Tag:Chicago Bears
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Willie Gault's stolen Super Bowl ring returned

W. Gault had hsi 1985 Super Bowl ring recovered (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

In November, the home of former Bears receiver Willie Gault was burglarized and his 1985 Super Bowl championship ring was stolen. But thanks to a sports memorabilia collector who spotted the ring at a jewelry store and a celebrity gossip web site that dabbles in sports, his ring has been recovered.

TMZ has the story of burglars taking $100,000 of Gault’s jewelry during that November robbery. But Gault told the website that Los Angeles Police Department officers have recovered the Super Bowl ring -- which understandably makes Gault a happy man.

"The ring didn't define me as a person,” he said. “I knew the accomplishments I made ... I came to peace that I wouldn't get it back ... but, of course, I'm thrilled that I did."

The owner of the jewelry store has been arrested for possession of stolen property.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 9:19 am
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 15 preview + Thurs review

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Thursday night's scorcher of a game between the Jaguars and Falcons kicked off Week 15's action, and the guys wonder whether Atlanta is getting hot at the right time, if Jacksonville has any hope and just how awesome Shahid Khan's mustache is.

Then they turn their attention to the rest of the week's slate, debating who's in more trouble if they lost Saturday between Raheem Morris and Jason Garrett, why Rick Perry is talking about Tim Tebow, how much trouble Sam Hurd is in and why he did the things he allegedly did, whether the Broncos can actually upset the Patriots, if the Eagles can make a run, why Joe Flacco is whining about Tim Tebow's media coverage and much, much more.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:45 am
 

Sam Hurd arrested on federal drug charges

Hurd allegedly wanted to buy 10 kilograms of cocaine and a half-ton of marijuana per week. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested Wednesday night on federal drug charges after he allegedly attempted to purchase drugs from a North Texas supplier.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Hurd told an undercover operative that he wanted up to 10 kilograms of cocaine and a half-ton of marijuana per week "for distribution in the Chicago area." He added that he was willing to pay $25,000 per kilo and $450 per pound.

According to a report from 670 The Score (via CBS Chicago), "Hurd was a top drug dealer in Chicago and police have a list of NFL players who were supplied drugs by the receiver, a law enforcement source told the radio station. The list is 'in the double-digits,' according to the source."

More details via the criminal complaint (by way of the Dallas Morning News):

"…[H]is co-conspirator is in charge of doing the majority of the deals as Hurd focuses on the 'higher-end' deals. Hurd subsequently inquired if the UCA (undercover operative) and the CI (confidential informant involved in the case) could provide him with Mexican cellular telephones, as Hurd believed that law enforcement did not have the capability of listening to Mexican telephones."

One of Hurd's attorney's, David Kenner, said Hurd will fight the charges.

"Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully," said Kenner. "We have complete confidence in him."

Kenner, who once defended Snoop Dogg of murder charges, said this is not the first time he's had a case where his client seemed doomed from the start.

"They start off looking terrible, and then we end up with 'not guiltys,'" Kenner said.

A handcuffed Hurd didn't comment on the charges, but when asked if he was still a member of the Bears said, "As far as I know."

Roy Williams, Hurd's teammate in Chicago and before that  in Dallas, said via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain: "I'm distraught about the situation. It's a situation that I don't want anyone to be in, especially a close friend and a teammate that I've been playing with now for four or five years now, especially a guy from Texas with a wife and daughter."

More from linebacker Brian Urlacher: "Outside of here I don't know him very well, but he comes to work every day and practices hard and plays hard. ... He's always been really friendly. He says 'hi' in the hallway every time you walk by him. You know I walk by him 10 times a day in the hallway and he still says hi every time." 

Linebacker Lance Briggs called the whole episode sad: "Whether it’s a teammate, whether it’s another football player, baseball, basketball, it doesn’t really matter. You hate to see this happen to anyone. That’s just it. We all make mistakes. But like I said, it’s just sad to see."

As for whether it's a distraction to the team, "There's a sports side, there’s a business side and then there’s a personal side, and, when it comes to business as a professional, you have to take care of business," Briggs said, according to Chamberlain.  Urlacher added: "Obviously it's what we have to deal with with you [media] but football-wise it's not going to be an issue. We'll go out there and practice like we do every day and hopefully put it behind us when Sunday gets here ... 'til the game is over and we have to answer more questions about it."

