As matters stand now, the Bears will be without running backs Matt Forte and Khalil Bell when their voluntary offseason program begins next Monday. Its strictly business; neither has a signed contract or tender offer in place and theyre simply not permitted to be at Halas Hall for the sessions until they sign.
But Fortes unhappiness at not having a contract concluded will not make him a holdout when the season starts, according to one prominent teammate.
Linebacker Brian Urlacher said Tuesday that Forte will be there when he needs to be and that includes training camp.
Newly signed backup running back Michael Bushll have a lot of reps if Matts not there, Urlacher said, laughing, prior to his receiving the Bears Ed Block Courage Award for 2011. Bush willl get to know the offense pretty well.
Matt takes care of himself, knows the offense, is a smart guy, hes always in shape. Hell be at training camp when he needs to be. Either way whether hes under contract or hes franchised hell be there. Im glad weve got him back.
Fortes head coach did not sound any alarms, either, regarding Fortes eventual attendance or any possible effects from missing offseason work time.
Last season we didnt have an offseason, Lovie Smith said, alluding to the lockout that extended until just before training camp, and we had a pretty good year.
The Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has selected Marian Hossa to be the Blackhawks' nominee for the 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which recognizes perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The 38-year-old winger has bounced back in a huge way following a 2015-16 campaign where he had only 13 goals and 20 assists in 64 games.
Hossa is tied for second on the team with 24 goals and ranks sixth on the club with 42 points in 66 contests this season. He ranks fourth among active players with 1,131 points, and recently surpassed Pat Verbeek to move into 35th all-time in goals scored with 523.
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Three finalists from the 30 NHL teams will be named at the end of the regular season.
Pit Martin (1969-70) and Bryan Berard (2003-04) are the only two players in Blackhawks history to win the honor.
The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah for 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.
He tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement called selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, which is prohibited under the current collective bargaining agreement but would not have been under the new CBA starting next year, according to ESPN's Marc Spears.
It was announced in February that Noah would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. His suspension will carry over into the 2017-18 campaign with only 10 games left this year.
Noah averaged 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 46 games in his first of a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks.