Franchise tag, draft actions will interest Forte

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Franchise tag, draft actions will interest Forte

Running back Matt Forte has not signed his franchise-tag tender offer but there are signs that some pressure is getting to a couple of other franchise tagees and best guess is that it is not going unnoticed by the Forte camp.

Sources tell Mike Florio over at ProFootballTalk.com that indications are that Kansas City wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is leaning toward signing his tag tender. Mike says that a concern of Bowes is that the Chiefs will draft a wideout this weekend and take the tag (and its 9.5 million guaranteed salary for one season) off of Bowe.

Cornerback Brent Grimes already recently signed his tag tender with the Atlanta Falcons, who were in the process of trading for Asante Samuel, which theyve now done.

The Bears put some de facto pressure on Forte simply by adding a starter-grade backup in Michael Bush. It wasnt done to leverage Forte but it can have that effect.

The market for running backs is a fuzzy place to begin with. After the draft, with Alabamas Trent Richardson, Boise States Doug Martin and Lamar Miller from Miami among those likely to go to teams inside the first two or three rounds, it will get even more filled out.

The Bears have the option of pulling the tag off Forte. Sources have told CSNChicago.com that the Bears will not tag him next year (at more than 9 million) in any case.

Dont expect them to reverse field on their franchise back. But the market is never static and chances of Forte picking up more than the 13-14 million guaranteed the Bears are offering will decline just a little bit more this weekend.

Fire try to regroup after season's most lopsided loss

Fire try to regroup after season's most lopsided loss

Momentum is something Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic talks about frequently.

When the Fire beat Montreal on the road for the team’s first road victory in more than two years Paunovic talked about the need to capitalize on that momentum. After a home draw against the LA Galaxy and more recently a resounding 6-2 road loss to D.C. United, it’s clear that the Fire were unable to keep the momentum going from that streak-busting road win.

“You can just go back and see how the mood changed after we won the game in Montreal, how positive everything was,” Paunovic said. “Then you can see the same thing or the opposite thing when you lose the game against D.C.

“Momentum is very important and at least we have some control of how we can react and how we can respond to the momentum that we are leading now. We have to understand that the next game will give us another boost.”

[SHOP: Get your own Fire home jersey here]

Khaly Thiam’s red card in the first half at RFK Stadium changed the match just a few minutes after Michael de Leeuw tied it with his second MLS goal. Paunovic said he talked with Thiam about the red card.

“He is aware that he made a mistake and we have to understand that he is a young player still adjusting to our league,” Paunovic said. “My most important thing that I could share with you from our conversation is that he learned. He learned that he has to control his emotions, he has to control his competitiveness and of course he has to know that every action we make on and off the field represents our team so he learned from all this and he also addressed the locker room and we move forward. That’s very important for us to learn from our mistakes, but for sure don’t forget them and don’t repeat them again.”

The loss at D.C. was a killer blow to the Fire’s playoff hopes. D.C. is in the all-important sixth spot in the Eastern Conference and is now nine points ahead of the Fire. Chicago has nine matches to make up that ground, which would be a tough task for any team, let alone one currently with the worst record in the league.

Despite this, Paunovic still brought up the playoffs during Tuesday’s conference call with reporters.

“We have games to play and we are not abandoning and we are not giving away our goals to reach the playoffs,” Paunovic said.

The Fire’s next three matches are all at home against Eastern Conference teams currently in playoff positions. In order to maintain this playoff chase, the Fire likely need to win all three considering a three-game road trip follows.

Notre Dame will approach Texas game thinking four arrested players will play

Notre Dame will approach Texas game thinking four arrested players will play

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — While Notre Dame’s four active players who were arrested in Fulton County, Ind. earlier this month still have to go through the university’s Office of Community Standards, all signs are pointing to linebacker Te’von Coney, running back Dexter Williams, cornerback Ashton White and receiver Kevin Stepherson being available against Texas. 

