Chicago Bears training camp opens
TOMORROW TUESDAY. (See what happens when I get ahead of myself?) It feels a bit like Christmas Eve in these parts. Except that I turn into a ball of sweat if I spend enough time outside because of the humidity. Nevertheless, football season is so close that we can taste it.
• ICYMI: The Bears (finally) traded wide receiver Anthony Miller. It’s not officially official just yet. Miller needs to pass a physical and compensation needs to cross the wires, but we’re essentially at the finish line here. And while it’s taken a while to get here, as a Miller trade has felt imminent for some time, a full execution of the deal is around the corner.
• For Miller, it’s a fresh start for a player who was a second-round pick after being an All-American as a senior at Memphis. On the other side of the coin, this serves is a sign of confidence in what Chicago has in the rest of the receivers room. Free agent additions Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin bump up a notch on the depth chart. Meanwhile, Riley Ridley and Javon Wims should be on high alert after watching the Bears ship out one of their own draft picks. A more recent draft pick, Dazz Newsome, also gets a clearer route to playing time.
• Trading Miller cuts two ways for me. On the one hand, Miller is an ideal change-of-scenery candidate. Meaning, that while things didn’t work out in Chicago, there is enough talent, a prospect pedigree, and ample motivation to get right elsewhere. And Miller sure sounds motivated to get his football career back on the right track. But on the other hand, it stinks that Miller was never able to completely put it together in Chicago. There were flashes here and there, but it was never steady. It’s easy to remember the splash plays, like this amazing catch against the Vikings:
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) November 17, 2020
Happy Game Week! Here’s Anthony Miller torching the Lions during his rookie season. Hope to see more of that here in Year 3. pic.twitter.com/XP6eFxFpsS
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 7, 2020
Really hope Anthony Miller gets a chance to carve up the Lions like he did last Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/KASResDPMr
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 12, 2020
“Look ma, one hand!” – Anthony Miller, probably
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) September 16, 2020
.@AnthonyMiller_3 FOR DA LEAD!!!
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 13, 2020
• And we’ll always have the “Run to the L” Game:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) July 25, 2021
• But I can’t help but think the Bears reached their wits end with Miller when he slugged Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in a playoff game after being warned not to do so. Not only was that not the right thing to do, it also caused the Bears’ receiving corps to play short-handed because Darnell Mooney was already out with an injury. In the end, being warned about Gardner-Johnson’s tomfoolery and still taking the bait was the last straw. And, ultimately, sometimes breakups can be good for both parties.
• As an added bonus, moving Miller off the roster clears $1,210,050 in cap space. Using OverTheCap.com’s data as our guide, this gives the Bears $7,193,576 in available space under the cap. Chicago could use some of it now to supplement the roster on the edges. Or perhaps a more prudent usage of this newfound cap space would be to roll it over to next year, when the cap figures to make a significant leap.
• Let’s enjoy some Walter Payton highlights on what would’ve been his 67th birthday:
Sweetness was something special.
— NFL (@NFL) July 25, 2021
Hall of Famer RB @walterpayton straight up changed the game for the running back position 🔥
Happy Birthday to the NFL's 2nd all-time leading rusher!
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) July 25, 2021
NFL Todays highlights from Walter Payton’s record breaking 275 yard game on Nov 20, 1977
He did so with a 101-degree temperature and intense flu-like symptoms
— Let’s Talk NFL 🏈 (@TalkFootball34) July 18, 2021
Happy birthday to the 🐐 Walter Payton. "Sweetness" remains a Jackson State, HBCU football, Chicago Bears and overall football legend. 🙏🏾🏈 pic.twitter.com/BJbNg2XSHu
— First and Pen (@firstandpen) July 25, 2021
• A touching message from Jarrett Payton:
You’re the greatest football player I’ve EVER seen but you were an even greater man. I miss you like crazy but your friends & fans are helping us keep your legacy alive down here. #HBD Sweetness! It’s your day! 🐐 @walterpayton #HappyBirthday34 #Bears @ChicagoBears pic.twitter.com/YrjWNbQUoX
— Jarrett Payton (@paytonsun) July 25, 2021
• This is art:
• Tom Brady looks ready to roll:
Training camp starts this week. I’m looking forward to having some actual receivers again… pic.twitter.com/PDl1puHr46
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) July 25, 2021
• That’s encouraging news:
Vikings’ rookie Jaylen Twyman, who was shot four times this summer in Washington D.C., “has recovered enough from his gunshot wounds that he will be reporting to training camp today with the other rookies”, said his agent @DrewJRosenhaus. “He’s really excited.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2021
• Some worthwhile league nuggets:
From a few weeks back, here is the full explanation for entry and testing for vaccinated players vs unvaccinated. https://t.co/bjHBsZIuYi
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 24, 2021
Would vaccination status affect whether a player is signed? How could it not? Just for timing reasons alone. https://t.co/1kMW83NSgo
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 24, 2021
• I appreciate the NFL’s execution of the game plan of not screwing up where other leagues were goofing up, but there’s more to it than that when it comes to the league’s venture through the last year (and then some):
Analysis: How the NFL got through the pandemic and to 2021. https://t.co/0nXOSeQMhv
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) July 25, 2021
• Remarkable work from Mario covering the Blackhawks and the rest of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft:
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 24, 2021
• I’ve got a bad feeling about this U.S. Olympic Basketball team:
Team USA Suffers First Olympic Loss Since 2004, Snaps 24-Game Winning Streakhttps://t.co/1Ph9qjJTho
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 25, 2021