The Bears released a statement Thursday afternoon: “We are aware of Sam’s arrest and are continuing to gather details surrounding it.  We are disappointed whenever these circumstances arise.  We will deal with them appropriately once we have all the information."

Hurd signed a three-year contract with the Bears in the offseason worth $5.15 million, including a $1.35 million signing bonus. Through 13 games,  he played primarily on special teams, catching just eight passes for 109 yards. Hurd played his college ball at Northern Illinois and was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2006. During his five years in Dallas, he had 45 receptions for 630 yards and two touchdowns.

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:15 am
 

Cutler says 'outside chance' he plays vs. Packers

Chicago was on a five-game winning streak before Cutler went down. They're 0-3 since. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jay Cutler hasn't played since he broke the thumb on his throwing hand in Week 11, a 31-20 win over the Chargers that took the Bears to 7-3 and second place in the NFC North. Now, nearly four weeks later, Chicago is 7-6 (0-3 with Caleb Hanie), and seventh in a six-team playoff race.

The Bears' remaining schedule: Seattle, at Green Bay, at Minnesota. To have a shot at the postseason they'll need to win out, and clearly, Cutler, who was riding a five-game winning streak when he was injured, gives them the best chance to do that.

But to paraphrase Rick Pitino: Jay ain't walking through that door … at least not this week. Cutler appeared on “Waddle & Silvy” radio show Wednesday and said he might return for the Packers game in Week 16.

"I'll say outside," he said, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain. "I wouldn't say it's good or definite or a real possibility, but there's always a chance."

Yep, he's telling you there's a chance

Cutler also said that last week in Denver he threw a football for the first time since having surgery on his thumb.

"It’s kind of like trying to relearn it," he said. "The ball was a little foreign in my hands. It’s a little bit stiff. And those pins in there, that adds a little bit of a shooting pain. In the next few weeks we have to figure out once all the swelling’s going whether I can manage with these pins or we’re going to have to pull them."

If Cutler doesn't play, then Hanie will be the starter. And while he's had a rough go of it in that role (the nadir, without a doubt: losing to Tyler Palko and the Chiefs in Week 13), Hanie showed improvement during the Bears' overtime loss to the Broncos last Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz agrees.

"[Young quaterbacks] just get in there and there's a sense and they just go," he said of Hanie's overtime performance," he said according to Chamberlain. "When you mix (runs) in a little bit here and there for an inexperienced quarterback, it's harder on them until he gets a better feel for the game. And it's going to be that way until he plays more."

Here's a thought: maybe Martz' game plan should highlight Hanie's strengths -- not just in overtime but from the first series. Revolutionary stuff, we know.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Coach Killers, Week 14: DeAngelo Hall is a statue

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

DeAngelo Hall, Redskins

Back in Week 11, DeAngelo Hall suggested that the Redskins should cut him for his performance against the Cowboys. They didn't, but it sure seemed like he wasn't on the field for long stretches Sunday when Washington faced New England. And the few times he did make his presence known, it just made things worse.

The lowlight (in a day filled with them) came in the first quarter when Hall stood by (literally, he was standing two feet away and didn't move; it was as if he was trying to will himself invisible) as two teammates tried unsuccessfully to bring down Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (it was scene straight out of Gulliver's Travels). So instead of a 12-yard gain, Gronkowski rumbled for an extra 35 yards before Hall thought it wise to try to keep Gronkowski out of the end zone.

You can see the frame-by-frame hijinks here (or watch the moving-pictures proof below).


Want to see DeAngelo Hall pretend to be a statue? Then watch the video. It looks a lot like the freeze-frame above except that everybody else is moving. 

"DeAngelo Hall was guilty of poor effort, poor judgment and poor leadership," the Washington Post's Mike Jones wrote Monday. "[On the Gronkowski play] Hall said he thought the tight end was headed out of bounds, and maybe he didn’t want to get a penalty, but even a shove — not a head of steam blast -- could’ve helped. Instead, Hall turned and walked away."

