Bears Family Fest at Soldier Field is TODAY. Gates open at 9:30, practice gets rolling around 10:35 a.m., will roll through 12:35 p.m., and there will be surprises along the way. There are DJs, interactive games, events for children, alumni autograph opportunities, and more. I’ll see you fine folks later this morning.
And I’m definitely down to hear out your Roquan Smith concerns.
- ICYMI: A Tuesday morning bombshell dropped as Smith requested a trade out from the Bears:
- Brad Biggs (Tribune), Courtney Cronin (ESPN), Nick Shook (NFL Media), Alex Shapiro (NBCS Chicago), Jason Lieser (Sun-Times) chime in with more.
- As does NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales:
- This timing is a special brand of awful for the Bears. Firstly, because it comes the morning of Family Fest at Soldier Field. If there was ever a time for optimism in Bears land, today was it. Imagine having a very public contract dispute with your best returning player on the morning of a feel-good time for the team. What a rough look for the Bears. So much so, I’d tend to believe that the timing of this drop was coordinated. Especially since Smith is representing himself in the matter. I’ll still be curious to see how the Bears respond (or if they do).
- It gnaws at me this news drop comes as the latest in a run where the Bears have come up short in extending some popular players. We saw Allen Robinson II leave for Los Angeles, where he has become a star of Rams camp. Akiem Hicks didn’t get a second extension in Chicago, and his departure put a brand new perspective on the franchise’s shortcomings. What a mess.
- Making a habit of not extending good, productive players isn’t ideal. Don’t get me wrong. I get it. Football is a business. The NFL has a salary cap. And you’re not going to keep everyone you want. But this is a disturbing trend that is now spanning two different general managers. I won’t hold Ryan Poles accountable for Ryan Pace’s mistakes. But this is where I point out the common thread in all this is McCaskey family ownership. And that is something we can’t ignore.
- Remember when it was Cordarrelle Patterson wanting an extension from the Bears (and failing to get it)? And I suppose, with that in mind, he is an ideal person to comment on this situation:
- Bears fan and professional golfer Nick Hardy weighs in:
- The Bears potentially bungling player extensions while trying to drum up support as they angle to move out to Arlington Heights is awkward as heck.
- In an offseason in which we’ve seen receivers bluff their way into big pay days, maybe Roquan Smith will become the first linebacker to use this negotiation tactic to his favor? Good luck to the Bears brass as they try to hash this out.
- OK. Breathe. Reset. Rest of Bullets are as follows.
- This news also comes after Peter King’s visit with the team for his Football Morning in America column. If you hadn’t read it yet, King was as optimistic as one could be considering where preseason prognostications have been for this team. King’s FMIA piece on Monday shed some light on what’s happening in the Bears’ world. And in conjunction with his visit in Chicago, the long-time football pundit made a pit stop to appear on NBC Sports Chicago’s Under Center Podcast. One anecdote that King dropped on the pod was a belief in the Bears’ coaching staff to develop Justin Fields. Because while we can grovel about what the team did (and didn’t do) from a player personnel adding standpoint, King appears to like the addition of Luke Getsy — whom King calls a “rising star” in the industry.
- If Fields is set to become the star we believe he can be, perhaps the humble beginnings of his journey begin with coaching and scheme providing a strong foundation. Clearly, Bears upper management didn’t think Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy, and a laundry list of coaches with a background in handling quarterbacks wan’t going to work. Maybe it’s because there were too many chefs in the kitchen. Or that the scheme wasn’t worth the tablets the gameplans were put in. Whatever it was, that the Bears didn’t jettison Fields along with the regime that brought him in feels telling. And by that, I mean that this new administration must have *SOME* belief in Fields developing into a player who lives up to his first-round billing.
- Here’s some high praise for Fields from King:
“I swear when I watched practice and I saw Justin Fieldsー I mean how many times have we seen Aaron Rodgers roll right and then nine out of 10 times he throws, and one out of 10 he scrambles. Well, I saw Justin Fields do it today, and his athleticism when he gets anywhere near the open field is fantastic. I think he’s going to be a little bit more of a running threat, obviously, than Rodgers was. You don’t want him to make a living at that because of the chance of injury, but I think this offense really fits Justin Fields well if he can be accurate. That is going to tell the tale.”
- You folks didn’t disappoint with your responses to this tweet:
- Saints QB Jameis Winston rolled his ankle during Monday’s practice and left early to undergo evaluation, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports New Orleans’ QB1 is doing OK and that the injury is nothing to worry about. In case you were curious, Winston’s backup is old friend Andy Dalton.
- I would imagine some players saw this news and began squinting in disbelief after seeing it come across last night or this morning via push notification:
- Finally, confirmation that #BearWeather isn’t all that it is cracked up to be:
- Given what we saw in Week 1 against the Saints in Jacksonville last year, maybe the Bears should be angling to play Rodgers and the Packers in a Florida swamp.
- Word of the Cubs’ future parting-of-ways with Jason Heyward came with a wave of fan reaction. And this is where my head went:
- I don’t think anyone had a better collection of walkup songs than Heyward between 2016-2022. That’s gotta be worth something, right?
- Bulletin board material for the Bulls:
- It feels like Chicago hockey fans are at a crossroads with The Captain: