My phone’s service plan came with a subscription to Tidal, the music streaming service that provides an endless amount of tunes to your fingertips. And while I wasn’t sure I wanted it in the first place, it turns out I’m using it quite a bit. I have fallen in love with the Afro-Cuban Icons & All-Stars playlist. The rhythms and vibes are everything I need to get through whatever I’m doing. Give it a shot if it is an option for you whenever you get the chance.
- It is time to make things right and bring Greg Olsen back to Chicago:
Panthers and Greg Olsen mutually agree to part ways https://t.co/kPyh4lbaqc
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 30, 2020
- The Carolina Panthers are in a state of change. New owner. New head coach. And soon, they will be in search of a new top tight end target after agreeing to mutually part ways with Olsen. The Bears drafted Olsen in the first round (31st pick) in the 2007 NFL Draft. And his first three years with the Bears appeared to be the start of something special, as his number of receptions, yards, and touchdown catches went up each season. Then Mike Martz came to town, stubbornly put his imprint on the offense, made the tight end as a catching option virtually obsolete, and led to Olsen being dealt to Carolina for pennies on the dollar. After that, Olsen would go on to be one of the faces of modern tight end play with his excellence as a route-runner and pass-catcher, a willingness and ability to block, and ultimately, three Pro Bowl seasons and two years as a second-team All-Pro to show for his efforts. Way to go Martz!
- To be clear, should the Bears sign Olsen, it would be unfair to expect prime production from a player in his age 35 season. But if Chicago seeks a veteran who can lead by example, the idea of bringing in Olsen should intrigue the front office. Then again, Olsen might want more of a sure-fire Super Bowl contender. And it’s not like the injury concerns that he has battled through the last few years are going to go away at the drop of a hat. Oh, and the cost of doing business to sign Olsen might still be high, considering the Bears’ needs elsewhere on the gridiron. In the end, there are probably younger, healthier, and more cost-effective options beyond Olsen.
- And it’s not as if Olsen won’t have options elsewhere. Plus, if he doesn’t like what the market bares, he will soon find a home as a broadcaster. Richard Deitsch writes the media column for The Athletic, and his Super Bowl broadcast guide is an eye-opening piece of work for those of us who like this sort of thing. FOX Sports Executive Producer Brad Zager told Deitsch that network is ready to make an immediate offer to Olsen upon his retirement, but won’t cross that bridge until he gets there. If Olsen truly wants to give it another go, then I wouldn’t expect an immediate decision from him. This might be a while.
- It’s the Friday before Super Bowl, which means it is a good time to place your wagers before the Saturday and Sunday crunch. Jon Greenberg of The Athletic’s Chicago wing shares his plays:
— The Athletic Chicago (@TheAthleticCHI) January 31, 2020
- Depending on your route, you can stop at a Harold’s Chicken on your way to (or from) Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. If you love fried chicken, that’s the spot you need to hit.
- In the interest of transparency (and fun), maybe I’ll share my own wagers at some point before the Super Bowl.
- Wowzers! The American Gaming Association projects $6.8 billion will be bet on Super Bowl LIV, according to reports by the Associated Press. That’s a healthy chunk of change. May the odds be forever in your favor.
- An update on Illinois making steps toward getting in on the sports betting wave:
Here’s a shocker, I was confused by the IGB site. Rivers, Elgin, Alton casinos have applied. We’re another step closer so March Madness is in play. https://t.co/66oicz7Fpe
— Joe Ostrowski (@JoeO670) January 30, 2020
- The good news is that there are talks. But otherwise, there seems to be a whole lotta silence on the labor-talk front:
Union leaders have acknowledged they are in talks with the NFL about a new labor agreement and not much more.
They weren't interested in providing information or insight into those negotiations. https://t.co/6XkpINZlWt
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) January 31, 2020
- The mental gymnastics I am doing to talk myself into this being a good thing because public negotiations rarely end well is nothing short of impressive.
- So, is this a message or just a “looked cute, might delete later” situation?
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 30, 2020
- A treat:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 31, 2020
- Not the trophy I expected Tarik Cohen to be hoisting this winter:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 31, 2020
- This thread is quite a journey:
Zach LaVine Not Chosen As All-Star Reservehttps://t.co/DuqvSWgKOi
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 31, 2020
- It’s disappointing that Zach LaVine didn’t get an all-star nod. Because while I understand this Bulls team ain’t it, LaVine’s individual performance merited serious consideration in an Eastern Conference that is mostly uninspiring after you look at the talent at the top.