The Red Sox got a little bit of business done yesterday, meeting with Pedro Martinez in an airport terminal, and also signing former Diamondbacks closer Matt Mantei to a one year deal. Gordon Edes reports on both events. Interesting is the comment by David Ortiz regarding Pedro: “He ain’t going to no Mets”. Jeff Horrigan also reports on the meeting, and says there was no clear indication from Pedro about what he intends to do. David Heuschkel looks at the challenges facing Theo Epstein as he prepares to assemble his third Red Sox club. Lenny Megliola talks with Sean McDonough, who says that NESN and the Sox ripped his heart out by not bringing him back to broadcast games. Megliola says that McDonough was on the verge of tears while discussing this issue. Count me as a fan of McDonough as an announcer, and I think it’s too bad he’s out after 17 years of calling Red Sox games. Horrigan’s notebook has more on the signing of Mantei. Heuschkel also has a bit looking at the Red Sox priorities.

Before the winning streak started last year, Nick Cafardo used to like to refer to Bill Belichick’s career .500 record as a head coach. I think he’s found a new stat to trumpet, 5-13. That’s Belichick’s record with the Patriots before Tom Brady became the starter. Of course, that 5-13 record was compiled with Nick’s boy Drew Bledsoe at QB, so perhaps the worm has turned a bit in that regard. Nick’s piece today is a look at whether Brady is actually in a slump the last few games. Alan Greenberg looks at the improvement in Ty Warren over his rookie year, answering the critics who had already labeled him a first year bust. (Say hello, Ron.) Michael Felger and Tom E Curran look at the Patriots using their preseason loss to the Bengals as motivation for this Sunday’s rematch. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots only care about that preseason game because they lost. It means nothing to the Bengals. Chris Kennedy says that Marvin Lewis knows something about the pressure of trying to repeat as a Super Bowl champion. Mike Reiss has Belichick remembering Bengals founder Paul Brown. Karen Guregian has Corey Dillon downplaying his meeting with his old teammates. Christopher Price says the Patriots need to take care of the ball against the Bengals.

Cafardo’s notebook tackles another one of his favorite topics…contracts…this time looking at why Adam Vinatieri is still without a new deal from the Patriots. Felger’s notebook says that Tyrone Poole may not get his starting job back when he returns, thanks to the strong play of Randall Gay. Curran’s notebook has more from Belichick on Paul Brown. Parente’s notebook has Tom Brady unconcerned about his “slump”. Reiss’ notebook says that the Patriots and Bengals have different views on that August preseason game.

Jackie MacMullan has a terrific article this morning looking at Red Auerbach sitting down with the four Celtics rookies, who have bonded and become close friends, all living in the same complex. Auerbach has words of advice and wisdom for the youngsters, who collectively could hold a big key to the future of the team. Steve Bulpett has a follow up on his piece from yesterday. Gary Payton’s words were apparently well received by coach Doc Rivers, who was careful to also defend Paul Pierce, however. Shira Springer has Rivers emphasizing the need for the Celtics to get better on defense. Lenny Megliola wonders if Pierce is suffering from a seven-year itch and wouldn’t be better off being traded by the Celtics. Buddy Thomas says that Pierce is the Celtics star and go-to guy only in his own eyes. Bulpett’s notebook has Pierce laid up with a 104 degree fever.

John Molori’s Media Blitz details the reasons why the Morning Sports Brawl was canned by 1510 the Zone. He gets some interesting quotes in here from the people involved and in the industry, and speculates that Kevin Winter was fired as well.

TNT has Celtics/Blazers at 10:30. Spurs/Rockets is just prior to that game at 8:00 on the same network. ESPN has TCU/Kansas at 9:00 and ESPN2 will have Connecticut/UMass at 9:00.