Bears strongly backing concussion legislation

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Bears strongly backing concussion legislation

Friday, March 11, 2011Posted: 2:20 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

On the matter of lasting effects from concussions, Bears greats Richard Dent and Otis Wilson had a slight difference of opinion.

I never had a concussion, Wilson insisted, walking away with a laugh. I gave concussions.

His Hall of Fame teammate demurred.

He doesnt remember, Dent said, shaking his head. He had some, Im pretty sure he had some blank-out moments. But hes 55 now so he doesnt recall.

Wilsons number was 55; his age is 53. And somehow you know The Colonel knew that.

The two Super Bowl XX greats were on hand Friday at Soldier Field to add their support to that of the Bears organization, in the persons of Vice Chairman George McCaskey, President Ted Phillips and head athletic trainer Tim Bream, in support of legislation in the state Senate to take on the challenge of concussion legislation.

Im also the father of three sons whove grown up in athletics, Phillips said. So I know that injuries will always occur in high school sports and youth sports. This legislation is not a cure-all but I think it will go a long way to prevent needless head injuries and might even save lives among the young kids, boys and girls, in this state who are athletes.

We at the Bears are pledged to do whatever we can to help see that this legislation becomes law as quickly as possible.

The legislation, with the backing of House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), would require all school boards to adopt a multi-level policy regarding student-athlete concussions and head injuries.

This is a great thing for high school sports in Illinois because it creates a solid platform on concussions that we can all build upon, said 1980s Bears guard Kurt Becker, assistant head football coach at Marmion Academy in Aurora. Its putting the puzzle together. If the puzzle comes together with concussions and the inherent risks that follow concussions, its a scary situation.

The timing on this is tremendous. And the nice thing is that coaches arent involved in the decision. The student-athlete goes into the hands of the first responder, which is the trainer.

It wasnt always that way, as too many athletes know.

It used to be, Get up and try it again, son, Dent said, adding that the solution also will involve other on-field adjustments.

Kids are more aware now. You can wrestle and get a concussion. This is a collision sport. Youre putting a defensive player in jeopardy when you tell him how he can come in, yet the running back can still drop his head and run over you. Sooner or later youre going to get more shoulder, more neck problems.

Youve got to support the spine and support the shoulders.

Wilson stressed the inherent risks that come with a collision sport but I think is a good thing theyre trying to do stop concussion problems at an early age.

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.

Report: CB K'Waun Williams fails physical with Bears

Report: CB K'Waun Williams fails physical with Bears

The Bears search for cornerback depth will continue.

K'Waun Williams, who the Bears were awarded off waivers from the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday, failed his physical and will now become a free agent, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 25-year-old Williams was suspended by the Browns for two weeks after he refused to play due to an injury in the team's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers. Following the team-issued two-week suspension, the Browns waived Williams.

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Williams, who signed with the Browns as undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh in 2014, served as the Browns starting nickel cornerback over the past two seasons. In 26 career games, Williams amassed 60 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles and two passes defended.

The Bears will have to look elsewhere for cornerback depth as starters' Tracy Porter (concussion), Kyle Fuller (knee) and nickel corner Bryce Callahan (hamstring) are currently sidelined.

The Bears roster now stands at 74.

Bears claim Browns castoff defensive back K’Waun Williams

Bears claim Browns castoff defensive back K’Waun Williams

This could be interesting.

Bears coach John Fox made a passing reference to “owies” last week, an apparent reference to the typical nicks and bruises that players suffer, presumably falling on the safe side of the pain-vs.-injury line. Coaches like players to play when they can.

The Cleveland Browns suspended K’Waun Williams this offseason for two weeks after the former No. 1 Cleveland nickel cornerback refused to play in the Aug. 12 Browns preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Now the Bears have claimed Williams, 25, waiving cornerback Kevin Peterson, and hope Williams is past what the Browns look to have deemed just their version of an “owie.”

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Williams’ release comes after a convoluted disagreement between player and team, with Williams obtaining medical opinions that he needed surgery to remove bone spurs from an ankle. The team said that Williams never informed them of his ankle problems until the day after the Green Bay game.

The Bears have struggled mightily this preseason to find anything close to a healthy cornerback. Starters Kyle Fuller (knee) and Tracy Porter (concussion) are currently sidelined along with nickel corner Bryce Callahan (hamstring). Jacoby Glenn started for Fuller at New England but also left with a concussion.

Bears O-line will benefit from ripple effect whenever Kyle Long returns

Bears O-line will benefit from ripple effect whenever Kyle Long returns

Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long continued doing work on the side of Bears practice on Tuesday. He won’t play Thursday at Cleveland, but he represents a looming one-man shakeup of the offensive line — in a positive way — when he returns from a shoulder injury, presumably next week.

Coach John Fox demurred from saying that Long will be in the lineup when the Bears open the regular season Sept. 11 in Houston.

“We’re anticipating him at least being back out there to get ready for Houston,” was as far as Fox would go on Tuesday.

But Ted Larsen, who has filled in for Long at right guard while Cornelius Edison worked as the No. 1 center, has been taking some snaps at center, a hint that Long might be on course for a return for Houston.

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When that happens, it will effectively improve all three interior-line positions at the same time.

The upgrade at right guard is immediate and obvious. When Long was pressed into an emergency shift to right tackle the week before the opener vs. Green Bay last year, it sent Vlad Ducasse into the starting lineup at Long’s preferred spot. Long now represents an obvious upgrade over Larsen.

Installing Larsen at center, where he went after Hroniss Grasu suffered his season-ending knee injury, upgrades the center position over Edison, who has never played an NFL game.

The third upgrade happens at left guard, where rookie Cody Whitehair has settled in at the job he stepped into when Larsen was out late in the offseason. Whitehair is a rookie; Larsen, who has played center during his career, is better able to help Whitehair than Edison, certainly at this point in the latter’s career.