Briggs expected to play vs. Seattle


Briggs expected to play vs. Seattle

With all of the upheaval on the offensive line, the Bears do not need more, especially on the other side of the ball. And it looks like one spot of concern wont be.

Linebacker Lance Briggs, who has missed just four games in his nearly 10 years, declared on Thursday, And I dont plan on missing this one, either.

Briggs left Soldier Field last Sunday wearing a walking boot but was device-free on Thursday, although he was held out of practice on Wednesday, the Bears one practice in full pads this week.

His running mate for his whole career seconded the informal injury report.

I dont see that being an issue, said linebacker Bria Urlacher with a slight smile.

Briggs credited modern medicine for his rapid recovery. That and I drink apple juice every morning, he said.

Bears release safety Antrel Rolle


Bears release safety Antrel Rolle

The Bears released safety Antrel Rolle on Sunday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the move. Rolle tweeted the following out minutes later.

Rolle battled injuries and appeared in just seven games with the Bears last season, coming to Chicago after five seasons with the New York Giants. He made 35 total tackles and recorded one pass defensed.

The Bears have six other safeties on their current roster and added two more during this weekend's draft, picking Miami's Deon Bush in the fourth round and William & Mary's DeAndre Houston-Carson in the sixth round.

Brett Lawrie powers White Sox to win over Orioles


Brett Lawrie powers White Sox to win over Orioles

BALTIMORE — Brett Lawrie had another big day and the White Sox offense hasn’t been too bad, either.

Lawrie homered in a third straight game and reached base all five times on Sunday afternoon as the White Sox completed a very successful road trip with a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in front of 28,803 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Working behind an offense that scored 41 runs during the 5-2 trip, Chris Sale improved to 6-0 and the White Sox split a four-game set with the Orioles. The win also gave the White Sox a 13-6 record during a stretch with 19 games in 19 days.

Lawrie jumpstarted the White Sox offense in the fourth, two innings after the White Sox came up empty with the bases loaded and no outs. With two outs and no score, Lawrie ripped a 1-2 fastball from Ubaldo Jimenez 404 feet to left field for his fourth home run of the season. He also homered on Friday and Saturday, marking the first time in his career that he has accomplished the feat in three straight games.

The White Sox then dinked and dunked Jimenez to death in the fifth inning. Dioner Navarro and Austin Jackson made up for the second inning when they struck out and grounded into a double play to ended the bases-loaded threat. Navarro singled and Jackson doubled to deep center and Jimenez loaded the bases when he hit Adam Eaton with a pitch.

Carlos Sanchez had an RBI groundout and Jose Abreu singled in another to make it 3-0. Melky Cabrera singled in another run on a blooper to left and Jerry Sands dropped a two-run single into center to knock Jimenez out of the game.

Lawrie walked in between the hits by Cabrera and Sands, his fourth free pass of the trip. He also singled and doubled and reached base in 11 of 30 plate appearances on the road trip. The effort raised Lawrie’s batting average to .290.

The effort was another big one from an offense that has begun to show signs of life after a slow start to the season. The White Sox scored at least four runs in five of their seven games away from U.S. Cellular and averaged 5.86 per contest. The same group scored an average of 3.2 runs per contest in its first 19 games this season.

While Abreu hasn’t flexed his muscles in a while, his bat continues to heat up. A day after he singled in runs in the final two innings, Abreu singled twice more and drew a first-inning walk. He finished the road trip 11-for-29 with six RBIs and four walks.

The outpouring made a laborious day easier for Sale, who needed 107 pitches to complete five innings. Baltimore’s loaded lineup ran a bunch of deep counts against Sale, but didn’t accomplish much else.

He stranded at least one runner in each of his first five frames and two each in the first, third and fifth innings. Still, Sale kept the Orioles at bay, striking out six, including the side in the fourth. His biggest escape came in the fifth inning as his pitch count ran high. Sale walked two, including a 12-pitch free pass to Manny Machado, with one out. But he struck out Mark Trumbo and induced a fly ball out from Adam Jones.

Sale allowed a run, six hits and walked four in 5 1/3 innings.

Four White Sox relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings to close it out.

NFL Draft: NFC North grades


NFL Draft: NFC North grades

Rotoworld's Evan Silva graded every NFL team's 2016 draft. Here are his grades for the Bears and their NFC North rivals.

Chicago Bears

1 (9). Georgia OLB Leonard Floyd
2 (56). Kansas State G/C Cody Whitehair
3 (72). Florida DE Jonathan Bullard
4 (113). West Virginia ILB Nick Kwiatkoski
4 (124). Miami (FL) S Deon Bush
4 (127). Northern Iowa CB Deiondre' Hall
5 (150). Indiana RB Jordan Howard
6 (185). William & Mary S DeAndre Houston-Carson
7 (230). Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman

Overview: Bears GM Ryan Pace wanted Floyd badly, sending a fourth-round pick (106) to Tampa Bay to climb just two slots and steal Floyd ahead of the Giants. Pace stayed active on day two, trading down and securing Buffalo's fourth-round pick in 2017. In addition to reeling off consistent value picks, Pace attacked needy areas on his roster and stockpiled quality football players who were productive in college. What Floyd lacks in floor he makes up for in ceiling as a long-armed, versatile edge player with the most explosive get-off in the draft. Whitehair needs to get stronger, but he profiles as a starting guard in a year or two. Bullard was one of the top value picks in the draft and legitimately could start as a rookie. A downhill bruiser at 6-foot, 230, it wouldn't shock me if Howard emerged as the Bears' lead ball carrier at some point this year. In Kwiatkoski, Hall, and Houston-Carson, Chicago added year-one special teams contributors with a chance to become more down the line. After having only six picks in his first draft, I think sophomore GM Pace hit a homerun here. It should also be noted that the 2016 Bears should finally get a fully-healthy Kevin White.

Grade: A-

Detroit Lions

1 (16). Ohio State OT Taylor Decker
2 (46). Alabama DT A'Shawn Robinson
3 (95). Michigan C Graham Glasgow
4 (111). Southern Utah SS Miles Killebrew
5 (151). Washington State OG Joe Dahl
5 (169). Georgia Southern LB Antwione Williams
6 (191). Michigan QB Jake Rudock
6 (202). Penn State DL Anthony Zettel
6 (210). Baylor LS Jimmy Landes
7 (236). Washington RB Dwayne Washington

Overview: This haul also includes second-year DT Gabe Wright, whom ex-GM Martin Mayhew selected in the 2015 fourth round in exchange for parting with Detroit's 2016 third-round pick. (Wright was a bit player as a rookie.) New GM Bob Quinn knocked out a big need with his first-ever pick, bookending Riley Reiff with 2015's Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. Albeit short on pass-rush skills, Robinson gives Detroit an immediate contributor in DC Teryl Austin's defensive line rotation. Glasgow will push ineffective C Travis Swanson to start, while Killebrew is a sneaky bet to earn early-career snaps across from FS Glover Quin. Dahl adds interior depth with OGs Laken Tomlinson and Larry Warford coming off disappointing 2015s. I wasn't a fan of Quinn's final five picks, none of whom profiled as impact NFL players in college. The Lions came out of this draft still weak at cornerback and defensive end, and with unsolved questions at wide receiver, center, strong-side linebacker, and safety.

Grade: B-

Green Bay Packers

1 (27). UCLA DT Kenny Clark
2 (48). Indiana OT Jason Spriggs
3 (88). Utah State OLB Kyler Fackrell
4 (131). Nebraska ILB Blake Martinez
4 (137). Northwestern DE Dean Lowry
5 (163). California WR Trevor Davis
6 (200). Stanford OT Kyle Murphy

Overview: A high-energy nose tackle with a wrestling background, Clark addressed a pressing need following NT B.J. Raji's retirement. Packers GM Ted Thompson coveted Spriggs, sending Indianapolis fourth- (125) and seventh-round picks (248) in exchange for a nine-slot climb in round two, where LT David Bakhtiari's new backup was selected. Fackrell should replace Mike Neal as Green Bay's swiss-army-knife linebacker. Despite it continuing to be Green Bay's biggest need, Thompson has refused to draft an inside linebacker before the fourth round in back-to-back offseasons. With the exception of Clark, this draft was all about depth and supplementing the back end of Thompson's roster, particularly in the trenches. I would have liked the class better had Thompson emerged with a legitimate starter at inside linebacker, which could have ensured Clay Matthews will move back onto the edge.

Grade: B-

Minnesota Vikings

1 (23). Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell
2 (54). Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander
4 (121). Western Michigan T/G Willie Beavers
5 (160). Missouri ILB Kentrell Brothers
6 (180). Germany WR Moritz Boehringer
6 (188). Texas-San Antonio TE David Morgan
6 (227). Vanderbilt DE Stephen Weatherly
7 (244). Clemson S Jayron Kearse

Overview: On top of the above eight players, GM Rick Spielman acquired Miami's 2017 third- and fourth-round picks by trading out of his third-round slot (86). Spielman checked off a huge need with the Treadwell pick, giving Teddy Bridgewater a big-bodied, playmaking possession target to fill the Z role opposite X receiver Stefon Diggs. Although cornerback wasn't necessarily a Vikings need entering the draft, Alexander was a terrific late second-round value and could become Minnesota's slot corner in the next calendar year. The Brothers pick stands out as solid on day three, but Beavers and (especially) Boehringer are developmental players. Morgan was a productive FCS tight end, but ran a 5.02 forty before the draft. Kearse's name is much bigger than his game, frequently shying away from contact. I did like Spielman's flyer on toolsy pass rusher Weatherly late in round six. The Vikings' grade gets a bump after Spielman swindled the Dolphins out of two quality picks next year.

Grade: B

For the rest of the NFC grades, go here. To check out the grades for the AFC, click here.