Hester: Media, 'false' fans 'got what you all wanted'

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Hester: Media, 'false' fans 'got what you all wanted'

For some the reaction was anger.I mean the media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted, said wide receiver Devin Hester. The majority of you all wanted him out. Players as players, we wanted him in. I guess the fans -- the false fans -- out-ruled us...I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches Ive ever been around. He brought me in...Im going to go home and get away from football right now. I dont even know if I want to play again, man. Its been on my mind now for two years now.Defensive tackle Henry Melton slowly cleaned out his locker stall, placing items in the standard-issue garbage bag. But he also gave perhaps the clearest indication of how Bears players were feeling about the firing of Lovie Smith, for many the only head coach they have had in the NFL.I dont want to talk about it, Melton said quietly, the emotion very apparent as his voice wavered ever so slightly.Said quarterback Jay Cutler: Everyones surprised and shocked. 10-6 didnt get it done this year so its unfortunate.Smith was fired earlier Monday morning and met with his former players as a group at 11 a.m. to give them the news. It was a difficult moment and not one that many of his players neither agreed with nor understood.Even being in the situation of going from 7-1 to out of the playoffs didnt completely prepare some for what was coming.It hasnt all set yet, said tight end Kellen Davis. Coach Smith...crazy. Didnt see that coming, not one bit. It stinks being out of the playoffs but...You win 10 games, thats not an easy thing to do. A lot of changes coming this offseason.Indeed, because of the 10 wins, the 18 games over .500 for his tenure, the performance of what perennially has been one of the NFLs best defense, the dismissal was not a case of a just end of an era.Unfair. Unfair, said defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. I get it. I do get it. Ive been released and I get it.

Accountability feltSmith was done in primarily by failures on the part of his offense. To their credit, members of that unit felt a share of responsibility for the Smith firing.Absolutely. Absolutely, said Cutler. I take a lot of pride in the way that I play, and offensively, we didnt show up in the last four years for him. A lot of that blame is going to be on me. As soon as I heard he was fired, there was instant regret on what we could have done, what we should have done, offensively.Seeing Smith take the fall for breakdowns and failures on the field hurt.Its a tough situation to be in, to see a great man, a great coach, have to sit in front of a room and do that, said center and co-captain Roberto Garza. But this is the NFL. It happens. Unfortunately we put ourselves in this situation.And, in the world of NFL accountability, their head coach and staff as well.

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule: