Word on the Street: Cavallari a jinx on Bears?

Word on the Street: Cavallari a jinx on Bears?

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cavallari a jinx on the Bears?

If Bears fans aren't worried about the Sports Illustrated jinx for their beloved Monsters of the Midway, there may be another factor tipping the luck scales in the Packers' favor. Reality TV celebrity Kristen Cavallari may provide the infamous "Jessica Simpson" factor on her quarterback beau, Jay Cutler.

Simpson, the famed singersongwriteractress, was famously the girlfriend of Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo and brought nothing but misfortune to her boyfriend and his teammates on the season's biggest stage--the playoffs.

However, even with Cavallari in tow, the Bears have already done something those Cowboys teams failed to do--win a playoff game. And according to reports, Cavallari wants Cutler to focus on winning as much as any diehard Bears fan. (Toronto Sun)

Clark to suit up for Bears?

Desmond Clark, the Bears' veteran tight end who has been on the inactive list for much of the 2010 season, has Tweeted that he will be suiting up and on the field Sunday against the Packers. Clark has not appeared in a game since the Bears' Week 3 win over the Packers at Soldier Field. (Twitter)

Fire show their support for Bears

The Chicago Fire declared Friday Bears Day at Toyota Park. Participating staff members donned their best Bears apparel and then posed for a picture inside the Fire locker room (See photo above right). (Chicago Fire)

Dent honorary captain Sunday

Richard Dent, the Bears all-time sack leader and MVP of Super Bowl XX, will be an honorary captain for Sunday's NFC Championship game at Soldier Field. Dent recorded 124.5 sacks in his 12 year career with the Bears and is a Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 finalist. (CSNChicago.com)

Minnesota bar to roast bear Sunday

A sports bar owner in St. Paul, Minn., will support the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship game Sunday afternoon by roasting a 180-pound bear.

Blake Montpetit, the co-owner of Tiffany Sports Lounge, says he will cook the black bear in a pig-roaster over hickory and charcoal on Sunday. He says his cousin shot and killed it in northern Wisconsin during bear hunting season and then froze it. (Washington Post)
Referee retains position in Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field

Terry McAulay has been annouced as the referee in Chicago on Sunday. That may not mean much to some people, but McAulay was the referee in Week 3 when the Packers were flagged 18 times for 152 yards.

However, this will not be a repeat of Week 3, according to Mike Pereira of FoxSports.com. McAulay is the only one from his crew that was involved in that Week 3 game. As Pereira says, "from this point on in the playoffs, the crews are made up of the top three officials at each position." (Fox Sports)

Boozer set to make return Saturday for Bulls

Carlos Boozer, the Bulls' star power forward, looks to be on the fast track to recovery. After missing the last three games due to an ankle injury suffered in the waning seconds of Chicago's thrilling 99-96 victory over the Miami Heat last Saturday, Boozer has been announced as a go for Saturday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center. (CSNChicago.com)

Bulls don't need Melo?

According to ChicagoNow.com, the Bulls are doing just fine without Carmelo Anthony and despite the superstar's scoring prowess, Chicago can do just fine in the Eastern Conference without having to mortgage Joakim Noah or a surplus of picks or bench players to acquire the services of the superstar forward. (ChicagoNow)

Could Sox have had Papelbon?

Jonathan Papelbon, the star closer for the Boston Red Sox, was reportedly shopped to multiple teams over the offseason, mainly the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago White Sox, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. Heyman cites the high price tag arbitration was likely to bring kept the teams at bay (OverTheMonster.com)

Ozzie launches new website

Ozzie Guillen, the enigmatic and outspoken manager of the Chicago White Sox, celebrated his 47th birthday in style, after having his 2012 option picked up with the team and launching his own website www.ozzieguillen.com. The site features news, photographs and videos of Guillen in addition to promoting his charity foundation that has been around since 1998. (Chicago Tribune)

Manny signs with Rays
Manny Ramirez signed with the Tampa Bay Rays Friday on a one-year deal. Ramirez, who played the last month-plus of the 2010 season with the Chicago White Sox, signed for a reported 2 million. He hit .298 with nine home runs in 265 at-bats last season. (Sports Illustrated)

Former Cubs prospect gives it another go as a pro

Ryan Harvey, the Cubs' first-round pick in 2003, is attempting a comeback at Major League Baseball. Harvey was drafted as the sixth player overall as an outfielder with some major power potential, but never quite cut it. In eight minor league seasons, Harvey never rose above Double-A level and hit just .244 with 711 strikeouts and 158 walks in 2,372 at-bats.

