Urlacher, Marshall doing Smith no favors

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Urlacher, Marshall doing Smith no favors

In one of those ironies that swirl through times like these, Brian Urlacher may have done some damage to the very individual he was trying to defend.

Upset at the negative swirl around embattled coach Lovie Smith, the injured middle linebacker ripped into fans and media on his Sunday night WFLD-TV appearance in a way that will not endear him to the organization.

More important, coupled with the emotional comments by receiver Brandon Marshall calling for accountability and possibly jobs, the result is an image of a breakdown or an unraveling, neither of which reflect well on Smiths stewardship.

"Two of the people I don't care about: fans or media," Urlacher said to host and sports anchor Lou Canellis. "They can say what they want to about our head coach, about our players. ... It does bother me. They don't know what they're talking about, obviously.

Urlachers dislike for the media has grown in recent years so the hostility in that direction was normal. But the organization works at fan relations and Urlachers remarks promoted anything but.

"Our crowd was pretty good today for the most part, Urlacher said before resorting to sarcasm. They were loud for a minute there; the boos were really loud, which is always nice. The only team in our division that gets booed at home is us. It's unbelievable to me.

Christian Ponder and Leslie Frazier up in Minnesota may disagree, and the Detroit Lions are unlikely to be awash in acclaim when the Bears get there on Dec. 30.

Either way, "we don't care, Urlacher said. We're going to go out there and play as hard as we can. The guys that are healthy will play and we'll do the best we can."

Marshall fallout

The emerging face of the offense Marshall virtually called for jobs in the wake of the 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and not all of the call for accountability appeared directed at more than players alone. Three different offensive line positions and wide receivers have seen demotions and the Bears used two different left guards, two right guards and two right tackles in the loss to Green Bay.

Marshalls comments could be construed as a declaration that there has not been sufficient accountability. Smith did not agree.

I would like to think all throughout the season we stress being accountable with every position, with all of us coaches, players and all of us, Smith said. I dont think anything has changed from that.

There may be changes coming after the season. As far as Smiths staff, not just yet.

Well have our same coaching staff that we had Sunday, Smith said. They will be in their same jobs this week.

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

"Be sexy."

That was one of two rules manager Joe Maddon told David DeJesus when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired him in 2013.

DeJesus appeared on SportsTalk Live on Wednesday to discuss his time spent with Maddon in Tampa Bay.

"Just be yourself out there," DeJesus said of Maddon when the Rays traded for him. "I want you to have fun and I want you to just have that ora of 'just don't worry, just go out there and play.' It kept the whole team loose."

DeJesus also shared his thoughts on Maddon's questionable managerial decisions in the World Series.

Hear that, and more, in the video above.

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Sammy Sosa has stayed so far off the radar that his long-running absence from Cubs Convention didn't even come up during last weekend's Q&A session with ownership.

And the Cubs can't go viral all the time and dominate every offseason news cycle, with the National Baseball Hall of Fame revealing the election results on Wednesday and welcoming Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez as part of its 2017 class.

But it's become out of sight, out of mind for Sosa, who barely crossed the 5-percent threshold (8.6) needed to remain on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for another year.

Sosa — a seven-time All Star, 1998 National League MVP and the franchise's all-time leader with 545 home runs (and 609 overall) — hadn't gained any traction at all during his first four years under BBWAA consideration, hovering between 12.5 and 6.6 percent.

It's complicated with Sosa, a diva personality who experienced a dramatic late-career renaissance and got named in a New York Times report that exposed him as one of the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003 (during what was supposed to be an anonymous survey).

The Cubs have undergone a complete makeover since Sosa walked out in 2004, leaving him without many allies in the organization. It's nothing personal, but in the past the Ricketts family has hinted that Sosa could mend certain fences and fill in some of the blanks he once left open during an unconvincing performance in front of Congress.

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The Cubs brought Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg to meet President Barack Obama during their Martin Luther King Jr. Day visit to the White House and keep adding former players to the front office. It's awkward after a World Series run where so many alumni showed up to do TV work, throw first pitches, spray champagne or simply watch a rare playoff game at Wrigley Field.

— If Sosa's looking for a roadmap, Manny Ramirez did his penance and cooperated with Major League Baseball to the point where Cubs president Theo Epstein shockingly hired him as a Triple-A Iowa player/coach in the middle of the 2014 season, something that would have been unthinkable during their clashes with the Boston Red Sox.

As a hitting consultant, Ramirez took a come-and-go-as-you-please arrangement, becoming a national story during the 2015 playoffs but largely staying away from the 2016 championship team, perhaps gearing up for his independent-ball comeback in Japan this year. Even after failing multiple drug tests, one of the greatest right-handed hitters of his generation still finished at 23.8 percent in his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

— Lee Smith (34.2 percent) — a drafted-and-developed Cub and the franchise's all-time leader with 180 saves — didn't come close in his 15th and final time on the BBWAA ballot. Smith had been grandfathered when the Hall of Fame narrowed the eligibility window to 10 years, possibly trying to squeeze Steroid Era symbols like Roger Clemens (54.1 percent) and Barry Bonds (53.8 percent).

— This will make Cub fans feel old: Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are Hall of Fame-eligible for the first time in 2018, when based off this year's returns Trevor Hoffman (74) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) should be building momentum toward the 75 percent needed for induction into Cooperstown.