Chicago Bears

Te'o not concerned about effects of whirlwind awards schedule

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Te'o not concerned about effects of whirlwind awards schedule

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The next six weeks aren't just about preparing for Alabama or Georgia for Manti Te'o. The senior linebacker is a finalist for a truckload of honors, and was presented with the Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award Thursday afternoon.

He'll find out Monday evening if he's going to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, but all indications point to Te'o heading to the ceremony in Times Square. Te'o is already a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award, Campbell Trophy, Lott IMPACT Trophy and Senior CLASS Award.

That's a busy schedule, and one that'll take Te'o away from South Bend for a week of banquets, ceremonies and glad-handing instead of preparing for the BCS Championship.

"I asked coach Kelly to make sure that there's a gym in whatever place we stay so when I come back I'm not D-lineman," Te'o said. "That's definitely something that I'll do myself to make sure I stay in shape."

Te'o had his final collegiate class Thursday, and will take his last round of finals the week after he returns. The impending end of his college career -- not only on the football field, but as a student at Notre Dame -- has garnered his focus in the last few days, not all the awards he may wind up winning.

"My attention has just been on taking advantage of every day," Te'o said. "I think all I've been thinking about is the time I have left here at school with my peers with my classmates. I'll be gone all next week so today was my last day of school. It was just hard to me to know that it's come to an end, a beautiful end."

The beauty of that end isn't dependent on the outcome of next week's Heisman Trophy presentation. It's a rarity for a defensive player to earn a trip to New York as a finalist, let alone win the award -- and Charles Woodson was featured as a wide receiver and returner with Michigan in 1997. There were no gimmicks to get Te'o in on offense this season, despite urges from a few players.

While Te'o hasn't appeared outwardly concerned with the Heisman, no matter how humble he is he'd like to win the award as an honor to Notre Dame, his teammates and his family. But he understands his candidacy is a long shot, given the history of defensive players in Heisman voting.

"If it doesn't happen, then whoever does win it is truly deserving of the award," Te'o said.

That person is likely to be Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose candidacy has been picked apart by Notre Dame supporters in recent days. One guy who isn't going to try to discount anything Manziel has done, though, is his direct competition for the Heisman.

"Dynamic player, really, really good playmaker," Te'o said of Manziel. "He always tends to make something out of nothing.

"That's definitely somebody that's of Heisman material," he added. "I'm a real big fan."

Bears cornerback Marcus Cooper turned in maybe the worst gaffe in the NFL this season

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AP

Bears cornerback Marcus Cooper turned in maybe the worst gaffe in the NFL this season

Sherrick McManis blocked a field goal and Marcus Cooper picked the ball up with nothing but green grass ahead of him on his way to the end zone. 

Then, for some reason, Cooper eased up a few yards from the end zone. What happened next was straight out of a Leon Lett highlight reel: Vance McDonald hit Cooper from behind, leading to Cooper fumbling the ball and it being batted out of the end zone for a penalty. The Steelers went to the locker room, then had to come back out for an untimed down from the one-yard line. After Charles Leno was whistled for a false start, the Bears kicked a field goal.

So Cooper cost the Bears four points. But...why? What was he doing? 

George McCaskey, Bears release statement on Trump comments

George McCaskey, Bears release statement on Trump comments

About an hour and 40 minutes before the Bears kicked off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Bears chairman George H. McCaskey released a statement following President Trump's comments about the NFL and National Anthem protests over the weekend:

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS his team will remain in the locker room and will not participate in the National Anthem before Sunday's game.

A number of players knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner prior to Sunday morning's Baltimore Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium in London, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan locked arms with his players during the anthem. 

Other NFL owners released statements on the Trump comments over the weekend, too: