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Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: July 16, 2011 8:37 am
Edited on: July 17, 2011 12:20 am
 

NFL denies report Hall of Fame Game is canceled

Posted by Will Brinson

Many folks -- ourselves included -- believe the Hall of Fame Game featuring the Rams and Bears will be the first victim of the lockout, which we think is near death. (In fact, CBSSports.com's Clark Judge recently urged the NFL to cancel the game, just to make things easier.)

So a report Friday from Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times that "word is out among key figures" of the Bears organization that the Hall of Fame Game is canceled doesn't seem too far-fetched.

“The dream is over,’’ one source said. “They had to throw one away, and everybody knew it."

The NFL, however, is denying said report.

"There has been no change in the status of any games,'' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday.
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Now, even if the game was already essentially canceled, you wouldn't hear the NFL admitting as much, particularly when the thing that matters right now isn't scheduling a single preseason game, but making sure there's actually a season in 2011. Besides, if you ask Bears coach Lovie Smith, the teams don't need a full set of practices to get ready for the event anyway.

"If an agreement gets done and the NFL says we're going to play the game, we'll be ready," Smith said Friday, per Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. "Right now, we haven't been told that anything has been canceled."

Yeah, it's pretty unlikely that the NFL's issued a memo to the Bears or Rams about canceling the game. If that were the case, a) it'd be tough to deny it had been canceled.

More likely? There's a pervading sense of pessimism about playing the preseason content, and everyone in the Bears organization is picking up on that.

That's a reasonable vibe at this point, but as we've seen, the NFL and the players can move surprisingly fast with games on the line. And if the Rams and Bears are willing to take the field on short notice, it's still reasonable to see them line up on Aug. 7.

Unlikely, but reasonable.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Follett says Lions' players could report July 25

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The latest evidence that the Great Lockout of 2011 is almost behind us forever: Lions linebacker Zack Follett tweeted this Friday evening:

"Just received word it would be the 25th of July we would be able to report back if a deal got done. Pending approval by all parties."

Like most of the news we've heard in recent days, it comes with the "pending approval" qualifications, but by all indications, we're very close to having an actual football season.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman has been all over the latest developments, and the NFL and the NFLPA released a joint statement Friday afternoon announcing that things are "in a good place." There are some details to iron out, but the major issues have been agreed upon, and we could have football in days if not hours. Which means that we'll have a fast and furious free-agent signing period, followed by training camps and preseason games, and then a full schedule of regular season games.

Assuming that most teams report on or around July 25, as Follett suggests, it will give the Bears and Rams 10 days to practice before they're scheduled to face off in the August 7 Hall of Fame Game. Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz said he would need just one day to prepare his team to play, while head coach Lovie Smith was a tad less optimistic, telling the Chicago Tribune: "Just the way the NFL is set up: 15 days before the first game. That’s what you want. That’s what it’s been every year. But this is a different year. If the NFL says we’re going to play a game and the Rams are dealing with the same thing, we’re going to get ready."

The Bears might have to make due with something less than 15 days, but either way Smith says his team will be in Canton. "If an agreement gets done and the NFL says we’re going to play the game, we'll be ready. Right now, we haven’t been told that anything has been cancelled."

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:09 am
 

Plax says Bears in top 3, Bears not interested?

Posted by Will Brinson

Plaxico Burress will be one of the most sought-after discussed free agents once the offseason begins. And though his age may be an issue, it seems like he's going to get a gig.

But where? Well, how about Chicago, where the Bears are in need of a possession receiver to compliment Devin Hester? How convenient -- Plaxico said he'd be interested in going to Chicago, even calling the Bears one of his top-three choices to play.

"Oh without question, without a doubt [the Bears are among my top three destinations]," Burress said on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on Tuesday, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "My decision making is going to come down to what I said, playing with an elite quarterback, playing with a running game, playing with a great tight end, and Greg Olsen is already that guy, in my estimation he'll be a Pro Bowler this season.

"That's the same situation I went into when I made my decision to go to New York. It's a pretty similar situation."

Quick aside: it's unbelievable how Drew Rosenhaus clients who don't really have an open market continually find themselves in high-demand. I mean that seriously -- the guy makes things happen.