Those four players were all formally charged with possession of marijuana in Fulton County on Monday, and Coney and Stepherson appeared in court and entered not guilty pleas on Tuesday. Safety Max Redfield, who was dismissed from the program two days after his arrest, was formally charged with possession of a handgun without a license and possession of marijuana, and pleaded not guilty to both charges. 

When asked why Redfield’s punishment was different than the other four Irish players in the car, Kelly confirmed that it was because of the handgun allegedly in his possession. 

“That changed the whole situation, and that's what caused the dismissal,” Kelly said. “And as an upperclassman not really living up to the standards that I set. The other four guys, we're talking about possession of marijuana and me dealing with that situation. It was the handgun that was the game changer.”

Senior cornerback Devin Butler, who was charged with resisting arrest and battery to a police officer last week, remains indefinitely suspended, Kelly said. 

Coney, Williams, White and Stepherson still will have hearings in front of Notre Dame’s Office of Community Standards, which received reports on each today and will likely begin their review process shortly, Kelly said. It seems unlikely any of them would receive discipline from the university that would affect their status to play in the Texas game and beyond given all four were first-time offenders and only charged with possession of marijuana. 

Kelly said he didn’t consider suspending those four players given he never has gone that route for a first-time marijuana possession or use offense. All four will be subject to random drug testing in the future. 

“I think all drug testing programs need to be educational first,” Kelly said. “And if you find as though that that is not changing somebody through counseling and education, then I believe there needs to be a punitive component.”

So for now, Notre Dame will commence practice for Texas expecting Coney, Williams, White and Stepherson to play. Coney is listed on Notre Dame’s depth chart as its No. 2 Mike (middle) linebacker, while Stepherson is the No. 2 X (field) receiver behind Torii Hunter Jr. and Williams will split kickoff returns with C.J. Sanders and back up Tarean Folston and Josh Adams at running back. Those three guys are likely to play on Sunday, while White could see time on special teams or in a reserve cornerback role, too. 

“The university will work their process, and we'll continue to move forward,” Kelly said. “There's no deadline, per se. But we kind of work as if they're going to play, and if something changes, the university will let us know.”

Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

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Brian Urlacher and Alex Brown to join Comcast SportsNet's Chicago Bears coverage team

Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Urlacher to be featured in new weekly Bears show beginning Thursday, September 15

Former Bears defensive end standout Brown to join network’s “Bears Pre/Postgame Live” coverage team beginning this season

COMCAST SPORTSNET ALSO ANNOUNCES ITS COMPREHENSIVE ON-AIR/DIGITAL 2016 CHICAGO BEARS/NFL SEASON COVERAGE LINE-UP

“Pro Football Weekly” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM

“United Bears Recap” (Season Premiere): Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM

“Bears Huddle presented by Verizon” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30 PM

“Bears Blitz presented by XFINITY” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 8 at 4:30 PM

“3 and Out” (Season Premiere): Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+

“Real Fantasy” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM

 “BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 11:00 AM

“BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois” (Live stream Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11

“BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 3:00 PM

“SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle w/Dave Wannstedt, presented by Ankin Law” (Season Premiere): Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM

RETURN: “The Lance Briggs Show (Season Premiere): Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM

NEW: “The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE” (Season Premiere): Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM

“Chicago Huddle” (Season Premiere): Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM

CSNChicago.com to deliver 24/7 Bears coverage all season long featuring Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin

Details on new “Bears Classics” specials coming soon

Chicago, IL (August 30, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet, the regional home for the most comprehensive on-air and digital coverage of the Chicago Bears, has announced Bears legend/eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker BRIAN URLACHER, along with former Bears defensive end standout ALEX BROWN, will be joining CSN as part of the network’s massive line-up of Bears programming for the 2016 NFL season.

Urlacher, who spent all 13 seasons of his storied career in a Bears uniform, which earned him numerous honors including NFC Defensive Player of the Year and eight Pro Bowl nods, will be featured in a brand new weekly Bears show this season entitled The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE airing Thursday nights at 10:30 PM beginning September 15.  Urlacher will be joined by host Mark Schanowski and fellow analysts, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, to discuss the team’s next game and break down the match-up from a defensive, offensive, and head coaching standpoint.