Now, however, Harvey is attempting to make it as a pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization, signing with the club this offseason. (Fox Sports)

Fire fail to hold another lead at home, but reason why was different

Fire fail to hold another lead at home, but reason why was different

Holding onto leads at home has not been a strong suit for the Fire this season.

Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy was the fifth time this season the Fire have been unable to get a win at home in a match they led. In four of those, including Wednesday, the Fire had leads in the second half.

In the previous cases, the Fire dropped deep defensively and tried to simply hold onto the lead or hope David Accam could score on a one-man counter.

“I think once we’re up in the result I think we have to make sure that we kill the game off because there’s been too many times where it’s that 1-0 or that 2-1 and we’re kind of holding there and the next thing you know they’re tying the game at the end of the game,” midfielder Arturo Alvarez said. “We got to keep pushing for that third goal to make sure that we kill things off.”

The game against LA was different. The Fire had multiple quality chances to score a third goal and take a two-goal lead. One opportunity featuring Accam, Luis Solignac and an open net seemed like a sure goal as it was developing.

However, the Fire didn’t find that two-goal lead and LA managed to come back.

“I think we created a lot of chances,” Alvarez said. “We went up 2-1 and unfortunately that third goal didn’t want to go in at the right time and then LA got that bounce.”

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Even though the result didn’t show it, the Fire may have actually turned a corner in terms of how to play with a lead. In the win at Montreal on Saturday, the Fire scored that extra goal to take a two-goal lead, something the team hadn’t done all season in an MLS game.

Against the Galaxy, the Fire actually had more possession in the second half (56 percent) than the first half (46 percent). LA’s only shot on goal in the second half was the tying goal while the Fire put three shots on target in the second 45 minutes.

The Fire did fail to close out another match at home that they had a lead in, but the way it happened was different and maybe that’s a positive sign going forward.

“I think it’s starts from the offense,” Accam said. “If we could have scored then we could have killed the game. The defense did really well. We just need to keep finishing chances and then opponents won’t have the chance to attack us.

“I think we played one of the best games we played this season, but we need to take our chances and today I would say we are disappointed that we dropped two points at home. For me also we created so many chances that on another day we could have taken it. It’s kind of a mixed feeling for me.”

Hunter Jr., McGlinchey, Onwualu, Rochell ready to lead Notre Dame as captains

Hunter Jr., McGlinchey, Onwualu, Rochell ready to lead Notre Dame as captains

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — As Notre Dame breaks up the scar tissue from a weekend that saw six players be arrested, it named four players to an official leadership role.

Coach Brian Kelly announced four captains following practice on Wednesday: Redshirt junior wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., redshirt junior offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey, linebacker James Onwualu and defensive end Isaac Rochell. 

“I can't think of a higher honor that I've received in my life,” Rochell said. 

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Those players, plus a group of other upperclassmen that includes quarterbacks DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire, will be counted on to lead the Irish through the fall. Those players all saw the importance of leadership last year, when Notre Dame — complete with an avalanche of leaders headlined by five team captains — was able to navigate an unprecedented string of injuries to a 10-win season and berth in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Each of these guys learned from captains and/or leaders at their position in 2015. For Hunter, that was Chris Brown. McGlinchey learned from the Martins, Nick and Zack, who combined to spend four years as Irish captains. 

“We’re going to be okay without the Martins,” McGlinchey smiled, “though it does stink without them.”

On defense, Rochell picked up plenty from Sheldon Day, a two-time captain himself who was one of the more vocal leaders on the Irish last fall. And Onwualu started alongside Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt for two consecutive years, with both of those players earning captaincies in 2015.

