Should Bears swap Kellens at tight end?


Should Bears swap Kellens at tight end?

It is a drama that plays out at least once, usually more, every offseason. A name veteran comes loose and the debate is whether or how much he would be as an upgrade over what the Bears already have in place.

The latest is tight end Kellen Winslow, once the No. 6-overall pick of the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Browns and most recently the subject of some trade talks involving the Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That didnt happen, which is curious because insiders say Winslow was never a fit with new coach Greg Schianos program and style, and now the Bucs have simply released him.

The expectation is that former Indianapolis Colt tight end Dallas Clark is being signed, which also is an eyebrow-raiser, that the Bucs would prefer a player whos been on the field for only 17 games over the past two years to one who played all 16 last year and caught 75 passes.

But Winslow has knee problems to the point of missing two of every three practice days most of last season. Critics said he was in quarterback Josh Freemans ear constantly and no longer manages to achieve sufficient separation on routes, part of the reason that unofficially half of Freemans NFC-leading 22 interceptions came on efforts in Winslows direction.

The Bears invested a fourth-round pick last month in tight end Evan Rodriguez and committed to Kellen Davis with a new contract.

Knee problems do not abate with age and the Bears went through more than they liked with Tommie Harris before he was released. Moving in that direction again makes little sense and is not expected now for an offense in which Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Devin Hester and others are forming for the long term, which Winslow would not be.

Blown out by Iowa, Maryland stumbles to third straight loss


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."