However, this flirtation with Chicago may not exactly be worth pursuing. Sean Jensen of the Sun-Times notes in the same article that multiple sources tell him the Bears are only interested in Plax at a "bargain basement price."

Apparently, the combination of Burress' prison time, plus his age and character concerns all mesh poorly with his inability to fit into Mike Martz' scheme that way other receivers might.

But, hey, what if he ended up going to Chicago along with Washington wideout Santana Moss? That would make for a pretty spicy set of wide receivers, right?

Yes it would, but it probably won't happen. If there's one thing we've learned about Rosenhaus clients it's that they're probably not taking the cheapest deal on the market, even if it might mean a better situation.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Hester wants Bears to sign Santana Moss

Posted by Will Brinson

For as amazing as Devin Hester's been as a returner during his career with the Bears, he's never quite worked out as a receiver. He's had his moments, of course, but it's usually been a lack of a decent quarterback or another receiver on the field that's kept him from maxing his big-play potential.

Which is probably why he wants the Bears to go out and sign Santana Moss once free agency starts up.

"Anybody that can come in and help out the team, I’m down for it, and a guy like [Moss] can come in and really help out a lot," Hester said, per the Chicago Tribune. "I’m hoping we can get him."

That might seem simple -- "Hey, Bears, go spend money!" -- but it could be a little tougher to pry Moss away from the Redskins.

See, even though he's a free agent, he has stated that he'd like to come back to Washington, although his reasoning seems predicated on his preference to not negotiate a contract.

If he's willing to be swayed, though, certainly Chicago offers a better situation: Hester (a fellow former Miami Hurricane) on the other side will force teams to play off him more than anyone in Washington, and Jay Cutler's far better than the three-headed monster that is Donovan McNabb/Rex Grossman/John Beck.

But, hey, to each his own -- if Moss really wants to hang around and kick it with the Shanahans, more power to him.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 10:15 am
 

Lockout could put Hall of Fame game in jeopardy

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There isn't currently a 2011 NFL season, but July has been a busy month nonetheless. Most of it has been speculation driven -- the lockout will end on this date, free agency will start on that date -- but there's also legitimate hope that a new collective bargaining agreement will be ratified by July 21, no games will be missed, and there will be actual football this fall.

But it's not all rainbows and unicorns. We wrote earlier that the Cowboys might have to cancel their training camp in San Antonio because it's barely a week after the rumored July 21 CBA ratification date.

And while the regular season schedule is safe, as well as the final four weeks of the preseason (and the $800 million in revenues that go with it), the August 7 Hall of Fame game, typically the NFL's first preseason game played during Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio, could be in jeopardy.

"We have not identified a date by which we have to have an agreement to save the Hall of Fame Game," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Chicago Tribune. "Time is admittedly running short, however."

The Tribune notes that the July 21 ratification date would make it virtually impossible for the two teams playing in the Hall of Fame game, the Bears and Rams, to report to camp on July 22 and begin practicing on July 23.

There are also the "Transition Rules" to consider which, according to an ESPN report, spell out an actual timeline for roster transactions under the July 21 deal scenario, including the start of the new league year during which free agents would become eligible for the open market on July 28.

"This would create a wild period in which business would be done around the clock as teams settle rosters and go to camp at the same time," the Tribune's Brad Biggs and Vaughn McClure report. "Considering the Bears have only 54 players on their roster right now, a figure that includes draft picks, how quickly can Jerry Angelo and Cliff Stein find and sign 36 players?"

With all the deadlines in the 17 days between July 21 and August 7, it's hard to imagine that either team will be ready to play in Canton. The logistics are just too unwieldy.

Earlier this month, Hall of Fame president Steve Perry told ESPN that, depending on when the lockout ended, the Hall of Fame game could be postponed or played on another date.

"That's not our desire," he said. "It would not have the same impact as having it on Hall of Fame Weekend."

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:06 am
 

Hall of Fame Game still scheduled for Aug. 7

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After taking the weekend off to celebrate our country's independence, the lawyers for the owners and players resumed talks today, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith aren't expected to be present for the negotiations until Thursday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The hope is that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached by mid-July; if the lockout lasts beyond that, preseason games could be cancelled and owners and players could stand to lose up to $800 million.

While we wouldn't say optimism is high, there are signs that the two sides will resolve their differences and the 2011 season will begin on time.

