Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Bears coach Marc Trestman has Matt Forte on speed dial ]]> Lead story image

NEW ORLEANS — Bears running back Matt Forte, one of former coach Lovie Smith’s staunchest supporters, is excited about what he’s learned so far about his new coach. On Thursday, Forte was in New Orleans — about 40 minutes southwest of his hometown of Slidell — for a number of appearances and interviews, and he was in an upbeat mood about the Bears’ future. Coach Marc Trestman didn’t waste any time making a strong first impression, calling him the day he was hired. ‘‘It was pretty cool to me,’’ Forte told the Sun-Times. ‘‘I’m pretty sure he was busy, but … ]]> Fri, 01 Feb 2013 17:28:52 -0600 <![CDATA[ Ex-Bear Ayanbadejo won’t back down from controversial stances ]]> Lead story image

Ayanbadejo’s career path has been unusual, as has his emergence as one of the few outspoken heterosexual advocates for legalizing same-sex marriage in the NFL. Ayanbadejo has approached the issue with the same ferocity he does opponents on the field. ]]> Sat, 02 Mar 2013 11:53:31 -0600 <![CDATA[ Bears must join tight end trend ]]> Lead story image

NEW ORLEANS — When he took over as coach of the University of San Diego, former Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh called one of his mentors to share in the good news. But Bo Schembechler didn’t immediately offer any congratulations. “He said, ‘Tell me you’re going to have a tight end that puts his hand in that ground on every snap,’ ” Harbaugh recalled his coach at Michigan saying to him. Schembechler also insisted that he emphasize the fullback, and Harbaugh confirmed he would be covered at both positions. “ ‘Good, congratulations on getting the job,’ ” Harbaugh recalled Schembechler telling him. The … ]]> Mon, 28 Jan 2013 22:41:18 -0600 <![CDATA[ Thorough Emery gets his Trestman ]]> Lead story image

He hasn’t been on the job a year, but Bears general manager Phil Emery diligently navigated the franchise-defining process of hiring a coach and selected longtime NFL assistant and CFL championship coach Marc Trestman early Wednesday morning. Emery’s search was distinctive, according to league sources, for several reasons. Despite stiff competition — seven of the NFL’s other 31 franchises also were in the market for a coach — Emery laid out an ambitious plan and seemingly avoided any major setbacks or issues. “He was as thorough as anyone I’ve ever heard of,” one league source said. A college scouting director … ]]> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 14:23:48 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: In coaching search, Bears GM Phil Emery has money, power ]]> Lead story image

Any perception that Phil Emery is a puppet general manager should’ve been eradicated Monday morning. Emery decided to fire coach Lovie Smith after the Bears fell short of the playoffs, and his bold move was presumably rubber-stamped by chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips, both of whom have insisted in the past that Emery has full autonomy despite suggestions to the contrary. The first notable example of Emery’s clout was the trade of two third-round picks to the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. Less than a year later, Marshall shattered several notable single-season team receiving records. Now … ]]> Sat, 02 Feb 2013 06:31:50 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: You can only control so much — just ask Bears’ Mike Tice ]]> Lead story image

In more than 30 years as an NFL player and coach, Mike Tice has experienced all the highs and lows and everything in between. That includes a must-win game with playoff implications — the scenario the Bears face this Sunday when they meet the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. As head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Tice concluded the 2003 and 2005 seasons 9-7 and missed the playoffs, while the Vikings finished the 2004 season 8-8 and backed into the postseason. Despite losing the 2004 regular-season finale 21-18 to the Washington Redskins, the Vikings eked in because the New Orleans … ]]> Thu, 31 Jan 2013 06:45:31 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: Bears use familiar recipe to cook up win over woeful Cards ]]> Lead story image

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Lovie Smith didn’t froth at the mouth, didn’t unleash a string of profanities. But the Bears coach delivered a clear point in a five-minute message to his team Saturday night. “Coach made it clear that our playmakers — not just our veterans — needed to come out and make plays,” Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. “And as you could see, some of the guys did, and we needed that.” Julius Peppers tied a career-high with three sacks. Charles Tillman returned an interception for a touchdown. Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte scored, and Jay Cutler completed some timely … ]]> Fri, 25 Jan 2013 06:20:14 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: Cardinals rookie WR Michael Floyd benefits from positive stinking ]]> Lead story image

With two games left, Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd is 75th in the NFL with 31 catches for 349 yards and just one touchdown. Not the rookie season the former Notre Dame star aimed for. ‘‘I always felt I was the best player, and I always expect a lot out of myself — I’m my own worst critic,’’ Floyd said. ‘‘If someone is yelling at me, they’re not going to be harder on me than I am on myself. It’s just about me making the plays and doing what I got to do to be successful.’’ The Cardinals (5-9) already … ]]> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 06:27:22 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: Cutler, Lovie just can’t keep up with Packers in NFC North ]]> Lead story image

Earlier this month on his weekly radio show, quarterback Jay Cutler joked that he wasn’t going to try to “break the bank” during contract negotiations with the Bears. Wrapping up his fourth season with the team, Cutler remains a lightning rod, drawing comparisons to Brett Favre all the way down to Jeff George. His defenders insist he hasn’t had the offensive line or, until this season, a capable-enough receiver to throw to. His critics will point to his turnovers, injuries and run-ins. But the bottom line is this: Cutler is 1-7 against the Green Bay Packers, including the 2010 NFC … ]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 06:20:40 -0600 <![CDATA[ Bears reversing momentum is hard, not hopeless: Troy Aikman ]]> Lead story image

