Chicago Cubs

The best of the Bears: Defensive ends

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The best of the Bears: Defensive ends

As training camp approaches and CSNChicago.com looks ahead to competitions and other situations, Bears Insider Moon Mullin ranks the top three in franchise history at each position.

Try blocking any of these greats one-on-one:

1. Doug Atkins

Big Man was a legend off the field as well as on it, where he stood 6-foot-8 and played between 265 and 280 pounds in his career. NFL.com slotted Atkins as the No. 9 pass rusher of all time (http:tinyurl.com7l4lg9j) and he originally went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship in addition to having been a high-jump champion.

The sack didnt become a recognized stat until more than a decade after Atkins retirement. Too bad. But for anyone doubting the athleticism of players in bygone eras, check out the videos. Thats Atkins vaulting running backs and left tackles.
2. Richard Dent

The Colonels long-overdue election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame finally put the spotlight on one of the NFLs best-ever pass rushers, finishing his career with 137.5 sacks third all-time behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith when Dent retired in 1997. Dent was 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, was the MVP of Super Bowl XX and voted All-Pro five times.

And he was a soloist in "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
The Sackmans comin, Im your man Dent;If the quarterbacks slow, hes gonna get bent;We stop the run, we stop the pass;I like to dump guy on their ass!We love to play for the worlds best fans;You better start makin your Super Bowl plans!
But don't get ready or go to any trouble
Unless you practice The Super Bowl Shuffle.
3. Julius Peppers
He has only been a Bear for two seasons now and he didnt get to Chicago until the ninth year of his career. But Peppers, who likely will finish his career with the Bears (he is signed through 2015), still ranks as one of the top defensive linemen, end or tackle, in the NFL.

Peppers does not play with quite the pass-rushing flair of Atkins or Dent. But he ranks with Dan Hampton as the two most versatile defensive linemen in franchise history, playing inside and out, right and left with equal impact.

Jose Quintana’s ‘career-altering’ game has Cubs planning clinch party in St. Louis

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USA TODAY

Jose Quintana’s ‘career-altering’ game has Cubs planning clinch party in St. Louis

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs are going to destroy Busch Stadium’s visiting clubhouse. The rivalry has fundamentally shifted to the point where the St. Louis Cardinals are hanging around the National League’s wild-card race in a transition year and it would have been a massive failure if the defending World Series champs didn’t win this division. But there will be some symbolism to popping champagne bottles and spraying beer all over that room.

“We intend to clinch there,” Ben Zobrist said after Jose Quintana’s complete-game masterpiece in Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. “And I think for a lot of the guys that have been around here for a long time, it’s going to be very satisfying.”

Quintana has only been a Cub since the Brewers failed to close a deal with the White Sox and team president Theo Epstein swooped in to make a signature trade during the All-Star break. Quintana hasn’t yet pitched in the playoffs, but this is close enough, the Cubs winning back-to-back 10-inning games against the Brewers and shaking off a walk-off loss before the lefty faced off against Chase Anderson in front of a sellout crowd of 42,212.

Quintana gave the Cubs more data points to consider as they prepare for a probable first-round series against the Washington Nationals. The magic number to eliminate both the Brewers and Cardinals is two, with Milwaukee off on Monday and the Cubs playing a rivalry game in St. Louis that night, meaning the party goggles won’t come out until Tuesday at the earliest.

“It’s the playoffs already for this team,” said Zobrist, who again looked like a World Series MVP in the seventh inning of a 1-0 game when he launched Anderson’s first-pitch fastball into the second deck in right field for a two-run, breathing-room homer. “We’re already thinking that way.

“We’re in postseason mode right now. And we intend to continue that for the next month.”

While there are valid concerns about Jon Lester’s nosedive in performance since coming off the disabled list and the state of Jake Arrieta’s right hamstring, the focus should also be on how Quintana (7-3, 3.50 ERA in 13 starts as a Cub) could be an October game-changer for this rotation.

“Once he got over here, he was really jacked up about having a chance to play in the playoffs,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s showing you that right now. Games like that, to me, could be kind of career-altering for a pitcher.

“When you pitch a complete-game shutout on the road under these circumstances, that definitely does something for your interior. It definitely fluffs it up a little bit.”

“It’s exciting to be here,” said Quintana, who allowed only three singles, piled up 10 strikeouts against one walk and hit 93 mph on his 116th and final pitch in the ninth inning. “I just try to help my team and it’s really special when you get that opportunity. It’s about winning and I have a huge opportunity here.”

In all phases of the game – dominant starting pitching, an offense that created different ways to score runs, multiple bullpen contributors and an airtight defense that committed zero errors in 39 innings – Maddon saw what he was looking for: “We reacted in a playoff manner for these four games. Our mental intensity could not be beat.”

That drifting, in-and-out focus had been part of the background when the Cubs shocked the baseball world with the Quintana trade in the middle of July. Concentration won’t be an issue at Busch Stadium. And this hangover will be real.

“It will be nice to do it there, I’ll just say that,” said Zobrist, who understands the Cubs-Cardinals dynamic as someone who grew up in downstate Illinois. “But we got to win the games.

“As John Lackey said it before (this) series: ‘This is not a small series, boys.’ We knew it was a big one here in Milwaukee. And it will be another big one in St. Louis.”

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Bulls reach buyout agreement with Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade's Bulls career is set to end just over a year after it began.

According to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, the Bulls and Wade have reached an agreement on a buyout.

CSN Chicago's Vincent Goodwill confirmed the report.

Wade signed a two-year, $47.5 million deal with the Bulls last July and averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in 60 games with the Bulls. This summer, Wade exercised his player option for the second year of the contract, worth $23.8 million.

Wade picked up his option just two days before the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler on draft night and went into rebuild mode. According to Goodwill, Dwyane Wade is giving back $8.5 million.

The Bulls will go into next year without any of the 'Three Alphas' the team had last year Wade, Butler and Rajon Rondo.

The news comes a day before Bulls Media Day, which will be live on CSN at 2:30 p.m., and on the same day the team agreed to a two-year deal with Nikolia Mirotic.

Wojnarowski also reported Cleveland, San Antonio, Miami and Oklahoma City are the contenders to sign Wade.