McClellin promoted to first team, Idonije moved inside

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McClellin promoted to first team, Idonije moved inside

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. The play of Shea McClellin in last Thursdays preseason game against the Denver Broncos has earned the rookie defensive end a major promotion and has the Bears looking at changes to the foundation of their nickel pass rush.
McClellin, who had a sack, two quarterback hits and a tackle for loss against the Denver Broncos, was moved up with the No. 1 unit opposite Julius Peppers. Israel Idonije, perhaps the Bears most versatile defensive lineman and who has played tackle during his Bears career, moved inside to tackle with Henry Melton.
We give guys reps and we keep giving them reps and let them tell us where they go from there, coach Lovie Smith told CSNChicago.com. Thats whats happening right now. Shea McClellin and rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, I was pleased with what they did the first time out.
Shea is a good football player. Weve been saying that. It takes time but we see what he can become. And Izzy has rushed on the inside so were just trying to get those best four.
McClellin continued to make plays in full-team sessions. He surprised Gabe Carimi with a right-handed club move ala Reggie White and beat the right tackle back to the inside.
(For the record, he also tried it again later in practice. He may as well have been forearming a redwood. Advantage: Carimi).

Bears release Omar Bolden, sign Charles Tillman to one-day contract

Bears release Omar Bolden, sign Charles Tillman to one-day contract

The Bears released a player who was expected to be a special teams contributor next season and signed a player who officially retired from the NFL on Friday.

After signing Charles Tillman to a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Bears, the team terminated the contract of defensive back Omar Bolden.

Bolden originally signed a one-year deal with the Bears last March after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Denver Broncos, including the first three years under current Bears head coach John Fox and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The 27-year-old Bolden, who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015, has amassed 27 special teams tackles and 24 defensive tackles in 56 career games. Bolden has also added 1,085 yards on 44 kickoff returns and 123 yards and a touchdown on five punt returns.

The Bears 90-man roster currently sits at 89.

Bears: The one thing Charles Tillman will miss the most in retirement

Bears: The one thing Charles Tillman will miss the most in retirement

When Charles Tillman arrived at Halas Hall Friday morning, after a season in Carolina as a Panther but now retiring from the game, Bears President Ted Phillips was there to bring Tillman back where he and the Bears knew he belonged.

“Welcome back home,” Phillips said to Tillman.

For Tillman, it was a 13-year love affair with a passion of his – football – that officially ended on Friday, with the 2003 second-round draft choice of the Bears signing a one-day contract that allowed him to retire as a Chicago Bear.

“I think I’ve done OK,” Tillman reflected as his family and members of the Bears organization looked on.

But Tillman, named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013, was also clear beyond the “I” part of his observation: “I didn’t do this all by myself,” he said, repeatedly remembering Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris, Chris Harris and a litany of teammates he credited with much of what he was able to do.

[RELATED - Athletes react to Tillman's retirement]

Bears Chairman George McCaskey spoke of Tillman in terms beyond football.

“Every once in a while a player comes along with uncommon ability and tenacity on the field and unsurpassed compassion and charitable spirit off the field, the kind that makes us grateful as fans and proud as an organization,” McCaskey said. “Charles Tillman was such a player and is such a person.

“For 12 seasons, he made life miserable for Bears opponents, revolutionizing his position and adding ‘Peanut Punch’ to the football vernacular. In the community, in countless hospital rooms, he counseled the worried parents with a 'been there' perspective and a sympathetic ear and offered them hope. He also supported the brave men and women who defend our great country.”

The decision to leave the game after starting 12 games last season with the Carolina Panthers was not difficult in the end for Tillman.

“I woke up one day and said, ‘I’m done,’” said Tillman, who’d been talked out of several retirement impulses by his wife over recent years, the last three of which ended with him on injured reserve.

A career marked by myriad highlights contained a couple that were the most notable. The first one that Tillman mentioned was the game in 2003 when he got the better of legendary wideout Randy Moss of the Minnesota Vikings, including out-fighting Moss in the end zone for a game-saving interception.

“It showed the world I could play with anybody,” said Tillman, acknowledging that he carried a chip on his shoulder, coming out of a small unknown college (Louisiana-Lafayette) and working to overcome doubters.

Tillman also cited the 2006 season, which ended in the Super Bowl in no small part because of efforts like Tillman’s in the comeback win at Arizona, in which he returned a fumble for one of the Bears’ second-half touchdowns in the 24-23 win over the Cardinals.

But it was less the highlights than one specific off-the-field part of his football life that will miss. Asked what he in fact would miss the most, Tillman’s answer was immediate:

“The locker room. The locker room, more than anything. Not the games, not the… just the locker room in general. The games that we played in there: the ‘box ‘em up,’ the ‘4-square’…

“You know, we’d have a 10-minute break out a meeting and we would literally, I called it ‘Team Got Boredom.’ You get bored so you just make up a game. And we would make up some of the craziest games. We had a soccer game that we used to play. I think the most volleys we had off this little soccer ball was like 90 and the entire team was playing. So more than anything that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Tillman has been hired by FOX to be part of their NFL coverage. But as for staying involved in the game as, say, a coach?

“Absolutely not,” Tillman declared.

He will be coaching his kids in their various activities, but overall, “I’m going to try to enjoy retirement, being the dad, I drive all my kids around, so I call myself the ‘d’uber guy. I’m a duber. Really, just be a family guy. I’ve got the Fox gig, so I’m one of [the media] now. So I guess I’m a journalist. I’m a black anchorman. That’s what I’m going to do. The black anchorman. We’re going to get into fights. We can meet up at like Jackson Park. I’ll have my crew. You’ll have your crew. We can get down. Get a little anchorman fight going on. Something like that. But we’ll keep it casual, respectful.”

Former NFL, Northwestern coach Dennis Green - famous for Bears rant - dies

Former NFL, Northwestern coach Dennis Green - famous for Bears rant - dies

Former NFL coach Dennis Green passed away Friday morning, according to Adam Schefter:

Green was the head coach for Northwestern from 1981-85, his first head coaching position. 

He later went on to become head coach for the Minnesota Vikings for 10 years from 1992-2001 and held the same position with the Arizona Cardinals from 2004-06.

It was in 2006 when Green really became a household name.

Following a loss to the Bears, Green delivered maybe the most memorable postgame press conference tirades in the last couple decades, if not ever:

In that game on Oct. 16, 2006, the Bears clawed back from a 20-point deficit to beat Green's Cardinals 24-23.

The Bears committed six turnovers and were trailing 23-3 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter when safety Mike Brown recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.

From there, Charles Tillman also recorded a fumble return TD and then Devin Hester put the finishing touches on the comeback with an 83-yard punt return TD. 

During his time at Northestern, Green was named the Big Ten Coach of the year in 1982. He was also the second African-American head coach in Division I-A history.