Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

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Notre Dame's McDaniel helps healing process back home

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Cam McDaniel could have kept his game ball, the one he earned in Notre Dame's biggest win in a decade. He could have kept it, and looked at it as a testament to the hard work he's had to do in the face of a difficult position change and loaded depth chart.
That game ball didn't make the trip back north with McDaniel.
After receiving it, he wrote the date and score of Notre Dame's win over Oklahoma on the ball and signed it with a dedication to the family of Jacob Logan.
Logan was a sophomore when McDaniel was a senior at Coppell High School outside of Dallas. Two years later, Logan -- a wide receiver -- starred for an outstanding Coppell squad alongside McDaniel's brother, Gavin, a running back.
On a warm mid-October day, Logan, McDaniel and a few teammates went to a lake house about 80 miles outside Forth Worth. Cliff diving was a pretty standard activity at the lake, and Gavin McDaniel and Logan jumped in.
McDaniel went first, and Logan leapt in right after him.
"My brother came up, and he didnt," Cam McDaniel said.
It took five days before dive and search teams found Logan's body. He was 17.
"Its been a very, very hurtful, grieving time for this community, especially the athletics family," Coppell coach Joe McBride said. "Jacob was a lot like Cam, he was such a great kid, great leader and great player. And when you lose a guy out of the community, unexpectedly like that, the backlash was just so painful."
Football, though, has played an important role in the healing process. In Coppell's first game after Logan's death, Gavin McDaniel broke off a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game, celebrating in the end zone by signing "21" with his hands. That was Logan's number.
And that was Cam McDaniel's number on Saturday in Oklahoma.
McDaniel normally wears No. 33, but went to coach Brian Kelly and asked if he could wear No. 21 to honor his former teammate. Kelly gave him his blessing, but McDaniel still had to talk to the guy with 21 as his number to go through with it.
Jalen Brown was going to have plenty of family make the three-hour drive from the Dallas area to Norman for Notre Dame-Oklahoma, so switching numbers could have been a headache.
"I knew that was going to be even a tough position for him to be in," McDaniel said. "But he was just awesome about it. He was a great friend and understood the situation and was more than happy to switch jerseys for that week. Big shout-out to Jalen there."
McDaniel called McBride in the middle of last week. The former Coppell star and current Coppell coach talked about McDaniel's possibly-increased role against OU -- McDaniel knew he was going to play cornerback and explained how he would be returning kicks if George Atkinson wasn't feeling better. Then, McDaniel informed his coach about the number switch.
"I told him to tell coach Kelly we appreciate him allowing him to do that," McBride said. "It meant a lot to a lot of people here."
So when McDaniel took the field for Notre Dame's biggest game of the year, he was honoring Jacob Logan. He returned four kicks for 77 yards and recorded a tackle while working as a cornerback, helping give Notre Dame's offense field position and hold OU's offense to just 13 points.
McDaniel's had some impressive games at his natural position of running back -- he carried 11 times for 55 yards and a touchdown against Miami, and nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown against Navy -- but those largely came well after Notre Dame's first-stringers put the Irish by a wide margin. So McDaniel's performance against Oklahoma had a lot more riding on it for Notre Dame.
But it also had plenty riding on it for the community of Coppell.
"He just gave a little bit more healing, he gave a little bit more, for lack of a better word, he just continued a bit of the healing process just getting his teammate to be continued to be honored down the road," McBride said. "Every time we can do something to keep him in our forethoughts and memory and still make him a part of our lives, it makes everybody really excited."
But McDaniel didn't honor Logan with just his jersey.
McDaniel left the game ball with his brother, Gavin. And Gavin delivered it to the Logan family. McDaniel gave up a prized possession to help the healing of a grieving family over the loss of their son, and his friend.
"It was a powerful thing," McBride said.

Teammates see Mike Glennon taking command of Bears offense

Teammates see Mike Glennon taking command of Bears offense

The Bears are expected to add a quarterback this week, possibly as soon as the third overall pick. But the starting quarterback the team already has in place is beginning to take control of the Bears' offense. 

With the Bears' nine-week offseason program getting underway last week, Mike Glennon has had his first opportunity to work with coaches and teammates here at Halas Hall, largely in conditioning drills. And the early evaluations of the 27-year-old have been positive. 

"(What) I've seen from Mike is just him taking command," receiver Josh Bellamy, this year's veteran recipient of the Piccolo Award, said. "He's taking command and he's willing to take all responsibility of what's going on, and that's what you want in a leader. And I'm willing to follow. And I know everybody else in the locker room is too."

Jordan Howard, the Bears' rookie recipient of the 2016 Piccolo Award, echoed Bellamy's praise of Glennon.

"He's a hard worker," Howard said. "He's been trying to motivate guys to push through things."

Having three different starting quarterbacks (Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley) last year was part of why the Bears sunk to a 3-13 record. Even if the Bears pick their quarterback of the future in two days, having consistent leadership from Glennon could be a positive for this group in 2017. 

"There's not a whole lot of teams that go through that (having three starting QBs) that have success," coach John Fox said last month. "That's over a 16-game regular season schedule. In Mike's case, he's been steady, he's been consistent, he just hasn't had a lot of opportunity. But everybody that I've known that's been around him both in college football and pro football people that I respect and know pretty well feel really good about him moving forward."

And that leadership would come from a guy who last started in 2014 and only attempted 11 passes in the last two seasons. But the Bears lauded Glennon's leadership abilities in signing him last month, and so far, the front office has been proven right in their assessment. 

"He's first out," Bellamy said. "He wants everybody on time, he's demanding everything, what a quarterback should do, he's showing leadership with the whole team. And he interacts with the players, with his guys. He'll call us, hey, you guys want to go to the game or just stuff, just building camaraderie and building a brotherhood. And that's all it's about."

Report: Jay Cutler's agent says QB has no plans to retire

Report: Jay Cutler's agent says QB has no plans to retire

Jay Cutler has no plans to retire, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Quoting Cutler's agent, Bus Cook, the former Bears quarterback "wants to play football. He has never mentioned retirement to me. Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league."

The Bears parted ways with Cutler this offseason after eight seasons. They were reportedly shopping him as part of a trade but nothing surfaced, leading them to cut the 33-year-old.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said in March that the Jets had interest in Cutler, and the quarterback has been linked to the Texans as well.

Quarterbacks needs around the league will gain more clarity following next week's draft, but Cutler may have to wait until a potential training camp injury to find a spot in the league in 2017.