 2003.

Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night on ESPN produced a 6.8 rating, the same as Sunday’s Game 4. The network said Friday that ratings for the series are up 40 percent from last year’s Western Conference finals on ESPN.

In Miami, the game had a 22.0 rating, the highest on cable for an NBA playoff game in the market since records started being kept in 2003.

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program.

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