Want to stay ready for the NFL? Try this.

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Want to stay ready for the NFL? Try this.

Andre Gurode got the call from the Bears this week: Cmon up. The five-time Pro Bowl centerguard was ready, not because of what hed done over the past half-decade in the NFL, but because hed been working out harder than he would have been had he been with an NFL team.

Gurode was spending four solid hours, five days a week, at the Michael Johnson Performance training center in McKinney, Tex., northeast of Fort Worth. Getting back into the NFL regimen might be a break.

I went every day from about 8 til noon, Gurode said. We had different parts of workouts, from lifting weights to footwork drills to conditioning, and after conditioning, some football drills. By the time we were finished, it was four hours.

Gurode, who turned 34 last March, was investing the time and effort without any promises. And he signed with the Bears without any promises, whether for a starting job this season or one in the future.

They never said anything like that, Gurode said. They said a couple of guys had gotten injured and they wanted me to come in, learn the play book and be ready in case they needed me.

He has played both center and guard, in the mold of about half the Bears offensive line: Roberto Garza, Edwin Williams, Chris Spencer.

Any way they need me, if they need me to contribute, Im going to be ready, Gurode said.

Not always the easiest job.

Theres a lot of similarity because the NFL is a copy league, Gurode said. At the same time there are a lot of distinct differences this playbook has and it can be difficult. Im going to settle myself down and learn this one.

Part of the immediate task is fitting in with new teammates. In at least one case, that was done before he ever got on a plane for Chicago.

Andre is a good friend, said right tackle Jonathan Scott. We have mutual friends. We also live in the Dallas area and we work out together in the offseason. I kind of picked up a few traits from him. Hes a Pro Bowler. The good thing is that hes on our side now. Im kind of excited for him and ready to go to work for him.

92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

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92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Plano

Head coach: Brad Kunz

How they fared in 2016: 7-3 (4-1 Interstate 8 Large), lost to Manteno in the 4A  opening round action.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – Johnsburg

Sept. 1 – @ Harvard

Sept. 8 – Herscher

Sept. 15 - @ Sandwich

Sept. 22 - Manteno

Sept. 29 – @ Coal City

Oct. 6 - Streator

Oct. 13 - Reed-Custer

Oct. 20 - @ Westmont

Biggest storyline: Can the Reapers reload?

Names to watch this season: Senior DB Mauricio Perez Senior DB Alec Chavez

Biggest holes to fill: The Reapers will need to replace 20 graduated starters from a season ago, and that group also included several multi-year starters for Plano.

EDGY's Early Take: The Reapers no question have work to do this summer, yet head coach Brad Kunz and staff always finds a way for Plano to compete in the Interstate 8 conference and beyond.

Lyons Township's Ben Bryant leads list of top 5 uncommitted Illinois recruits

Lyons Township's Ben Bryant leads list of top 5 uncommitted Illinois recruits

With the end of the college football recruiting spring evaluation period this week, focus for college programs will turn towards uncommitted recruits in the 2018 class. While the Illinois class already has 16 of the top 25 names already verbally committed, many top names still remain available.

Here are my top five uncommitted names still available in the 2018 Illinois class.

Lyons Township QB Ben Bryant: Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), a three-star recruit, originally committed to Wisconsin in December but was dropped by the Badgers a few weeks ago. Bryant recently has added offers from Georgia, Western Michigan, Temple, Bowling Green and Cincinnati.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory: Three-star Mallory (6-foot-3, 265 pounds) has been very impressive this winter and spring on the camp circuit. Mallory has eight offers so far from various FBS and FCS schools. Several Power 5 programs, including Michigan State and Purdue, are waiting on Mallory's test score and spring semester grades before they extend him a scholarship offer. Mallory could see his recruiting stock soar this summer and early fall.

Marist DL Gavin McCabe: McCabe is currently touting nearly 30 scholarship offers and hasn't yet narrowed down any list of favorite schools. However, McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) was planning to camp at a handful of schools this summer, including Wisconsin and a recent offer from Navy. McCabe was considering making a summer unofficial visit to the Naval Academy.

Bolingbrook WR I'Shawn Stewart: Stewart was originally planning to be verbally committed by now, yet increased college looks this spring made him hold off on a decision. Stewart, who currently has offers form the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Syracuse and NIU is planning to camp in early June with both Michigan State and Wisconsin. Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) is planning to narrow down his list of favorite schools after his camps and is also looking towards making a late June decision.

Marist TE T.J. Ivy: Ivy recently narrowed down his favorite schools to a top 4 (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia). Ivy (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) is still open to other schools and is also planning to make his college decision before the start of his senior year.