Vilified receiver group under pressure from within

762394.png

Vilified receiver group under pressure from within

For most of the past several seasons, Bears wide receivers were the objects of a steady stream of doubts at best, building to an occasional tidal wave of criticism.

They didnt like it. Understandable. Johnny Knox, for instance, didnt like losing a starting job in training camp to the likes of Mike Martz favorite Roy Williams before the team had played even a preseason game last year.

So how will the chemistry and collective mood be this year after the organization invested draft choices and money in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery?

They don't fear anybody. Why would they? said receivers coach Darryl Drake. I promise you, Devin Hester is not reading press clippings about Alshon Jeffery, but I bet Alshon Jeffery is reading press clippings about Devin Hester.

Devin Hester doesn't give a crap. He just wants to go out there and play.

That will have to be earned.

Hester, Knox, Earl Bennett, Dane Sanzenbacher none have caught more than the 57 Hester collected in 2009. Marshall has had no fewer than the 81 he had last season as a Miami Dolphin.

None of the returning Bears receivers were drafted higher than the 57th-overall slot for Hester in 2006, and that was as a returnercornerback. Jeffery was the 45th-overall pick in the draft last month.

Theres some depth, Drake said. The guys have got to fight. Competition breeds success and I really do believe weve got some competition around here.

If you want to play, go out and make plays, do things the right way, and when the balls in the air, go get it.

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

update-422.jpg
AP

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Preview: Cubs look to sweep Reds on CSN

White Sox scoreless streak hits 23 innings in loss to Indians

No clear options for Fred Hoiberg at point guard

Two days later, Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Stan Bowman 'completely, completely disappointed' with Blackhawks

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

Still in mourning, Isaiah Thomas dictates pace, delivers for Celtics

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Jacob May earned his first career hit on Saturday night when he singled up in the middle against Cleveland Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco, ending an 0-for-26 start to his major league career. That lengthy stretch without a hit put a weight on May's back heavier than a monkey, as the cliché usually goes.

Instead, that weight felt like America's favorite deceased silverback gorilla. 

"It was kind of like having Harambe on my back," May, a Cincinnati native, said. "I was in a chokehold because I couldn't breathe as well. Now that he's gone, hopefully I can have a lot of success and help this team win.

In all seriousness, May felt an extraordinary relief when he reached first base. He said first base coach Daryl Boston looked at him and said, "Finally," when he reached first base, and when he got back to the dugout, he was mobbed by his teammates and hugged by manager Rick Renteria.

Before anyone could congratulate him in the dugout, though, May let out a cathartic scream into his helmet.

"I was just like oh, man, I let loose a little bit," May said. "This locker room, every'one has kind of helped me out and brought me aside, and told me to just relax. It's a tough situation when you are trying to impress instead of going out there and having fun. Just kind of got to release all that tension built up."

May only had the opportunity to hit because left fielder Melky Cabrera injured his left wrist in the top of the seventh inning (X-Rays came back negative and Cabrera said he should be able to play Sunday). May didn't have much time to think about having to pinch hit for Cabrera, who was due to lead off the bottom of the seventh, which Renteria figured worked in his favor.

"When we hit for Melky, I was talking to (bench coach Joe McEwing), I said, 'He's not going to have anytime to think about it. He's going to get into the box and keep it probably as simple as possible,'" Renteria said. "I don't think he even had enough time to put his guard on his shin. He just got a pitch out over the middle of the plate and stayed within himself and just drove it up the middle, which was nice to see. Obviously very excited for him."

When May reached first base, he received a standing ovation from the crowd at Guaranteed Rate Field, too, even with the White Sox well on their way to a 7-0 loss to the Indians. It's a moment May certainly won't forget anytime soon, especially now that he got Harambe off his back.

"I kind of soaked it all in," May said. "It was probably one of the most surreal, best experiences of my life."