Chicago Bears

Word on the Street: Urlacher, Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Word on the Street: Urlacher, Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Urlacher and Briggs back out of Pro Bowl

Bears' linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. Urlacher will be replaced by Washington linebacker London Fletcher.

The Carolina Panthers announced that Jon Beason will take Briggs' place.

It is unknown if Julius Peppers or Devin Hester will participate in the Pro Bowl, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Peppers, Hester named to AP All-Pro team

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and kick returner Devin Hester were named to the Associated Press' NFL All-Pro team. The Bears were the only team in the NFC with more than one representative on the team.

This is the third time both players have been honored. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Bulls acquiring Rip Hamilton?

Although Rip Hamilton never gets off the bench, the veteran guard willbe dealt by the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Fox Sports Ohio reports that deal could possibly involveDenvers Carmelo Anthony. Chicago, Dallas and Portland are also said tobe in the running for Hamilton. (Fox Sports Ohio)

Cutler and Cavallari eat out after NFC loss

Following the Bears' loss to the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Jay Cutler and girlfriend Kristin Cavallari dined at Mastro's Steakhouse. Cutler was not on crutches at the restaurant, but according to a source, "he limped a tiny bit." Eleven other people joined the quarterback and reality star in Mastro's private upstairs dining room.

Cutler was not the only Bear eating out after the NFC loss. Greg Olsen and J'Marcus Webb had dinner at Hub 51, after which Webb went on to Bull & Bear later that night. Danieal Manning dined at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

Several teammates, including Chester Taylor, Garrett Wolfe, Major Wright, D.J. Moore, Kahlil Bell and Corey Wootton hung out at Lumen in West Town. (Chicago Tribune)

Bears' Idonije finalist for NFL Man of the Year Award

The Bears will not be in the Super Bowl, but Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije is scheduled to be headed to the North Texas area as a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which will be handed out during Super Bowl Week.

It was announced Sunday that Nnamdi Asomugha of the Oakland Raiders, Madieu Williams of the Vikings and Idonije are the top candidates for this year's award, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Ozzie passed on Jenks for Sale

On the last day of SoxFest 2011, Ozzie guillen said that as the 2010 season drew to a close, he passed on the opportunity to pitch closer Bobby Jenks so he could get a few more looks at the young talented hurler Chris Sale. Guillen said that Jenks told him he was ready to return to action in the last few days of the season.

"In the meanwhile, I wanted to see (Chris) Sale to see if he could handle the situation," Guillen said, "I think (Jenks) was a little upset about it. What's the difference?" (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Shani Davis takes 3rd

Chicago native Shani Davis took third place in the Sprint Speedskating world championships on Sunday. Lee Kyou-hyuk of South Korea finished in first place, with his fellow countryman Mo Tae-Bum finishing second overall. Davis skated well on the final day of the event, winning the 1,000-meter race, but was at a severe disadvantage after finishing a disappointing sixth in the 500-meter event on Saturday.

"He had to skate four solid races this weekend," Davis' coach Peter Mueller said. "If he had skated as well today as he did yesterday he might have had a chance, but Lee is very hard to beat." (USA Today)

Bears: Kyle Long looks set for 2017 debut while Josh Sitton doubtful for Week 3

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USA TODAY

Bears: Kyle Long looks set for 2017 debut while Josh Sitton doubtful for Week 3

Kyle Long was a full participant in back-to-back practices Thursday and Friday, and wasn't listed on the team's injury report Friday, clearing the path for the three-time Pro Bowler to make his 2017 debut Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s been a lengthy, grueling process for Long to get to this point, with significant muscle atrophy in his ankle and a setback during training camp further delaying his return to the field. 

Where Long plays in his 2017 debut will be interesting to watch. The Bears have planned on moving him from right guard to left guard, though with Josh Sitton doubtful with a rib injury, Long — who didn’t get many full-team reps at left guard during training camp anyway — could start on the right side Sunday. 

Part of the equation, too, is that Cody Whitehair has more experience with the Bears at left guard, where he played until Sitton was signed before the beginning of the 2016 season. If Tom Compton (hip, questionable?) can’t play on Sunday, Whitehair presumably will move to guard while Hroniss Grasu will start at center. Whitehair did play both left and right guard in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to the injuries to Sitton and Compton. 

No matter where Long starts, though, his return will provide a boost to an offensive line that’s been flooded with extra defenders against the run so far this year. The Steelers would be smart to take the same stack-the-box approach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did, which led to Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen being limited to 20 yards on 16 carries. 

Fox said Long won't be on a concrete snap count, but the Bears will evaluate him throughout the game. But even if Long isn’t 100 percent, or doesn’t play 100 percent of the snaps, he can be a difference-maker for an offense that’s needed difference-makers in 2017. 

“I mean, the expectations are where they left off when I left. I always have high expectations,” Long said. “If you play the game you change the game. If you’re out there doing anything other than that then you’re just witnessing it, you’re watching. It’s not a spectator sport.”

How the Bears coached up Tarik Cohen after his punt return mistake in Tampa

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USA TODAY

How the Bears coached up Tarik Cohen after his punt return mistake in Tampa

It’s not that Bears special teams coach Jeff Rodgers never wants Tarik Cohen to try to pick up another punt that’s bouncing deep into Bears territory. It’s just that he doesn’t want the explosive rookie to try to pick up the ball when he’s surrounded by multiple defenders. 

That’s what Cohen did on Sunday, leading to a prompt fumble recovered by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which needed only one play to get in the end zone after the fourth-round pick’s gaffe. The challenge for Rodgers then is coaching up Cohen to retain his aggressiveness, but not make the same mistake twice. 

“We’re not down on the kid,” Rodgers said. “He’s trying to make an aggressive play and that’s always going to be in his nature. That’s what you like about the kid. 

“… I think you’ve just got to coach him as time goes on and say, ‘hey, the reason why you wouldn’t do something like that in this situation is because of this,’ or ‘this was a good play because of that.’ It’s so hard as a coach to prepare a player for every possible scenario, so you’re trying to give him general guidelines and rules to follow in the different situations he finds himself in.”

Cohen said after Sunday’s game he wanted to keep the ball from bleeding further toward the Bears’ goal line. He owned his mistake and made no excuses for it, saying if he faces that situation again he won’t try to grab the ball. 

But Rodgers pointed out a pair of punt return touchdowns that began with a player picking up a bouncing ball deep in their own territory: This from Tavon Austin and this Trindon Holliday score. Cohen has the skill to make a similar play, so Rodgers doesn’t want him avoiding every single bouncing ball from here on out. 

He just wants Cohen to be smarter when confronted with a bouncing ball and a handful of defenders surrounding him. 

“You’re not trying to dwell on the negative and keep reminding him that he made a mistake on the field,” Rodgers said. “You’re trying to coach him as best we can before those things happen and say, ‘hey, if you ever get in this situation...’ But a lot of that is learning experience. Unfortunately that one didn’t work out but hopefully next time, based on field position, based on proximity of opponent players, he’ll make a different decision.