Brown, who spent eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bears amassing a career total of 45.5 sacks, joins CSN’s signature Bears game day coverage as a studio analyst on BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer and BEARS POSTGAME LIVE presented by State Farm, beginning with the team’s 2016 NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 against the Houston Texas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased and excited to have two enormously popular and well-respected former Bears join our team beginning this season,” said Kevin Cross, Comcast SportsNet Chicago Senior Director of News & Original Content.  “The addition of Brian and Alex to our overall Bears coverage team, featuring numerous NFL experts, once again showcases our year-round commitment and desire to deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the Bears to our viewing audience.”

In addition, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has also announced its complete on-air/online line-up of Bears and additional pro football related programming/coverage for the upcoming season.  Please note the following on-air and online details:

BEARS GAME DAY PROGRAMMING… 

BEARS PREGAME LIVE presented by Meijer – Beginning Sunday, September 11 prior to the Chicago Bears 2016 NFL season opener against the Houston Texans at 11:00 AM CT, Comcast SportsNet kicks off its Bears game day coverage with Bears Pregame Live presented by Meijer.  Now in its fourth season, this one-hour pre-game show – the ONLY live, local Bears pre-game show on Chicago television – provides fans with the very latest game day news, player updates, a detailed X’s and O’s game preview breakdown and analysis, along with numerous on-field pre-game reports.  Bears Pregame Live is hosted by Chris Boden featuring expert analysis from former Bears linebacker/seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller, the new addition of former Bears defensive end standout Alex Brown and CSNChicago.com Bears “Insider” John “Moon” Mullin.  Plus, SportsNet Central’s Bears beat reporter Kip Lewis will provide additional pre-game coverage from the field with up-to-the-minute game day information. 

BEARS HALFTIME LIVE presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – Also returning for its fourth season, debuting Sunday, September 11, will be Bears Halftime Live, a special “live-stream” exclusive that fans can view on CSNChicago.com & ChicagoBears.comBears Halftime Live features Boden and Miller, who will breakdown the first half of every game focusing on the key plays/game moments that had the greatest impact during the first 30 minutes of action, along with their thoughts on precisely what the Bears need to focus on for the remainder of each contest. 

BEARS POST GAME LIVE presented by State Farm – Immediately following the Bears-Texans NFL season opener on Sunday, September 11 (approx. 3:00 PM on CSN), Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm returns as THE destination for fans to hear from the experts who played the game, along with their always-entertaining, no-holds-barred take on the day’s events.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm is a 90-minute post-game show hosted by Boden and features detailed post-game analysis from Briggs, Miller & Brown.  In addition to the spirited banter from the stars of the show, Bears Postgame Live also showcases the live post-game press conferences with coaches and players from both teams.  Lewis & Mullin will also provide immediate post-game interviews with Bears players inside & outside the locker room.  Bears Postgame Live presented by State Farm can be seen on Comcast SportsNet following every Bears game this season with replays airing regularly throughout the season on Sunday nights and Monday afternoons. 

WEEKLY BEARS/NFL PROGRAMMING…

UNITED BEARS RECAP – Comcast SportsNet is the place for Bears fans to watch the official team press conference featuring head coach John Fox.  Hosted by Boden and former Bears offensive lineman/veteran Chicago sports personality Dan Jiggetts, United Bears Recap will go to Halas Hall each week to hear from the Bears head coach, along with additional Bears players/coaches.  The show will also air game highlights and viewers can also look forward to additional United Bears Recap content on CSNChicago.com.  The one-hour United Bears Recap makes its 2016 debut on Monday, September 5 at 7:00 PM with a special “season preview” edition with weekly premiere airing to take place on Mondays at 4:30 PM throughout the entire Bears season.

