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.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee OLB Derek Barnett

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee OLB Derek Barnett

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Derek Barnett, OLB, Tennessee

6'3" | 259 lbs.

2016 stats:

56 tackles, 19 TFL, 13 sacks, INT, 5 PD, 2 FF

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Strong edge presence with NFL-caliber hand usage and play strength. Barnett is one of the most productive defensive linemen to come out of the SEC in quite some time despite lacking the length and twitch that teams usually look for off the edge. His awareness and play traits should keep him near the action and he has the talent to step into a starting base end spot right away. There could be coordinators who view him as an early down, outside backer in a 3-4 with the ability to put his hand in the ground on sub packages." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

PHOENIX — When the 2014 season concluded, with all its drama, poor play and internal dysfunction, Bears Chairman George McCaskey passed along the unvarnished mood of Bears matriarch and owner Virginia McCaskey:
 
"She's pissed off," George McCaskey declared.
 
The 2016 season ended worse record-wise (3-13) than 2014 (5-11) but Bears ownership sees arrows pointing up, not down as they appeared after 2014, occasioning the jettisoning of the general manager and coaching staff.
 
"[Virginia] sees the progress, but like any Bears fan, she wants results," George McCaskey said, chuckling at the recollection of relaying his mother's mood. "That's the quote that won't go away."
 
"Progress" and "results" are vague terms, and sometimes relative. But Bears ownership is not setting a public fail-safe point for either general manager Ryan Pace or head coach John Fox to remain in place, although no scenario could presumably consider four wins actual "progress" from three.
 
"We want to continue to see progress, see the building blocks but there isn't any sort of particular threshold," McCaskey confirmed. "We're not on any particular timetable that somebody else is wanting to set for us. We're wanting to see continued progress toward our goal of sustained success."
 
"Sustained success" is not beyond the scope of possibility, assuming that a talent core can be established and includes a quarterback, which the personnel department under Pace believe it is on the brink of putting in place, whether around Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez or a player to be drafted or traded for later.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]
 
GM Phil Emery adopted the buzz phrase of "multiple championships," but current leadership does sound less grandiose and more grounded. And where Emery drafts proved disastrous, the Pace administration has had clear hits, injuries notwithstanding, as recently as the 2016 class, which McCaskey mentioned in the context of Pace building the roster exactly the way ownership prefers.
 
"We have confidence in Ryan and John," McCaskey said. "We want to build through the draft. Ryan said that in his interview when he said he was interested in coming to the Bears and we like how he's stuck to that plan. We saw it last year when we had three rookies on the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team; Cody Whitehair, Leonard Floyd and Jordan Howard.
 
"And that's what we need to keep doing; keep building through the draft. I told Ryan he should get ripped this time of year every year for not being more active in free agency and that's because we're developing our own guys and rewarding our own guys."
 
McCaskey supported the actions, or lack of same, by Pace in the pursuit of max-dollar free agents this offseason. The Bears dropped out of sweepstakes for cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Tony Jefferson, among others, when prices spiked far beyond the parameters set by the Pace staff.
 
"I've been very impressed with [Pace] as a leader, as an evaluator of talent," McCaskey said. "And one of the things I've been most impressed by with him is the discipline he's shown just as recently as this free agency period. He didn't want to overpay guys. Too often, I think, you overpay guys who don't come through for you and then you have a big hole in your salary cap and you're behind the 8-ball. So I like the discipline he has shown, the restraint he has shown in free agency."