It gets better. In the third quarter, Hall was flagged for holding, he disagreed, and thought it made sense to chuck the penalty flag up the field. He was flagged an additional 15 yards for being a d-bag. In one play, Hall had cost his team 20 yards of field position (and 35 more yards on the Gronkowski mishap). DeAngelo Hall: Your Washington Redskins team captain, everybody!

Ryan Succop, Chiefs

Kansas City isn't 5-8 because of kicker Ryan Succop. And Todd Haley wasn't kindly asked to leave Monday because of Ryan Succop. But what we're about to show you from Sunday's Chiefs-Jets game serves as a metaphor for Kansas City's season, which makes you want to laugh, cry and punch yourself in the face all at once.


Chiefs' kicker Ryan Succop failed in his onside kick attempt in the fourth quarter against the Jets. Was this the worst onside kick attempt ever? (Editor's note: unequivocally, YES.)

So that happened. To Succop's credit, he's the team's most consistent scoring threat this season, converting 18 of 21 field goal attempts, including 3 for 3 from beyond 49 yards. It's just that he struggles with distance control, particularly from 0-10 yards.

Silver lining: it's no longer your problem, Todd Haley!

Olindo Mare, Panthers

When Mare honked a 31-yard game-winning field goal in October, we gave him a pass because Cam Newton told us to.

“Whoever thinks this game came down the last possession is a fool,” Newton said at the time. “Offensively and defensively we had opportunities and we just didn’t finish it off.”

Week 14 Recap
Fair enough, and certainly wise words from the franchise's rookie quarterback. First-year head coach Ron Rivera also tried to be positive after Mare yipped the chip shot.

“The only thing I did for Olindo was I went and told him to keep his head up,” Rivera said. “He’s a heck of a football player and he’s going to get a chance to win football games for us and I believe that. We brought him in for a reason because we believe he can be our guy for the next few years.”

Yeah, about that…

The Panthers trailed the Falcons 24-23 with five minutes to go and the only thing between them and the lead was a 36-yard field goal. Again, a chip shot. Except that again, Mare somehow missed it.

"I haven't seen it. I don't need to see it. It didn't go in," Mare said, standing in front of his locker 45 minutes after the game. "Regardless of how good I think I hit it or how windy it was or whatever ... I've made kicks in windier conditions. I have no excuses. The only excuse is I just didn't do my job."

Rivera, presumably uninterested in pep talks, instead said "we will have to sit down and visit with him on [the miss]."

Worth pointing out: the Panthers led 23-7 before letting the Falcons back in the game. If Newton's “Whoever thinks this game came down the last possession is a fool" speech was ever relevant it was Sunday. It doesn't change Mare's failures, but it could be worse: he could be Ryan Succop (though Succop will probably have a job next week).

The Panthers signed Mare to a four-year $12-million deal before the season. Just a hunch: Mare isn't around for the life of the contract.

Carson Palmer, Raiders

Maybe Palmer wishes he stayed on the couch.
After Sunday's 1 o'clock games, we had Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky penciled in here. His rough outing against the Ravens wasn't unexpected (in fact, he thought he'd play worse), but the loss dropped Indy to 0-13, and Orlovsky, who started seven games for the Lions in 2008, ran his career record to 0-9. (Detroit, you may recall, went 0-16.)

But Carson Palmer's performance against the Packers guaranteed him a spot in this week's Killers. Green Bay's defense forced Palmer into four interceptions, including one on the opening drive and another in the Packers' end zone. This is the same Green Bay defense, by the way, that ranks 24th in the league, according to Football Outsiders, and headed into Week 14 having allowed more total yards than that hapless bunch in New England.

Palmer, who the Raiders acquired after sending a couple high-round picks to the Bengals earlier this season, has been a disappointment. In seven games (six starts), he has nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions and Oakland is 3-4.

Sunday's loss not only put them a game behind the Broncos in the AFC West, it dropped them to ninth in the wild-card hunt (behind the Titans and Bengals).

"I just need to be more patient, take what they give me and try not to score 14 points on one drive," Palmer said after the game, according to the Oakland Tribune. "Take it one play at a time, take the shot if it's there, and if not, live for the next down, and I didn't do that."

No, no you didn't. Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, the man who orchestrated the Palmer trade, obviously has a lot riding on this.

