The Bears have to feel a little snake-bitten right about now. Last year it was Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and now it's Brian Urlacher going on the shelf. It didn't take long before I was asked if this could hurt Urlacher's chances of re-signing with the team next year, and you have to admit it's now going to become a hot topic. Before the season began, I thought it would be a long shot to bring back the aging linebacker, but I started thinking today it may not be so far-fetched for him to get a short deal in the two-year range IF the Bears' brass believes he is still capable of playing at a high level. If they don't think he can do that and stay healthy, all bets are off. Perhaps the biggest thing working in Urlacher's favor is the progress made by so many young defensive players. Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Major Wright, Chris Conte and Corey Wooton have all shown they are the future of this defense, which means the organization isn't forced to immediately invest in defensive players. The current crop of young guys are not high priced, and only Melton is in line to get big money. That means paying Urlacher shouldn't hurt the team from a cap standpoint. On the flip side they may have to invest on the offensive line, which will no doubt be the number one focus when the off-season arrives. Even if that is the case, a top level offensive line free agent will cost big dollars and it's unclear if Phil Emery would spend that on a veteran or invest in a young player in the draft. Regardless, I'm not sold that this is the end of Urlacher in a Bears Uniform, and if not he can thank the young kids on defense for him sticking around.
In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Laurence Holmes (670 The Score), George Ofman (WBBM Newsradio 780/105.9) and Jordan Bernfield join Kap on the panel.
Jimmy Butler says he doesn’t care about the All-Star Game right now. That can't be true, right?
Jonathan Toews is slumping. Do the Blackhawks need to make a trade to get the captain going?
Also, the guys discuss whether Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live broadcast will distract the Steelers and motivate the Patriots.
Plus, a Hawk Harrelson alarm clock??? You gotta be… bleepin’ me!
Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below.
Just when you think the Bulls are back at full strength for one of the few times this season and able to hit the reset button halfway through the year, someone goes down with an injury.
Taj Gibson will miss Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks with a left ankle injury that he apparently suffered Sunday night in the Bulls’ win against Memphis.
This comes on the day Nikola Mirotic has recovered from his strep throat and apparently the flu bug that made its way through the locker room has finally run its course.
Paul Zipser, the Bulls’ rookie second-round pick, will start in Gibson’s place. Zipser has played in 12 games so far, starting in two of them.
"It's something that kind of popped up,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I don't know exactly the time. He did have a little bit of soreness in the game. Again, it's not to the point where you're saying this is something that holds him out a while.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
Gibson did have ankle surgery on his left ankle in June 2015, but he’s been an iron man this year, starting every game to this point and averaging 12 points with 7.3 rebounds.
Hoiberg said he’s not sure if Gibson will need an MRI or if this injury is somehow related to the ankle surgery that cost Gibson several months in the 2015 offseason.
It seems Hoiberg will start off with Zipser and then use Mirotic and Bobby Portis as reserves against the Mavericks team that gave the Bulls a 25-point whipping in Dallas on Dec. 3, their second-worst loss of the year.
“Again, we hope to sit him tonight, have a couple days off to rest and get him back in the lineup in the next one,” Hoiberg said. “We felt it was best to hold him out tonight."