Former Bears head coach Jack Pardee diagnosed with cancer

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Former Bears head coach Jack Pardee diagnosed with cancer

HOUSTON -- Jack Pardee, one of Bear Bryant's ''Junction Boys'' who went on to become a five-time All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and has six to nine months to live, his family said Tuesday.

The cancer has spread to other organs and that her 77-year-old father plans to move to a Denver hospice where the College Football Hall of Fame inductee's wife, Phyllis, has been receiving care since having a stroke, daughter Anne Pardee confirmed to The Associated Press.

Anne Pardee said her father was in good spirits despite the diagnosis.

Jack Pardee survived a bout with melanoma when he was 28 and in the middle of his 15-year NFL playing career.

He played only six-man football at Christoval High School in west-central Texas, near San Angelo, before moving on to Texas A&M. Bryant became the Aggies' coach in 1954 and moved their preseason camp to desolate Junction, about 100 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The state endured a severe drought and historic heat wave that year, but Bryant worked his team through the brutal conditions and refused to allow water breaks in an effort to toughest players. Pardee was one of 35 players who made it through to the end of the 10-day camp without quitting.

Pardee played three seasons at Texas A&M and was drafted by Los Angeles in 1957. He played for the Rams from 1957-64, sat out a year to cope with his melanoma, then played seven more seasons. He finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1973.

Pardee stuck with the NFL and was the Chicago Bears' head coach from 1975-77. He coached the Redskins from 1978-80 and was fired after Washington went 6-10. He served as San Diego's defensive coordinator for one season, then returned to Texas to coach the USFL's Houston Gamblers.

Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. When the USFL disbanded in 1987, Pardee became the coach at the University of Houston and brought along the fast-paced ''Run-and-Shoot'' offense that worked well with the Gamblers.

The NCAA levied severe sanctions on the program in 1988, the result of violations committed under previous coach Bill Yeoman. Houston was banned from playing in a bowl game for two years and banned from playing on television in the 1989 season.

But the Cougars led the nation in total offense (624.9 yards per game) and passing offense (511 yards per game) in 1989, and quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy. Houston finished 9-2 and ranked No. 14 in the nation.

Pardee became the coach of the NFL's Houston Oilers in 1990, and led the team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. Oilers owner Bud Adams traded star quarterback Warren Moon to Minnesota before the 1994 season, and Pardee resigned after a 1-9 start that year.

His name emerged 13 years later for the Houston job, but the school hired Kevin Sumlin instead. Pardee's son, Ted, is currently the color analyst for Houston football radio broadcasts.

Pardee's illness was first reported Tuesday by KTRK-TV of Houston.

Kyle Baun healthy, ready for another chance with Blackhawks

Kyle Baun healthy, ready for another chance with Blackhawks

Kyle Baun couldn’t have asked for a better start to his second NHL season as he made the Blackhawks roster out of training camp.

It didn’t last long, however, as Baun was back with the Rockford IceHogs after two games with Chicago. As for that season in Rockford?

“That was a whole other story,” said Baun.

Indeed, Baun lost a good portion of his Rockford season when his right wrist was sliced twice by another player’s skate in mid-November. That, however, is all behind him. Now Baun hopes to replicate his 2015 camp performances and latch on with the big club longer.

Baun will play in his first preseason game this fall when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. The 24-year-old skated is expected to start on a line with Tyler Motte and Tanner Kero, with whom he skated on Friday morning.

“I just want to simulate what I did last year, and it went well at the beginning,” Baun said. “I want to keep working hard, do what I did last year in the exhibition season and hopefully I can stick again.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Baun’s stint was short lived last fall; he was reassigned to Rockford on Oct. 16, and was looking to have a strong season there. Less than a month later, however, he suffered his right wrist injury that sidelined him for more than three months. Baun said he still wasn’t quite right even when he returned.

“I was trying to get back with the wrist and stuff, and I’m not sure it was 100 percent by the time I came back,” said Baun, who now wears Kevlar guards on his wrists. “So it was good to get a summer of training back in and get my legs under me.”

As for that wrist, Baun said it’s definitely “much better now.”

“The strength and dexterity is back,” he said. “It’s a small muscle, so to get the dexterity back was kind of tough.”

Baun is looking for another opportunity. Considering the opportunities for forwards this season, a good showing could lead to some more time in Chicago.

“I’m just trying to focus on my own game like last year. I think that worked for me, trying not to look too, too much into what everyone else is doing,” he said. “Consistency is the biggest thing here. They’re just looking for a guy who can come in, game in and game out, and improve.”

BRIEFLY

- Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Corey Crawford, who just wrapped up their World Cup of Hockey play on Thursday night, will probably get “three or four days off” before joining camp, assistant coach Mike Kitchen said. “They’ve been going for a long time,” Kitchen said. “We’ll give them some time off.”

- Coach Joel Quenneville flew to Pittsburgh with the team.

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Three keys and prediction: Notre Dame - Syracuse

Here are three keys and a prediction for Saturday's Notre Dame-Syracuse game in New Jersey.

1. Make a play on Amba Etta-Tawo: Orange quarterback Eric Dungey targets Etta-Tawo, college football’s leading receiver through four weeks, an average of 13 times a game. Covering Etta-Tawo well is one thing, but that won’t necessarily mean Dungey will look elsewhere to throw the ball. Senior Cole Luke will probably get the first crack at guarding Etta-Tawo, and he’ll have to make a few plays on the ball (a tipped pass, an interception, etc.) to force Dungey out of his comfort zone. If Luke can’t do it, look for an underclassmen — Donte Vaughn, who picked off a pass against Duke, would have to lead that next group — to step in. Stopping Etta-Tawo would go a long way toward keeping the points down against Syracuse’s going-to-plaid offense. 

2. Meet “the standard” on offense. DeShone Kizer has been somewhere between very good and great this season, but it hasn’t been enough for Notre Dame to avoid any of their three losses. Syracuse’s defense is prone to allowing explosive plays and has struggled against the run, so triggering Josh Adams, Dexter Williams and/or Tarean Folston on the ground could allow Kizer to pick apart the Orange secondary as the game goes on. Most importantly, Kizer and his teammates need to avoid carelessly turning the ball over, as they did a few times against Michigan State and Syracuse. 

3. Effective play from the young guys. Kelly said one of the defensive changes we’ll see going forward is a lot more younger, talented players getting on the field in situations in which they weren’t equipped to in Brian VanGorder’s complex defense. Maybe that means defensive end Daelin Hayes using his elite pass rushing trait to pressure Dungey, or linebacker Asmar Bilal using his excellent speed trait to run with a crossing route and break up a pass. No matter how it happens, it has to happen — with that “it” being making defensive plays. Without sacks, TFLs, fumbles and/or interceptions, all that talk of Notre Dame having more “fun” this week will ring hollow on Saturday.

 

Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Syracuse 42. Adams and Williams both have big games on the ground and Kizer leads an offensive oscillating between explosive and efficient to, for the first time this year, enough points to overcome a shaky defensive performance.