Over the weekend, it was announced that the Cowboys set a July 29 training camp date at the Alamodome in San Antonio. And Tuesday, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that the Pro Football Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams is still scheduled for August 7. The game is part of the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canton, Ohio, and is the first game of the NFL preseason.

"We're making all plans to have the game on time. We've heard from both parties -- the owners and the players -- and they've expressed their desire to have the game. So, that's our plan," hall president Steve Perry told ESPN.

"Ticket sales are lagging behind where they were compared to this time last year," Perry acknowledged. "That's understandable. There is some uncertainty out there. But we're planning to have the game. Nobody has told us otherwise. In fact, both sides have told us they want to play the game."

Traditionally, the game is a sellout, but Perry said that only half the tickets for the 22,000-seat Fawcett Stadium have been sold. Just like the regular season, if the game isn't sold out it would be blacked out in Canton and the surrounding areas.

Both the Bears and the Rams have told Perry they plan to play in the game, but because of the lockout neither team knows exactly when they will be able to start training camp. If a new CBA isn't reached in the next 10 days or so and preseason games are ultimately delayed or cancelled, Perry told ESPN that the Hall of Fame game could be postponed or played on another date.

"That's not our desire," he said. "It would not have the same impact as having it on Hall of Fame Weekend."

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, however, are unaffected by the lockout and will go on as planned.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:21 pm
 

Mike Ditka to appear on 'Entourage' series finale

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This July, HBO's Entourage returns for an eighth and final season, and the series finale will include a cameo by … former NFL head coach and ESPN NFL analyst Mike Ditka (bet you didn't see that coming).

Ditka spilled the beans during an appearance on "The Waddle & Silvy Show."

"This just came up spur of the moment, and actually you know, it was a good experience," Ditka said. "I didn't realize how big a deal it was, I'll be honest with you. I'm kinda naïve about those things, and I understand it is a pretty big deal, and yes, I think it is very nice and [Wisconsin athletic director Barry] Alvarez is on it with me so both of us are there. …

"[The role] goes beyond me and my altar boy image, but I do have a couple of lines in there that might test a few people."

The list of famous faces from the sports world who have appeared on the show over the years is long and distinguished. That said, Ditka isn't the first person with ties to the Bears to turn up on Entourage: in Season 7, LB Brian Urlacher discussed investment opportunities with Turtle

Even if the recent progress towards a new CBA falls through in the coming weeks, at least we'll have Ditka's cameo to look forward to. So there's that.

In the meantime, a partial list of Entourage cameos by various sports figures. (Please note: there's a lot of naughty language so keep that in mind before clicking the YouTube links below. Hey, it's HBO.)
The only thing missing? Mike Tahoe and CJ Hunter. Because every show needs mustachioed cops.

Photo via Ari Gold's twitter feed

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Posted on: June 21, 2011 5:53 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 6:02 pm
 

Felony charges against Garrett Wolfe dropped

WolfePosted by Josh Katzowitz

When the news of Bears RB Garrett Wolfe’s arrest hit the media last month, it didn’t sound so good.

He had been accused of retail theft, disorderly conduct, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest with violence in Miami Beach, Fla. Then, apparently, Wolfe got fresh with a couple off-duty cops, and things got physical (as you can see by Wolfe’s mug shot at right).

Then, after threatening to sue the officers, Wolfe -- who signed a four-year deal for $2.2 million after he was drafted -- allegedly told them, “Let’s compare bank accounts.”

Wolfe’s arraignment was today in Miami-Dade circuit court, and good news for Wolfe: No felony Chargers have been filed against him.

Christopher Lyons, Wolfe’s defense attorney, told the Chicago Tribune it was a “major victory.”

The felony charges of retail theft and assaulting a police officer, as well as the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, were dropped, and the felony charge of resisting arrest with violence was reduced to a misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence.

"We are pleased that Garrett’s side was considered and that all felony charges were dropped today," Lyons said. "We look forward now to addressing the remaining single misdemeanor charge."

Though he was taken in the third round of the 2007 draft by Chicago, he’s known more as a solid special teams player. The Bears didn’t tender him last March, meaning he’ll be a free agent once the lockout ends. At this point, the continuation of Wolfe’s career in the NFL is in question.

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