Three Bears on PFW mid-season All-Pro team

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Three Bears on PFW mid-season All-Pro team

Charles Tillman has won NFC defensive player of the week and month awards. Lance Briggs is in the NFL history books along with Tillman for touchdown returns of interceptions in consecutive games. Julius Peppers has 5.5 sacks, tops on a defensive line that is No. 6 against the run (88 ypg.).

Now all three have been selected to the midseason All-Pro team by Pro Football Weekly. PFWs reasoning for each:

Lance Briggs Briggs is playing even better than a year ago, scoring pick-sixes in consecutive games and flying around the field. Anyone who suggested playing next to Brian Urlacher has made Briggs an overrated player has been proven dead wrong this season, as Briggs has picked up the slack for the Bears aging defensive captain.

Julius Peppers Peppers remains as steady as ever even as his snaps have been significantly cut back to keep him fresh later in the season. While the sack numbers are still there, Peppers is still an excellent run defender despite dealing with a foot injury that has limited his burst. He probably has been the Bears best player this season.

Charles Tillman Tillmans knack for forcing fumbles is becoming legendary, as four more in Week Nine put him in the league lead with seven this season. He also shut down Calvin Johnson and had pick-sixes in consecutive weeks. What more could you want from this steady veteran?

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Austin O'Connor

Four years, four state championships. 

That's what St. Rita senior wrestler Austin O'Connor accomplished over the past four years, becoming the 15th wrestler in IHSA history to do so. The Mustangs' grappler went undefeated this season and finished his IHSA career with a record of 181-4. 

O'Connor is planning on continuing his time on the mat at the University of North Carolina next season. Learn more about O'Connor in the video above. 

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the Gym at EFT: Vertical jump training

In the latest installment of In the Gym at EFT, performance specialist Kerry Neal teaches some valuable techniques to improve an athlete's vertical jump. 

Former Western Michigan Linebacker Grant DePalma gives an assist by demonstrating the drills. An athlete's vertical is an important tool and can be the difference during evaluation.

Learn some valuable tips above and be on the lookout for the next edition of In the Gym at EFT.