Mullin: Little optimism that 2011 will start on time

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Mullin: Little optimism that 2011 will start on time

Thursday, April 14, 2011Posted: 10:55 AM
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

I was hoping for a little more encouraging answer from somewhere on the panel to my question of Given that a labor settlement is generally expected at some point, whats your pick for the month when we have football again?

The overall issue before the Chicago Chapter of the National Sports Marketing Network on Wednesday was The impact of a Work Stoppage on Sports Business: What Can We Expect and How Do We Prepare? Terry Lefton, editor-at-large for Sports Business DailySportsBusiness Journal, served as moderator for the group.

And the best anyone expected was from Comcast SportsNet Chicago colleague and two-time Super Bowl winner Howard Griffith, whose thought was late August, maybe September. What that would mean is no Bears in Canton, O., for the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7 and probably no training camp in Bourbonnais.

Judge Susan Nelson has mandated federal mediation but Howard suggested that personalities, specifically NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players chief DeMaurice Smith, may be more of a factor that is being noted.

Not that either is a problem per se, but both are in their first negotiations with the other side and nobody wants to be the one to go back to his side and say, Well, I got a deal but its not quite the deal we wanted.

(Were not going to spiral off too far here into the latest on the labor matter; I hate writing about it and Im guessing that you hate reading about it. But some particularly interesting thoughts came up at the get-together.)

Mike McCartney, director of football operations at Priority Sports and a former member of front offices with the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, represents a number of top NFL players and predicted that when free agency does arrive in whatever form its going to be this year, Its going to be crazy.

McCartney, whose prediction of when the impasse breaks was pegged to whether Judge Nelson stops the lockout and the decision is upheld on appeal, also offered that I dont think were ever going to get to an 18-game schedule.

Probably the most pessimistic forecast was from agent Kristen Kuliga of K Sports & Entertainment LLC out of Boston, who voted for October as the seasons starting point. Kristen was very concise on details of the proceedings to this point, and she did candidly note that players do not like the lockout situation but they also arent particularly put out to be missing the offseason programs mandated by some teams.

Bob Dittrich, VP of Client Services for MillerCoors, threw out something a lot of you are only too aware of. What happens with fantasy leagues, now such a big part of the game? Nobody knows whos going to be on what teams, he said.

The hard part in all of this is trying to gauge who may blink first, where a crack might occur. I was told as far back as last season by an NFC team higher-up that he had never seen the owners as unified as they were and appear to still be. And as former Chicago Tribune colleague David Haugh said Wednesday, Its a lot easier to keep 32 billionaires together than 1,900 players.

Strictly speaking

Catch CSNPhilly.com colleague Ray Didinger with Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk Live this morning after 11 a.m.

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: Bears set to hire Curtis Modkins as running backs coach

Report: Bears set to hire Curtis Modkins as running backs coach

Bears Pro Bowl running back Jordan Howard will have a new positional coach in 2017.

According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Bears are expected to hire former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins as their running backs coach.

Before joining the 49ers in 2016, Modkins served as the Detroit Lions running backs coach from 2013-15. Modkins broke into the NFL as a running backs coach with Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. After serving one year in Kansas City, Modkins left for the same job with the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. The following season Modkins took a promotion with the Buffalo Bills, becoming the team's offensive coordinator from 2010-12.

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Modkins will be reunited in Chicago with reported new Bears offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn. The duo worked together for three seasons with the Lions from 2013-15.

The Bears were in need of a new running backs coach after Stan Drayton departed to take an associate head coaching job under Tom Herman at the University of Texas.

CSN to chronicle a dominant New Year's Day playoff performance on the next installment of Bears Classics

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CSN to chronicle a dominant New Year's Day playoff performance on the next installment of Bears Classics

‘Bears Classics’ presented by Xfinity to debut Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT -- Exclusively on CSN

Narrated by Chicago Bears/Pro Football Hall of Fame legend DICK BUTKUS

Chicago, IL (January 18, 2017) – CSN Chicago and the Chicago Bears will debut a brand new installment of its partnered Bears Classics presented by Xfinity Emmy award-winning documentary series when the network will once again go back in time to highlight a dominant victory in team playoff history, one that pitted an initially-designated back-up QB…against a future Hall of Famer.     

Debuting Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT exclusively on CSN, Bears Classics will turn back the clock to New Year’s Day 1995, the date of the NFC Wild Card game against the rival Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.  The 1994 season was a time of transition for the Bears with roster of new stars as more familiar names had left town.  Dave Wannstedt was in his second season as head coach, and working to establish a new identity for the Bears after being hired in 1993 to replace the legendary Mike Ditka.  From injury and inconsistent play, starting quarterback Erik Kramer was benched.  Backup Steve Walsh then took over and led the Bears to a winning season at 9-7, but the road to the playoffs went through Minnesota, home of the NFC Central champions.  The 10-6 Vikings were led by veteran quarterback and future Hall of Famer Warren Moon, and in ’94, Moon and his purple gang defeated the Bears in both regular season meetings, however, the Bears were determined to reverse that course.  This NFC Wild Card matchup on New Year’s Day 1995 was the first time--and to date, the only time--that the Bears and Vikings met in the playoffs. 

This hour-long installment of Bears Classics, subtitled Eclipsing Moon - Bears vs. Vikings, January 1st, 1995, takes an in-depth look at this critical game in Bears history featuring candid interviews with Bears players and coaches, Viking opponents, along with those who covered this massively-hyped battle. 

This edition of CSN’s Emmy-winning Bears Classics documentary series will once again be narrated by Chicago Bears legend/Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.  Butkus played for the Bears from 1965-1973 and is credited for redefining the middle linebacker position.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.  CSN’s Sarah Lauch is the Executive Producer of Bears Classics, Willie Parker is the Producer, and Kevin Cross is the network’s Senior Director of News & Original Content.

In addition to the documentary narration by Butkus, among the numerous players/media/execs interviewed in this edition of Bears Classics include exclusive interviews with the following individuals:

DAVE WANNSTEDT

Bears Head Coach (1993-98)

WARREN MOON

Vikings Quarterback (1994-96)

CURTIS CONWAY

Bears Wide Receiver (1993-99)

TOM WADDLE

Bears Wide Receiver (1989-94)

STEVE WALSH

Bears Quarterback (1994-95)

RAYMONT HARRIS

Bears Running Back (1994-97)

JAMES “BIG CAT” WILLIAMS

Bears Tackle (1991-2002)

Please note the following quotes from CSN’s premiere airing of Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon - Bears vs. Vikings, January 1st, 1995, debuting Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT:

DAVE WANNSTEDT (on the Bears’ mood as an underdog in the playoffs): “I think our guys had a hidden sense of confidence, a hidden sense of excitement…I remember when we went up there, our guys were excited about playing the football game.”

WARREN MOON (on facing the Bears three times during the ’94 season): “We get into the playoffs and have to play them a third time, to beat a team three times is kind of tough in the same year because they know you so well, especially being from your same division.”

TOM WADDLE (on the Bears’ playoff performance): “At no point did we ever feel we were blowing them out, because I don’t know if we had a capacity to blow anybody out that year, but we were in control.”

RAYMONT HARRIS (on Warren Moon): “(The Vikings) were so talented, Warren Moon was so good.  He had the ability to not just hone in on one receiver…because he could’ve done that.  He had one of the greatest receivers to ever play pro football in Cris Carter.”

STEVE WALSH (on gaining the confidence of teammates as backup QB): “If that locker room believes in that quarterback, generally that guy is going to be successful.  If they don’t, then they’re not…and I think in that year in ’94, there was some uncertainty.”

CSN will also re-air this episode of Bears Classics on Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM.  In addition, fans can also get interactive prior and during every airing of Bears Classics with their thoughts, memories and comments by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsClassics.  Plus, CSNChicago.com will provide additional, online exclusive interviews and commentary write-ups from CSN’s team of Bears experts.