Since 1990, 37 NFL teams have started 7-1. Five were Super Bowl champions, seven were Super Bowl runners-up and 11 reached the conference championship game, according to STATS. Only one — the 1996 Washington Redskins (9-7) — missed the playoffs. Like this season’s Bears, those Redskins had a defense that dominated early, then faded later. But unlike these Bears, those Redskins had a top-10-ranked offense, even if it struggled in the collapse as well. Losers of four of their last five games, the Bears play a pivotal game today against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. With a win, … ]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 06:26:52 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: Lovie Smith says Bears’ concussion policy isn’t automatic week off ]]> Lead story image

In the last four games, four Bears players have suffered concussions. All four missed the next game. On Thursday, Bears coach Lovie Smith ruled out receiver Earl Bennett — who didn’t play in the second half of last Sunday’s 23-17 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks — for today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. In previous weeks, Jay Cutler, Shea McClellin and Devin Hester sat out a game. So is that the team policy? ‘‘It’s on an individual basis,’’ Smith said. ‘‘It’s not a, ‘Concussion, you’re out this many games.’ We just don’t do it like that. We follow the … ]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 06:26:05 -0600 <![CDATA[ Jovan Belcher tragedy illustrates need to recognize distress signals ]]> Lead story image

“How are you?” It’s a customary part of conversations. But former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn compelled me to rethink how honestly I answer that question and how sincerely I ask it. The day after teammate Jovan Belcher murdered his live-in girlfriend, then killed himself, Quinn pondered, “What could I have done differently?” “We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends,” Quinn said after leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-21 victory Sunday. “And it seems like half the … ]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 06:30:18 -0600 <![CDATA[ Ex-Viking Napoleon Harris’ politics are in the people ]]> Lead story image

In 2006, when he started for the Minnesota Vikings, Napoleon Harris read Politics for Dummies on road trips. James Jones, who worked the political scene in Chicago, appreciated that the Northwestern star and NFL starter returned to Dixmoor for parades and parties. ‘‘When they get that money, they go to L.A. or Florida. They’re not coming back here,’’ Jones said. ‘‘But Napoleon always came back home.’’ Along with other local leaders, Jones wanted to plant in Harris’ head the idea of trading pigskins for politics. Today Harris, 33, is the state senator-elect for the 15th district, and he just announced … ]]> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 06:24:04 -0600 <![CDATA[ JENSEN: Cutler reinforces the point of just how important he is to Bears ]]> Lead story image

Six days after watching a rout from his couch, quarterback Jay Cutler looked and sounded like a new — if not, at least, a renewed — man Sunday at Soldier Field. Cutler played “fiery,” receiver Brandon Marshall noted, appearing more animated than usual, even drawing a taunting penalty for flipping the ball at Minnesota Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson at the conclusion of a five-yard run. The numbers don’t do justice to the yeoman-like performance of Cutler, who tied offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb’s shoe in the fourth quarter (seriously) and might have re-taped Charles Tillman’s ankle on the sideline (kidding). “He … ]]> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 06:19:12 -0600 <![CDATA[ Bears must address issues with offensive line during offseason ]]> Lead story image

The Bears are guaranteed only six more games this season, their hope of a long playoff run called into question by a recurring issue. Pass protection. The Bears were counting on the continued development of left tackle J’Marcus Webb, the rehabilitation of right tackle Gabe Carimi and solid play from their veteran interior linemen. After 10 games, though, the Bears have allowed 34 sacks, the second-most in the NFL and nearly triple what the Houston Texans and New York Giants have permitted. There’s no more time for patience after an embarrassing performance against the San Francisco 49ers in which veteran … ]]> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 06:26:13 -0600 <![CDATA[ Raiders castoffs Michael Bush, Jason Campbell have been recast with Bears ]]> Lead story image

After they joined the Bears, running back Michael Bush and quarterback Jason Campbell talked about Oakland. Primarily, how they weren’t there anymore. ‘‘We both sat down and talked about, ‘We didn’t see it coming,’ ” Campbell said earlier this season. ‘‘How things played out.’’ The Raiders haven’t posted a winning season since 2002, after which they advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII. But Campbell immediately elevated them upon his arrival in 2010 after being traded from the Washington Redskins. The offense jumped from 31st to sixth in scoring and 31st to 10th in yards in a season in which the Raiders went … ]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 13:32:47 -0600 <![CDATA[ Texans defensive end J.J. Watt shining brightly ]]> Lead story image

The accolades, records and expectations don’t faze Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. A native of Pewaukee, Wis., Watt started his college career at Central Michigan, dropped out and delivered pizzas before realizing playing football wasn’t so bad after all. He enrolled at Wisconsin, redshirted, then shined in two seasons before skipping his senior season, declaring for the NFL draft and being selected 11th overall by the Texans in 2011. ‘‘I was a late bloomer in general,’’ Watt said, noting he had a two-inch growth spurt in college. ‘‘Then another part was, I made a lot of changes.’’ A quarterback … ]]> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 06:29:45 -0600 <![CDATA[ Bears enjoying the Tim Jennings the Colts wished they’d had ]]> Lead story image

Tony Dungy isn’t the least bit surprised by the breakout season of Bears veteran cornerback Tim Jennings. Dungy just expected this years ago, when he was still the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. ‘‘He is what we thought we were going to get,’’ Dungy said. ‘‘I credit Rod [Marinelli] and Lovie [Smith] for getting that out of him.’’ A second-round pick in 2006 out of Georgia, Jennings was a member of the Colts when they beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, but he didn’t become a regular starter until 2008, Dungy’s final season. ‘‘He has toughness, speed. He played … ]]> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 17:50:29 -0600