Gould, McManis, Steltz to IR, PK Mare signed

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Gould, McManis, Steltz to IR, PK Mare signed

Less than a week before a pivotal meeting with the Green Bay Packers, the Bears' special teams took a series of blows on Tuesday when kicker Robbie Gould and No. 2 special teams tackler Sherrick McManis were placed on injured reserve along with safety Craig Steltz.

To replace Gould, the Bears added veteran kicker Olindo Mare in addition to signing linebacker Jerry Franklin to a two-year deal and moving wide receiver Joe Anderson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The Bears waived veteran guard Andre Gurode, signed Nov. 27 but not used in the Minnesota game when the Bears replaced Edwin Williams at left guard with undrafted free agent James Brown.

Gould, the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, injured his calf in pregame warmups before Sundays game against the Minnesota Vikings. He was able to kick extra points after both Bears touchdowns but was unable to kick off. Punter Adam Podlesh handled kickoffs.

McManis suffered a knee injury against the Vikings and was tied for second on the team with 10 special teams tackles.

Steltz had two special teams tackles and a forced fumble against the Vikings and had 12 tackles at safety, providing backup to starters Chris Conte and Major Wright this season.

Familiar face

Mare was the winner of a kicking competition at Halas Hall on Tuesday and comes with 15 NFL seasonsof experience with four teams. He started with the Miami Dolphins in 1997-2006, went to the New Orleans Saints in 2007, the Seattle Seahawks from 2008-10, and was with the Panthers in 2011.

Mare, who was successful on 22 of 28 field goals last season, has converted 350 of 431 field goals for his career and all but six of his 486 PATs for a total of 1,530 points.

He also has substantial experience kicking against the Bears, in Soldier Field and elsewhere. Mare converted field goals from 29, 39 and 38 yards in Carolinas 34-29 loss to the Bears last season and three extra points in Seattles 2010 win over the Bears. He connected on four of six field goal tries (46, 37, 39, 46 yards) when the Bears won at Seattle in 2009.

Ironically, the two misses against the Bears were Mares only two all season.

Mare provided the final three points in Miamis 31-13 upset of the Bears in 2006 and was good from 27 and 29 yards in Miami in the Dolphins 2002 victory over Chicago.

Gould loss

Gould had told CSNChicago.com on Monday that he felt great and planned to rehab a little bit, get ready for practice and get ready to beat Green Bay.

Gould has had 10 game-winning field goals in his career, most recently for the victory over the Panthers in addition to tying the Seattle game with a 46-yard field goal as time expired at the end of regulation.

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

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USA TODAY

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss

It's been a tough week for the teams at the top of the Big Ten standings.

Maryland and Wisconsin both lost earlier this week, and Purdue lost on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, the horrors continued for the Terps, who suffered their third straight defeat in a blowout 83-69 loss to the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in College Park.

Maryland's last lead came near the midway point of the first half before Iowa sprinted away on a 22-10 run to build a double-digit lead, an advantage that grew as big as 22 in the final minutes. All in all, the Hawkeyes knocked down 16 3-pointers. The Terps weren't too far behind with 11 deep balls of their own, but they shot just 40.7 percent in the second half, unable to keep up.

The high-scoring Hawkeyes were powered by freshman Jordan Bohannon, who scored 24 points on a whopping eight made 3-pointers. Fellow freshman Tyler Cook joined him with a 20-point night, finishing with 21 points, while Peter Jok and Nicholas Baer each ended with 11.

Iowa, not completely out of the NCAA tournament realm of possibility, helped its shaky case greatly with this victory.

Maryland, meanwhile, is a lock to make the field of 68 teams, but much like the other presumed conference powers, its struggles are hitting at the most inopportune time.

The Terps have lost five of their last seven and three of their last four at home. Back-to-back home losses this week against Minnesota and Iowa have featured big days for opposing offenses. Prior to the Hawkeyes' performance Saturday, the Golden Gophers dropped 89 points on 50-percent shooting.

The woes of Maryland — plus those of Purdue and Wisconsin — set up not just an interesting final week of the regular season but an interesting Big Ten Tournament that could feature a dark horse like Minnesota entering as the favorite. A surging team like Michigan might be more capable of making a deep run than the top three seeds given their recent struggles.

The Terps will have as good a chance as any to make noise in that tournament and the one that follows throughout the month of March. Winnable games against Rutgers and Michigan State remain, but they're on a bad stretch right now, one that should only elevate the panic after Saturday's defeat.

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

Discomfort sidelines White Sox infielder Brett Lawrie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox held Brett Lawrie out Saturday after he reported discomfort in the same left leg that sidelined him for the final 2 1/2 months of 2016.

The second baseman has been a full participant the entire spring until he informed manager Rick Renteria what he was experiencing Saturday. 

"We're going to reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at," Renteria said. "He didn't feel quite right, and so he was in there earlier today getting treatment. We'll reevaluate tomorrow and make a determination where we're at in terms of trying to set some parameters for how we move forward."

A confusing, tricky series of injuries that Lawrie blamed on wearing orthotics limited him to 94 games last season. He hit the disabled list on July 22 and didn't discover the cause until after the season ended. But Lawrie reported to camp feeling healthy once again and has participated at 100 percent until this point, Renteria said.

"It's been good," Renteria said. "Everything has been clean. There have been no notifications anything had been amiss. He just woke up this morning and felt it. So we're going to be very cautious, take it a day at a time, reevaluate it and see where we're at."