My mother would’ve been 59 today, which makes this one of those days that I know will be difficult to navigate. I miss her as a parent, friend, travel buddy, and baseball-watching enthusiast. All things considered, I’ll take all the distractions I can get today. And remember that today is a good day to tell someone you love them.
• What was once thought to be unthinkable is reality:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) June 22, 2021
• After years of dodging anything connected to gambling, the NFL is embracing it. And now, it includes the Bears. Welcome to the 21st century, my friends.
• If you read through that announcement and thought the name Neil Bluhm was sounding familiar, there’s a reason. Back in May, when a report came out suggesting the McCaskey’s are debating selling the Bears, Bluhm was name-checked as one of the favorites. Here’s what we wrote about Bluhm at the time:
“Another billionaire businessman, but one who made his bacon in the real estate and casino games. Bluhm has minority ownership stakes in the Bulls and White Sox. Also noteworthy are Bluhm’s ties to Churchill Downs, Inc., which works with him in the casino ring. That relationship could help grease the skids on a possible move to Arlington Heights.”
• Ahh, yes. The Bears’ newest business partner has ties to Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the Arlington International Racecourse property that the team is putting a bid on as it looks at a future homes that aren’t Soldier Field. What a happy coincidence. We’ll keep eyes on that as things develop in the future.
• In that vein, Alex Shapiro (NBC Sports Chicago) serves up a reminder that we have a long ways to go even if the Bears’ bid for Arlington Park is chosen.
• On the field, there’s some movement in the Bears’ front office:
On the college side, I'm told Southeast area scout Sam Summerville has been bumped up to a national scout. Midwest scout Scott Hamel will now cover the Southeast and Combine scout Brendan Rehor will handle the Midwest.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 22, 2021
• A sign of a healthy(ish) organization is when front office folks continue to get promotions. Keeping your best and brightest in the building gets tougher every year, but the Bears are doing it here. Jeff King, now the Director of Pro Scouting, was a person of interest earlier in the offseason when the Panthers were hiring a GM. Sam Summerville, now a national scout, was previously the Southeast area scout who had eyes on the likes of Eddie Jackson, Leonard Floyd, Tarik Cohen, and others. May these front office standouts have continued success.
• I’m looking forward to seeing how the receiver battle turns out in camp:
The #Bears have a tough roster battle coming for the final few wide receiver spots:
• Marquise Goodwin
• Damiere Byrd
• Riley Ridley
• Javon Wims
One or two of those players could end up getting cut after the preseason.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) June 21, 2021
• There aren’t too many things I love in the summer more than an honest-to-goodness camp competition. Jobs are on the line. Someone can earn a gig by performing well. But someone could also lose theirs if they slip up. Real competition rocks my socks! And this particular quartet piques my interest. Anthony Miller has a knack for big plays, but struggles with consistency. Javon Wims has size and blocking ability, but The Drop haunts us to this day. Riley Ridley hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to show out, but he did catch Justin Fields’ first college touchdown. Maybe there’s something there?
• Damiere Byrd is the wild-card. The free agent addition has speed to burn. And I can’t help but wonder if the Bears are set to strike gold again while poaching the Patriots. Signing Akiem Hicks and Cordarrelle Patterson away from the Pats as free agents has paid off quite nicely. As did the addition of Cre’Von LeBlanc off the waiver wire. The Patriots have snagged a couple of useful Bears over the years, too. An odd coincidence … or something more?
• Speaking of burners, I can’t wait to see Devin Hester’s son grow as a football player because the early year highlight reel is ridiculous:
Devin Hester is the only player to ever have a perfect 100 speed rating in Madden.
He also once raced a cheetah – and won.
But his 8-year-old son Dray already has his own highlight reel.
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) June 21, 2021
• Carl Nassib coming out as the first active openly gay player in the NFL wasn’t just about him. With his announcement, he also donated $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which is a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youths. As Nassib said in his video post, the hope is that, one day, coming out in this fashion isn’t necessary.
• Nassib is getting the love from around football:
Good for you Carl.
Glad you feel comfortable enough to share and hopefully someday these types of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news. https://t.co/eevr8cgRay
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 22, 2021
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) June 22, 2021
Much respect brudda ✊🏾 https://t.co/1G2ewVOWje
— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) June 21, 2021
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Raiders’ DE Carl Nassib: pic.twitter.com/GM4rzsgm0E
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2021
• The Bears are teaming up with the Chicago Public Schools system in helping launch a girls flag football league. Pretty neat!
Bad news from a busy Monday:
— #Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman is expected to make a full recovery after being shot four times. https://t.co/uoJjedgoVz
— #Chiefs pass-rusher Frank Clark was arrested and charged with felony possession of a concealed firearm https://t.co/PUS3jdsHBB
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 22, 2021
• Happy Ping-Pong Ball Day, Bulls fans:
HAPPY DRAFT LOTTERY DAY.
WE LOVE YOU PING PONG BALLS.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 22, 2021
• The cost of doing business for a Jack Eichel trade might be high enough to take the Blackhawks out of the bidding:
The Acquisition and Annual Cost of Jack Eichel Should Take the Blackhawks Out of His Sweepstakes https://t.co/eFf8hwwVFU
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 21, 2021
• I like the way both Javier Báez and David Ross are handling last night’s benching. And let’s be real with each other — you do that to an Eric Sogard last week after he gets picked off snoozing at second, no one would bat an eye. But you do it to one of your best and most popular players, then you’re grabbing everyone’s attention:
I gotta say, the way Ross explains his decision to bench Javy mid-game really makes me come around to it. He's got such a positive, move-forward attitude about it. I think that's a good call. @BleacherNation https://t.co/hUzlr9muzV
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) June 22, 2021