"I'm disappointed in the four picks, and I told him so," Jackson said. "I think you have somebody who's pressing, trying to make plays for a football team. There were times we made some ill-advised throws and we've got to do a better job of taking care of the ball, and he knows that."

The Raiders are long shots to make the playoffs. They face Detroit, Kansas City and San Diego and there's no telling which team shows up. They're just as likely to go 3-0 as 0-3.

Marion Barber, Bears

The Power of Tebow compelled Barber to fumble.
Poor Marion Barber. He seems like a hard worker and a solid dude but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time -- twice -- Sunday against the Broncos.

We watched in horror as Barber ran out of bounds with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter and the Bears leading 10-7. Denver was out of timeouts; if Barber goes down in the field of play, the clock continues to run, Chicago runs the ball again on third down, and by the time the Broncos get the ball back, they'd have about 25 seconds to get into field-goal range.

Didn't happen.

(Aside: In the 1986 World Cup, Argentina's Diego Maradona scored a goal against England on an obvious hand ball -- well, it was obvious to everyone but the officials. It became known as "The Hand of God" goal. Different circumstances Sunday, but we're pretty sure The Hand of God played a part in the outcome.)

Barber is a seven-year veteran who knows that you have to stay inbounds. And yet he didn't. Our theory: The Hand of God pushed him out of bounds. And it was the Hand of God that knocked the ball out of Barber's arms in overtime, just as it looked like he was about to break off a big run -- maybe even a touchdown -- and end the Broncos' six-game winning streak.

It sounds ridiculous, we know. But there is no rational explanation for what happened Sunday. Or for the five Sundays before that. But that's the Power of Tebow.

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 10:34 am
 

Church of God, Church of Satan weigh in on Tebow

By Will Brinson

The Tim Tebow media saturation is in full swing Monday. And just in case you don't believe me, someone decided to ring up a preacher and ask him whether or not God is the cause of Tebow's success.

Yes, this "someone" is TMZ. How'd you know? (And the preacher is referred to as "one of Tim's Colorado pastors," although he isn't directly referred to as "Tim's preacher" which leads me to believe he is, in fact, not Tebow's preacher.)

"It's not luck," Hanson told TMZ Monday. "Luck isn't winning 6 games in a row. It's favor. God's favor."

Hanson added "God has blessed his work" and would Tebow be winning if he wasn't such a strong believer in God? Well, "of course not."

TMZ, wanting to get both sides of the story, also spoke with Magus Peter H. Gilmore, a high priest in the Church of Satan (we're not kidding). Gilmore points out that if God is helping Tebow that would mean he is actively ensuring the other team loses. 

Instead, Gilmore says that "Those who have a winning attitude tend to do better, and whatever fuels such team spirit, be it religious fervor or simply an overwhelming desire to succeed, is the real source for success."

He goes on to say, "Satanists are atheists, and we would consider any triumph to rely on a combination of skill and luck – most certainly not in any form of supernatural intervention from either Heaven or Hell."

Now, this makes for fun water cooler chatter and pageviews, but let's be clear: God is not intervening in Tebow's football career. God does not care more about Tim Tebow than God cares about Marion Barber.

Does Tim Tebow succeed because he has a strong faith in something that allows him to persevere in the face of adversity? That's absolutely a possibility. Does Tebow's faith and resolve strengthen those around him? Sure, that's called being a leader. Could this be the karmic rewards of Tebow's actions as a good human being paying him back in kind? If you want to think so, yeah.

But this ain't God staring omnipotently down at 22 men chasing an oblong leather ball, leaning in and flicking the ball out Barber's hands so Matt Prater can crush a long field goal to give the Broncos a regular season win in an NFL game.

God has lots of important things to do. One of them is not something that amounts to "fixing the outcome of football games."

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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:40 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 14: Transformation continues

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

By Ryan Wilson

Week 14 Tim Tebow looks nothing like the quarterback we saw in Miami on October 23. Let's be honest: when he made his first start against the Dolphins in Week 7, he was a curiosity, a sideshow that brought out the gawkers and the critics.

We joked about this after the Jets win. Maybe we should give the new Denver helmet serious consideration...
In the seven games since, Tebow and the Broncos are 6-1, and have gone from early season laughingstock to AFC West leaders destined for the playoffs. It isn't all because of Tebow (everyone -- o-line, defense, special teams, wideouts, coaches -- has picked up their game in the last two months) but he's done his part, too.

