Marshall ready for second shot at Packers

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Marshall ready for second shot at Packers

Don't think for one minute that Brandon Marshall didn't know what he was saying when he walked to the podium at Halas Hall today. The whole "Peanuts" music and the tree story, the dislike he said he felt for the Packers, he knew exactly what he was doing.

The Bears "Top Dog" was simply deflecting all the talk about losing and having their backs against the wall to himself. He put the pressure on his back and made it clear he wants to carry the load. Marshall challenged every member of the Packers secondary. He called them out like you rarely hear an NFL player do, and I loved every minute of it.

Marshall has played one game in the storied rivalry and was held to just two catches for 24 yards. By far his lowest output of the season. The Packers refused to let Marshall take over the game with coverage underneath and over the top, and even though Marshall said he wants to see one-on-one coverage he knows that isn't happening. Teams don't change schemes when they've had success with a certain scheme or approach.

Marshall also knew Bears fans would love hearing him talk so negative about the Bears biggest rival. He's selling what Lovie Smith has preached to his team, that beating the Packers is their No. 1 goal. Unfortunately, it's rare when that happens, considering Green Bay has won seven of the last eight meetings, including the 2010 NFC Championship game. So for now, it's been very one sided.

Perhaps Marshall's tough talk will resonate with his team and they will rise to the challenge, and play like a team that's in the thick of the playoff race. Otherwise, it could be the beginning of a very tense final two weeks of the season.

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

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AP

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Preview: Cubs look to sweep Reds on CSN

White Sox scoreless streak hits 23 innings in loss to Indians

No clear options for Fred Hoiberg at point guard

Two days later, Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Stan Bowman 'completely, completely disappointed' with Blackhawks

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

Still in mourning, Isaiah Thomas dictates pace, delivers for Celtics

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May earned his first career hit on Saturday night when he singled up in the middle against Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, ending an 0-for-26 start to his major league career. That lengthy stretch without a hit put a weight on May's back heavier than a monkey, as the cliché usually goes.

Instead, that weight felt like America's favorite deceased silverback gorilla. 

"It was kind of like having Harambe on my back," May, a Cincinnati native, said. "I was in a chokehold because I couldn't breathe as well. Now that he's gone, hopefully I can have a lot of success and help this team win.

In all seriousness, May felt an extraordinary relief when he reached first base. He said first base coach Daryl Boston looked at him and said, "Finally," when he reached first base, and when he got back to the dugout, he was mobbed by his teammates and hugged by manager Rick Renteria.

Before anyone could congratulate him in the dugout, though, May let out a cathartic scream into his helmet.

"I was just like oh, man, I let loose a little bit," May said. "This locker room, every'one has kind of helped me out and brought me aside, and told me to just relax. It's a tough situation when you are trying to impress instead of going out there and having fun. Just kind of got to release all that tension built up."

May only had the opportunity to hit because left fielder Melky Cabrera injured his left wrist in the top of the seventh inning (X-Rays came back negative and Cabrera said he should be able to play Sunday). May didn't have much time to think about having to pinch hit for Cabrera, who was due to lead off the bottom of the seventh, which Renteria figured worked in his favor.

"When we hit for Melky, I was talking to (bench coach Joe McEwing), I said, 'He's not going to have anytime to think about it. He's going to get into the box and keep it probably as simple as possible,'" Renteria said. "I don't think he even had enough time to put his guard on his shin. He just got a pitch out over the middle of the plate and stayed within himself and just drove it up the middle, which was nice to see. Obviously very excited for him."

When May reached first base, he received a standing ovation from the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field, too, even with the White Sox well on their way to a 7-0 loss to the Indians. It's a moment May certainly won't forget anytime soon, especially now that he got Harambe off his back.

"I kind of soaked it all in," May said. "It was probably one of the most surreal, best experiences of my life."