Onwualu is also the answer to a good trivia question, given he has the most starts at wide receiver (four) of any current Irish player. 

“I’ve been trying to convince (Kelly) to let me go back,” Onwualu quipped. “I want a couple more catches.” 

Notre Dame probably doesn’t have the leadership depth it did in 2015 or 2012, when rosters stocked with a good mix of vocal and lead-by-example players powered the two best seasons in the Kelly era. But all these captains are in Year 4 in the program and said they’re excited for the challenge ahead of them. 

“I’m definitely honored and blessed to be in this position,” Hunter said. 

Here’s what Kelly had to say about each player:

On Rochell: “He’s really taken over that room from Sheldon Day. Been the leader, there’s a lot of young players in that room, he’s been a great mentor. I love the way he handles himself on a day-to-day basis. Really loves Notre Dame, understands Notre Dame and is a great, great ambassador for our football program.”

On Onwualu: “Here’s a guy that has made himself into a great player for us. Started at the wide receiver position, is well-respected by all of his peers, one of our hardest workers and now has put himself in the position to lead our football team.”

On Hunter: “A guy that walks the walk and talks the talk and backs it up both on and off the field and will be a great mentor to a lot of young receivers.”

On McGlinchey: “A guy that is not afraid to speak up, speak his mind. He’s done a great job of really growing into his leadership role.” 

Notre Dame notes: No QB starter yet, McGovern wins right guard battle

Notre Dame notes: No QB starter yet, McGovern wins right guard battle

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly doesn’t have an answer to the question that’s been on everyone’s minds, at least until it was momentarily shoved out of the spotlight by the six Irish players arrested last weekend

Kelly said Wednesday he hasn’t decided who will start at quarterback against Texas between Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer, though what matters more is how the seventh-year Notre Dame coach uses each player at Darrell K. Royal Stadium Sept. 4. 

It’s been eight days since Kelly informed Kizer and Zaire they both would play against Texas, and while there was initial frustration on the part of each quarterback, Kelly said he’s seen both players warm up to the idea of splitting time in Austin. 

“Since that decision, they really have embraced knowing that both of them will play and they both have to be ready,” Kelly said. “I think what I’ve seen more than anything else is a sharpness in their practice and in particular in their preparation. They know they’re both going to play. They’ve been really sharp.”

[MORE: Notre Dame announces four captains for 2016 season]

More notes from Notre Dame’s last media availability before game week:

— Kelly said both Kizer and Zaire were under consideration to be named captains. “I’m certain that they would have made very good captains,” Kelly said. But Kelly hasn’t named a quarterback a captain while at Notre Dame, though he’s only had one good candidate (Tommy Rees in 2013) before Kizer and Zaire. Wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr., left tackle Mike McGlinchey, defensive end Isaac Rochell and linebacker James Onwualu were all named captains on Wednesday. 

— Redshirt junior Colin McGovern will start over redshirt freshman Tristen Hoge at right guard against Texas, Kelly said. McGlinchey offered an assessment of McGovern, who will make his first career start in Austin: “Colin came into camp ready to play and he was on his assignments, he was kicking some ass, and that’s all it’s about for offensive linemen. He was a sound football player this camp. And it’s really exciting to see Colin step up and get ready to play. He’s very capable of doing the job, a very talented kid, ready to work and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s going to do great things for us this year.”

— Redshirt sophomore defensive end Jay Hayes (ankle) practiced on Wednesday and should be ready to play against Texas provided he’s 100 percent healthy by the weekend, Kelly said. 

— Sophomore running back Josh Adams is back at practice after missing a good chunk of August with a hamstring injury. Running backs were hit in practice on Wednesday and Kelly was pleased with what he saw: “This was the first day where he looked like Josh Adams.” 

— Redshirt freshman receiver Chris Finke, who was elevated from walk-on status and earned a scholarship on Monday, is solidly the No. 2 option behind sophomore C.J. Sanders at slot receiver. Finke held off redshirt sophomore Corey Holmes for backup duties (though Holmes can be moved around to other receiver positions), as the 5-foot-9, 180 pound Kettering, Ohio native “won us over with his consistent play,” Kelly said.