Cubs

The best of the Bears: Defensive ends

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The best of the Bears: Defensive ends

As training camp approaches and CSNChicago.com looks ahead to competitions and other situations, Bears Insider Moon Mullin ranks the top three in franchise history at each position.

Try blocking any of these greats one-on-one:

1. Doug Atkins

Big Man was a legend off the field as well as on it, where he stood 6-foot-8 and played between 265 and 280 pounds in his career. NFL.com slotted Atkins as the No. 9 pass rusher of all time (http:tinyurl.com7l4lg9j) and he originally went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship in addition to having been a high-jump champion.

The sack didnt become a recognized stat until more than a decade after Atkins retirement. Too bad. But for anyone doubting the athleticism of players in bygone eras, check out the videos. Thats Atkins vaulting running backs and left tackles.
2. Richard Dent

The Colonels long-overdue election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame finally put the spotlight on one of the NFLs best-ever pass rushers, finishing his career with 137.5 sacks third all-time behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith when Dent retired in 1997. Dent was 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, was the MVP of Super Bowl XX and voted All-Pro five times.

And he was a soloist in "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
The Sackmans comin, Im your man Dent;If the quarterbacks slow, hes gonna get bent;We stop the run, we stop the pass;I like to dump guy on their ass!We love to play for the worlds best fans;You better start makin your Super Bowl plans!
But don't get ready or go to any trouble
Unless you practice The Super Bowl Shuffle.
3. Julius Peppers
He has only been a Bear for two seasons now and he didnt get to Chicago until the ninth year of his career. But Peppers, who likely will finish his career with the Bears (he is signed through 2015), still ranks as one of the top defensive linemen, end or tackle, in the NFL.

Peppers does not play with quite the pass-rushing flair of Atkins or Dent. But he ranks with Dan Hampton as the two most versatile defensive linemen in franchise history, playing inside and out, right and left with equal impact.

Jason Heyward predicts he will be the MVP of 2018 Cubs

Jason Heyward predicts he will be the MVP of 2018 Cubs

“Who will be the Cubs’ 2018 team MVP?”

Jason Heyward: “Me!”

No hesitation, no pause. Just an honest answer from a confident 28-year old with a $184 million contract.

Nobody wants to succeed more at the plate than the Cubs’ two-time Gold Glove award winner, but the offense has been downright ugly (.243, 18 HR, 108 RBI in 268 games).

Despite not performing up to a megadeal, Heyward has no problem talking about his contract:

“It is what it is, I earned it," Heyward said. "I earned that part of it. For me, it’s awesome. To be where I want to be, that’s the most important thing.”

After spending time talking at Cubs Convention speaking with Heyward, his manager and six of his other teammates, it’s no surprise that it was Heyward who delivered the now-famous Game 7 “Rain Delay Speech.”

His teammates adore him.

Question to Ben Zobrist: “Who’s your favorite teammate of all-time at any level?”

After a 10-second pause: “Jason Heyward.”

That definitely says something coming from a 36-year-old, three-time All-Star and World Series MVP.

For the true blue Cubs fans that can’t stand Heyward and his untradeable contract, sorry, his teammates and manager have nothing but good things to say. 

By all accounts, Heyward is a quality human being despite his shortcomings in the batter’s box the last two seasons.

And his goals for an offensive renaissance in 2018 are simple and basic:

“Just being in the lineup every game.”

His teammates will be behind him 100 percent, even if the fans are not.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Blackhawks a playoff team even with Corey Crawford?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Are Blackhawks a playoff team even with Corey Crawford?

Seth Gruen and US99’s Stylz & Roman join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel.  Joel Quenneville says he expects and hopes Corey Crawford can return this season?  Will he come back?  And are they a playoff team even if Crawford returns?

Plus the Bulls extend Zach LaVine’s minutes, a preview of Sunday’s championship game and will Jake Arrieta eventually end up back with the Cubs?