And after Denver's most recent come-from-behind win, this time against the Bears, it's clear that Tebow is evolving into a legitimate NFL passer as well. No, seriously. A proper quarterback, who reads defenses, manipulates coverages, and gets the ball out accurately and on time (see the play-by-play below for proof).

We were blown away by Tebow's performance against Chicago, and his numbers belie just how well he played. For starters, he threw the ball 40 times. The last time he approached that many attempts was in Week 8 against the Lions, a complete and absolute throttling in which Tebow looked confused and outclassed.

In the subsequent five games -- all wins -- the Broncos stressed the read-option running game and used the forward pass only in cases of emergency. Tebow's attempt totals over that span: 21, 8, 20, 18, and 15. His completion percentages: 48, 25, 45, 50, 67.

On Sunday, he set season highs for attempts and completions. The reason: the Bears weren't going to let Tebow beat them with his legs. But also because the Broncos coaching staff clearly is comfortable with Tebow's progress as a passer. In the previous weeks, he struggled from the pocket, both with going through his progressions and getting the ball out on time. Against Chicago, he was decisive and poised, and most importantly: accurate.

(Also noteworthy: even when Tebow misses intended targets badly, he seldom throws interceptions. That can't be overstated in a league where turnovers equals losing.)

Yes, he was just 3 of 16 for 45 yards (with an interception) in the first three quarters against Chicago, which is pretty much the script for Broncos' games the last seven weeks. But this time was different. Tebow was throwing with touch and anticipation, except that his would-be receivers couldn't hold onto to anything. Maybe it was karmic payback for all those medicine balls Tebow had thrown in prior games, or perhaps it was God's way of ratcheting up the drama for a fourth-quarter run that has now become a cliche.


Whatever the explanation, with the Broncos trailing by 10 points and with sufficient time having expired in the final quarter, Tebow got down to doing what Tebow does. He was 18 of 24 for 191 yards in the final period, including a nifty touchdown pass that shows just how far he's come as an NFL passer.

On this TD pass with just over two minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Broncos trailing 10-0, Tebow drops back, looks left, then comes back right. He steps up in the pocket, looks as if he's going to run (and draws in the two defenders in pass coverage in the process) and then calmly throws to a wide-open Thomas in the back of the end zone. That's a big-boy play. (Watch the Xs and Os of the play here.)


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"He’s a good running back. He does a good job for them. They have a good offense with him back there. They do some different plays. I thought we did a good job overall." - Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, talking about Tebow who, by the way, was 21 of 40 for 236 yards and only rushed 12 times for 49 yards.

"He played hard. I respect a guy that plays hard, him and all the other 10 guys on that field for the Broncos." - Bears linebacker Lance Briggs

"It wasn't anything special that he did." - Bears defensive end Julius Peppers

"Everyone believes that something good's going to happen. And, obviously, Tim's been the guy that's led that thinking. He's just such a strong believer. He's really got everyone else believing if you stay strong, stay positive, something good's going to happen. When guys are thinking that way — and it's been led by Timmy with that positive attitude — all boats have been rising with that." - Broncos executive VP John Elway, former Tebow doubter.


                                                   Audio-Visual




Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.


Tim Tebow led another comeback victory, and Matt Prater's 51-yard field goal with 8:34 left in overtime gave the Denver Broncos a 13-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

And if you want to experience two totally different post-game press conferences, here's John Fox and Lovie Smith A.T. (After Tebow, natch).


                                                   Eye on Tebow



(Click on photos to enlarge)


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Posted on: December 12, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 14 review + MNF preview

By Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 14's just about taken care of and several things are abundantly clear. Well, OK, not that much is clear, but we know that Tim Tebow is a winner.

On Monday's podcast, we break down Tebow's success against the Bears, who's to blame for the Cowboys latest fiasco, whether T.J. Yates can help the Texans win in the playoffs, if Greg Jennings injury is an indication that the Packers will sit or start their players the rest of the way, if Detroit's righted the ship with a narrow win against the Vikings, whether Raheem Morris is on the hot seat, plus much, much more.

Also, we preview the Seahawks-Rams Monday night scorcher of a matchup.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com