Last night was sensory overload for yours truly. Two fantasy baseball drafts on two screens, an epic and painful college basketball title-game collapse on another screen, and conversations about how we can shoehorn movie theaters into airports for those long layovers on yet another. Everything is a blur. I’d congratulate Kansas on a title, but I’m still smarting over SIU getting hosed in their Sweet 16 game against the Jayhawks in 2007. Apparently, I hold on to grudges for a long time.
• Keeping tabs on who popped up in the Bears’ video rollout of the first day of the offseason training program was a blend of red carpet watching and seeing who showed up in what on the first day of school:
First day of school vibes. 🤙 pic.twitter.com/nTOWxGgpj4
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 4, 2022
• I count Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery, Cole Kmet, Trevis Gipson, Roquan Smith, and Eddie Jackson among those in the video. Way to show some initiative, guys.
• It’s not just the start of the new football year. It is also the beginning of fresh vibes. And these guys know it. These quotes via the Bears’ official site have a common thread:
Trevis Gipson: “The coaching staff has great energy, the guys coming back have great energy. I think there’s something that just feels different about this year. Being back at Halas Hall for the first day, it’s exciting and energetic, and it feels fun.”
Teven Jenkins: “Today was very informative, setting the tone to understand why and what you’re about to be doing. That’s a huge part about what is important to us going forward. It kind of felt like the first day of school, when you’re getting a new coach, getting a new strength staff and all that. It was fun introducing myself to a lot of people and getting to meet all the new guys.”
Cole Kmet: “It’s really exciting to get back. There are a lot of new faces, so I’m just kind of getting to know everybody. It’s really exciting and there’s a lot of new energy in here.”
• New year, new me. New Bears, new vibes. Spread the word. We’re chugging along with the new-look gang.
• Remember, these are voluntary meetings and workouts. Even still … it’s a good place to make a good first impression. So, my apologies if you were hoping to hear about how they were performing in drills. Sorry, that’ll have to wait a bit.
• This is a fun fact:
Fun fact about Bears TE Jesper Horsted, who signed his ERFA tender today: He played 6 offensive snaps in 2021 and had three targets and two touchdowns.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) April 4, 2022
• I’m still holding out hope for Jesper Horsted to make an impact as a receiving tight end. He clearly didn’t get enough opportunities under the old regime, playing just 121 total offensive snaps in three seasons since signing on as a UDFA in 2019. Perhaps the combination of increased usage and a new set of eyes figuring how to properly deploy a tight end with pass-catching ability.
• The Bears had a familiar face in town for a visit on Monday:
DeAndre Carter visited Bears today
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 4, 2022
• You might recall DeAndre Carter was among those who were on that punt returner merry-go-round in 2020 when Ted Ginn Jr. wasn’t cutting the mustard at the position. Carter could be a nice addition in a role like Jakeem Grant. Carter averaged 25.1 yards per kick return and 8.4 yards per punt return last season. In addition to that, he set career highs in targets (44), catches (24), and receiving yards (296). He even scored three touchdowns. To be clear, I don’t want to over-sell the potential of adding a gadget player to this particular Bears roster. But seeing how much help this team needs, bringing in someone who could plug many holes without coughing up future draft capital (as Ryan Pace did in trading for Grant) would be a net win. So … let’s keep an eye on this.
• Bears Twitter Madness powers through into April:
— Funky Cold Luda (@lcm1986) April 5, 2022
Hey everyone. I was out of the country with crappy service so we had to pause #BearsTwitterMadness.
But we're back and here is the Sweet 16 pic.twitter.com/lSPZWKNLPK
— sports reporter (@mznoor786) April 5, 2022
• Eyeballs emoji:
Nyckoles Harbor, a 5-star defensive end recruit, is 6'5", 235 pounds and ran a 10.32 100M dash 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 4, 2022
• Zach LaVine is participating in an encouraging trend:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) April 4, 2022
• Jonathan Toews playing in 1,000 games really puts his on-ice accomplishments in perspective:
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) April 4, 2022
• Baseball is BACK!
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 5, 2022