BEARS HUDDLE presented by Verizon – Every Wednesday at 4:30 PM beginning September 7, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with a preview of the team’s next opponent on Bears Huddle.  This one-hour show, hosted by Boden and Jiggetts, features weekly interviews with Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.  Additional content via team updates and interviews will be provided by Lewis and Mullin.  To go along with numerous game highlights, Bears Huddle will also provide a multitude of key stats for all categories and will feature in-depth player match-up analysis for every upcoming game.  Fans can also interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

BEARS BLITZ presented by XFINITY – Every Thursday at 4:30 PM beginning September 8, Comcast SportsNet will provide Bears fans with even more in-depth game previews and analysis on Bears Blitz.  This one-hour show also features the same talent line-up and similar show format as presented in Bears Huddle and will include interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and additional Bears players.  Fans can once again interact with the show on Twitter by utilizing the hashtag #BearsTalk.

THE HARD COUNT with BRIAN URLACHER, presented by RESTORE – CSN proudly presents the network on-air debut of one of the most popular players in Bears history as The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE premieres on Thursday, September 15 at 10:30 PM.  Featuring the eight-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker and former NFC Defensive Player of the Year, Urlacher will be joined each week by host Mark Schanowski and additional panelists, which include former Bears standout QB/Bears Pre-Post Game Live analyst Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt.  This new, weekly, half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, featuring the prospective from a defensive (Urlacher), offensive (Miller), and coaching (Wannstedt) standpoint.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Urlacher and the crew, along with additional special feature segments.   Weekly premiere airings of The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher, presented by RESTORE will take place regularly on Thursday nights at 10:30 PM.

THE LANCE BRIGGS SHOW – Bears fans can also look forward to the return of The Lance Briggs Show, featuring host Pat Boyle and seven-time Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs.  This half-hour program provides fans with a complete preview of the Bears’ next game, including a discussion about all the key plays from the team’s previous contest.  Highlighted segments from the show include a social media fan interactive segment with select questions to be answered by Briggs, along with the popular, two-minute “Hurry Up” segment with Boyle firing off a multitude of questions to Briggs.   The season premiere of The Lance Briggs Show on Comcast SportsNet airs Tuesday, September 13 at 11:00 PM.  Weekly premiere airings will take place regularly on Tuesday nights at 11:00 PM with repeats to be shown at varied times on Wednesday afternoons.

SPORTSNET CENTRAL: INSIDE THE HUDDLE (featuring Dave Wannstedt) presented by Ankin Law – Debuting Sunday, September 11 at 10:30 PM and airing every Sunday night at 10:30 PM during the Bears/NFL season, SportsNet Central: Inside the Huddle presented by Ankin Law features the in-studio appearance of NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, who will discuss the day’s game in detail and offer his thoughts on what the Bears did right or wrong in that particular’s day’s game.  Plus, the half-hour show will showcase full NFL highlights from all the day’s key match-ups.  In addition, all season long, SportsNet Central’s team of anchors and reporters will provide the very latest Bears/NFL updates nightly at 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM, 10:30 PM and midnight.

PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY – Entering its 29th season on television, Pro Football Weekly is a half-hour program hosted by SportsNet Central’s Pat Boyle and features an expert panel led by Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton, NFL expert/former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt and PFW founder Hub Arkush.  The program’s in-depth preview analysis and unique format make the show a preferred vehicle for football fans desiring the most thorough coverage of the NFL.  This hard-hitting program features the latest NFL news reports, opinions and insider information.  Pro Football Weekly makes its regular season premiere on Friday, September 2 at 5:00 PM with regular weekly debuts airing on Fridays at 4:30 PM while replays can be seen Saturday afternoons/evenings at varied times and Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM.

3 AND OUT – Debuting Wednesday, September 7 at 6:30 PM on CSN+, NBC Sports Regional Networks’ football analysis and debate program 3 and Out returns for its fourth season on CSN Chicago, which will also air on Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks across the country.  Hosted by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chick Hernandez, this fast-paced, weekly 30-minute program features hard-hitting opinions via CSN New England host of “Felger & Maz” Michael Felger, along with former Pro Bowlers Brian Mitchell and Bill Romanowski.  For specific weekly air times, fan can check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.      

REAL FANTASY – CSN is known for its award winning NFL analysis.  Now, drawing on their unprecedented local inside access and nationwide via NBC Sports Group resources, CSN brings you the information you need to win your Fantasy Football league with Real Fantasy.  Debuting Friday, September 9 at 4:30 PM, Sebastian Salazar of CSN Mid Atlantic, Josh Norris of Rotoworld and Kay Adams of NFL Network draw on CSN and NBC personnel & perspective to bring you information beyond stats and depth charts, letting you know who to sit and who to play, who to keep and who to trade, AND how to WIN week in and week out.  Real Fantasy will air on Friday afternoons throughout the NFL season at varied times; viewers are urged to check their local listings or visit CSNChicago.com for weekly scheduled airings.

CHICAGO HUDDLE – Back for its fourth season on Comcast SportsNet, Chicago Huddle is hosted by former Bears longsnapper/17-year NFL veteran Patrick Mannelly, who will be joined each week by Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman, defensive back Tracy Porter, along with special appearances from other Bears standouts during the season. Taped at Chili’s in Vernon Hills, Chicago Huddle provides fans with an in-depth, weekly Bears review/preview/interview show throughout the entire 2016 campaign.  The season premiere airs on Friday, September 16 at 11:30 PM with replay airings at varied times on Saturdays, along with Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM. 

SPORTSTALK LIVE presented by The Chevy Silverado – Comcast SportsNet sets the table with lively sports talk every Monday through Friday night at 5:30 PM on SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado.  Throughout the 2016 NFL season, SportsTalk Live host David Kaplan and a panel of local pro football experts (including former Bears longsnapper Patrick Mannelly every Monday), along with guests from local sports talk radio and national media, will breakdown the games and preview the match-ups that lie ahead for the Bears and other key games from around the NFL.  In addition, SportsTalk Live will also feature a number of special guests from the world of football all season long, including appearances from players, coaches, celebrities and many more.

CSNCHICAGO.COM Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 24/7 Bears and NFL coverage all season long via its “Bears Talk” platform featuring the following digital and social media highlights this season:  

  • Bears Pulse a one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Plus, “Bears Pulse” aggregates all Bears player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #BearsTalk.
  • John “Moon” Mullin – CSNChicago.com’s resident Bears “Insider” returns for his eighth season on the beat.  Fans can follow Mullin at Twitter @CSNMoonMullin for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7.  Mullin will also file daily stories/video reports, which include his popular “View from the Moon” segments, and will make regular on-air appearances throughout the season on Bears Pre/Postgame Live, SportsTalk Live and SportsNet Central.
  • CSNChicago.com digital BearsTalk contributor Scott Krinch (@scottiekrinch) and Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also be providing game day reports, analysis and features.
  • BearsTalk, presented by Max Madsen – CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bears news section featuring original commentary, news reports, trades and rumor via contributions from Mullin, Boden, Lewis, and other in-house experts as they lend their knowledge and expertise to the latest happenings in the NFC North, as well as league-wide. BearsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and GolfTalkCentral. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk and BearsTalk, which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • FacebookFacebook Live “Bears Warm-up” – A half-hour prior to every edition of Bears Pregame Live, host Chris Boden, along with analysts Alex Brown and Jim Miller, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on CSN Chicago’s official Facebook page: Facebook.com/CSNChicago. Bears fans will have an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.
  • TwitterBears Talk (@CSNBears) is THE Twitter source for Bears breaking news, updates, rumors, trade and much more 24/7.  Fans are encouraged to use #BearsTalk to voice their opinions and interact with CSN reporters and analysts.  Additional must-follow Twitter handles include @CSNBoden (Chris Boden), @CSNkiplewis (Kip Lewis), @15miller (Jim Miller), Alex Brown (@alexbrown96) and @LanceBriggs (Lance Briggs).
  • CSNChicago.com’s Bears content will also be distributed via its digital network of partnerships including NBCSports.com, NBCNews.com, Yahoo! Sports and Xfinity.com.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet will be airing four, brand new BEARS CLASSICS documentaries this fall/winter.  More specific details and air dates for these specials will be announced separately in the coming weeks.