The Bears have to feel a little snake-bitten right about now. Last year it was Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, and now it's Brian Urlacher going on the shelf. It didn't take long before I was asked if this could hurt Urlacher's chances of re-signing with the team next year, and you have to admit it's now going to become a hot topic. Before the season began, I thought it would be a long shot to bring back the aging linebacker, but I started thinking today it may not be so far-fetched for him to get a short deal in the two-year range IF the Bears' brass believes he is still capable of playing at a high level. If they don't think he can do that and stay healthy, all bets are off. Perhaps the biggest thing working in Urlacher's favor is the progress made by so many young defensive players. Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Major Wright, Chris Conte and Corey Wooton have all shown they are the future of this defense, which means the organization isn't forced to immediately invest in defensive players. The current crop of young guys are not high priced, and only Melton is in line to get big money. That means paying Urlacher shouldn't hurt the team from a cap standpoint. On the flip side they may have to invest on the offensive line, which will no doubt be the number one focus when the off-season arrives. Even if that is the case, a top level offensive line free agent will cost big dollars and it's unclear if Phil Emery would spend that on a veteran or invest in a young player in the draft. Regardless, I'm not sold that this is the end of Urlacher in a Bears Uniform, and if not he can thank the young kids on defense for him sticking around.
Illinois and DePaul haven't played since 1957. Sixty years later, the drought in this series is over.
The Fighting Illini will battle the Blue Demons in an intrastate showdown on Friday, Nov. 18, as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, the annual event pitting Big Ten squads against teams from the Big East.
This game between the Illini and Demons, a pair of Land of Lincoln programs with new reasons to be excited, will surely be the highlight of the eight-game event for Chicago-area fans. The two programs have played 18 times but zero since a 75-70 win for the orange and blue in 1957.
Illinois will be playing in one of its first games under new head coach Brad Underwood, hired this spring to replace John Groce, who was fired after a largely unsuccessful five-year tenure in Champaign. Underwood is off to a good start, earning a commitment from the state's Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith.
DePaul, meanwhile, has its own momentum following a recent commitment from Tyger Campbell, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2018.
The rest of the Gavitt Tipoff Games schedule has plenty of intriguing matchups, as well, including Northwestern playing host to Creighton at Allstate Arena, the Wildcats' temporary home for the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoes a complete renovation.
Take a look at the full slate below:
Monday, Nov. 13
Minnesota at Providence
Tuesday, Nov. 14
Purdue at Marquette
Wednesday, Nov. 15
Butler at Maryland
Creighton at Northwestern
Indiana at Seton Hall
Thursday, Nov. 16
Nebraska at St. John’s
Xavier at Wisconsin
Friday, Nov. 17
DePaul at Illinois
For one day at least, Marc-Louis Paprzyca is Chicago's greatest sports fan.
Paprzyca - known on Twitter as MLP or Pappy_Hour - completed the ultimate Chicago sports scavenger hunt Wednesday to honor Natinoal Scavenger Hunt Day, needing only three hours to accomplish the feat:
He got started early on the South Side:
Then on to The Bean:
Da Bearsss were the next stop:
Next, the North Side:
And the best for last:
What's amazing is how MLP was able to don different Chicago sports attire for every single challenge. He even donned Jordan 11s — the ones MJ wore during the 1996 NBA Playoffs — outside the United Center.
MLP — a blogger for Sports Mockery and three-time winner of Beer Money — won a pair of tickets to attend either a Cubs or Sox game.