Bears mourn passing of VP Tim McCaskey

Bears mourn passing of VP Tim McCaskey

Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011
Posted 7:59 p.m. Updated 8:50 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Sad news out of the Bears late Sunday, that Tim McCaskey, second-oldest of Ed and Virginias 11 children, had died of cancer.

Tim was sick for the past 17 months and somehow the Bears light is just a little bit dimmer tonight with his passing. Tim was a character, a certified character, and I think his default setting was imp, with a laugh and laugh lines that were signature.

So, a story he shared with me, one that was happening almost exactly 25 years ago:

After the Bears won Super Bowl XX, Michael McCaskey was celebrating with everyone else afterwards. Trouble was, Michael was being your basic older brother, had the Lombardi Trophy, and he wasnt letting it get too far out of hand. Tim wanted a piece of that action.

So Tim waited til Michael had to put the trophy down to use the rest room. Gone. Tim spirited it away behind some curtains for some pictures with his family. Michael was frantic searching for the lost Lombardi Trophy.

When Tim was done, he poked his head out through the curtains to be sure the coast was clear. He spied a backup player walking by and called him over.

Do you know me? Tim asked the player.

No, the player answered.

Good! Tim said, quickly thrust the trophy through the curtains and into the hands of the slack-jawed player, and ducked back behind the curtains.

That was Tim. The imp.

My feelings go out to Virginia McCaskey tonight. Our children arent supposed to pre-decease us, and this has to have been awfully painful for her, and for the rest of the family.

Tim was dedicated and took great pride in working for his familys business, the team said in a statement. He was proud to be part of the Chicago Bears family, and to him it was family.

Despite battling cancer over the past 17 months, Tim never allowed the illness to dampen the spirit and sense of humor he was known for at Halas Hall.

Tim, first and foremost , was a fan as passionate, loyal, critical, analytical, committed and devoted a Bears fan as there ever was, said the McCaskey family. The tenacity and dignity with which he fought this dreaded disease is an inspiration to all of us.

Tim was named to his vice president position in 1993 after a four-year, part-time affiliation with the club. He spent 18 years working for IMC Fertilizer Inc. and its predecessor along with a seven-year span with Ernst & Young prior to joining the Bears. He is a graduate of Notre Dame High School and Notre Dame University.

Tim is survived by his four children, eight grandchildren, 10 siblings and Virginia.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Mark Sanchez officially signs with Bears

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, Chris Emma, Seth Gruen and Danny Ecker join David Kaplan to discuss the Mark Sanchez signing. Does this mean the Bears won't draft a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft? 

Later, the White Sox named Jose Quintana their Opening Day starter, but lose Carlos Rodon and Todd Frazier to injuries. 

Finally, Robin Lopez is back after serving a one-game suspension. The panel looks at the Bulls matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below. 

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

Noise around QB Mark Sanchez misses bigger, far more important goal for Bears ’17 offseason

The tumult around the Bears quarterback position this offseason – signing Mike Glennon, cutting Jay Cutler, not signing Brian Hoyer, now signing Mark Sanchez – was to be expected. (Well, not all the brouhaha around Sanchez; if there has ever been more hyperventilating around the arriving backup quarterback, it’s escaping my recollections of a quarter-century on the beat.)

All of that, and a lot of the noise around Mike Glennon is really missing a larger point. A couple, really.

GM Ryan Pace established fixing the quarterback situation as a top priority, something it has been just about since Jim McMahon left, with the exception of a few Jay Cutler years. Doing that to any meaningful degree with the castoff options available in free agency or via trades wasn’t ever going to happen. What Pace has done with the quarterback situation, however, is more than a little intriguing.

The quarterback additions and subtractions, coupled with also suggest a draft plan far from locked in on a quarterback. The signings of Glennon and Sanchez don’t mean the Bears have solved their quarterback position, but it does mean the Bears have positioned themselves with the distinct option of NOT taking a quarterback – this year.

But here’s the bigger point.

Even with the optimum quarterback solution unavailable – Pace arguably did go best-available in his and the coaches’ minds with Glennon and Sanchez, all derision aside – Pace’s goal needs to be building a team that can reach a high playoff level regardless of quarterback.

Meaning: defense. And while the 2017 free agent and draft classes did not offer must-have quarterbacks in most evaluations, there are those elite-level defensive talents, and every indication is that the Bears will look there, in the draft, and should be. It had that feeling when the Bears, with ample, money to spend, backed away from day one free-agency runs at a couple of pricey defensive backs. The Bears simply think they can do better for less in the draft.

A perspective: With a defense at its levels during the Brian Urlacher era, the Bears could reach the NFC championship game with what they have at quarterback now. They did, twice, with Rex Grossman and with Cutler. Sanchez got to AFC championship games in each of his first two seasons. The Bears reached a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as their quarterback. They went 13-3 in 2001 with a solid-but-unspectacular Jim Miller as their quarterback. They reached the 2005 playoffs with Kyle Orton as their starter most of that year, and should have been in the 2008 playoffs with him as well. The Bears reached the NFC championship game in 2010 with Cutler.

There is a common denominator in all of these situations, and it is within Pace’s grasp, and that was an elite defense. Rex Ryan had one with the Jets and Sanchez, Grossman and Orton and Cutler had theirs with Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Mike Brown, Tommie Harris, Charles Tillman, etc.

Forget the quarterback situation for now. Nothing anyone, including Pace, can really do anything about it (other than land possibly Deshaun Watson, based on their turnout at his Pro Day).

But if Pace and his personnel staff do this right, they can lay in the foundation for something elite on defense that will transcend the quarterback, or at least allow the Bears to play more than 16 games in a season even if they do not have a great quarterback. With the Urlacher core defense, the Bears went to postseasons with four different quarterbacks.

The prime directive now for Ryan Pace is to create precisely that model again.