Cubs

Lewis-Moore ready for second chance at final chapter

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Lewis-Moore ready for second chance at final chapter

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Kapron Lewis-Moore predicted he wont become too sentimental during Notre Dames senior day on Saturday. Hes been through this before.

Last year, unsure if he would be back for another season, Lewis-Moore participated in senior day. Now a fifth-year senior, the defensive end is trying to help guide the third-ranked Irish to an undefeated home record. Notre Dame (10-0) faces Wake Forest on Saturday in the home finale in South Bend.

Its going to be special having (my mom) on the field, Lewis-Moore said. I honestly dont think Ill get emotional. Hopefully, nobody catches me on camera crying or whatever. I think, to be honest, the very last game of the season is when its going to hit me, but I went through it last year. I kind of get a second chance. Im pretty excited about that. Its going to be special for the guys.

Lewis-Moore, a 6-foot-4, 306-pound defensive end, is wrapping up his career as an energetic, enthusiastic leader for one of the nations top defenses. He tweets often to his nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter, even sending out photos of star teammate Manti Teo. Often chuckling and smiling, Lewis-Moore encourages his teammates.

Hes even a loud presence at Notre Dame basketball games he cheers and heckles from the student section.

Im really excited about this Kentucky game coming up, he said. Im going to try to be front row, be in their heads a little bit, help out the team as much as I can.

But currently his focus is on football. A knee injury forced Lewis-Moore to miss the final six games of last season, making him more appreciative this season, he said.

I actually get it from everywhere, Lewis-Moore said about his enthusiasm. I like to text and tweet, give a Hey, I hope everythings going all right, little things like that. Also, having my injury last year, you miss a lot of games and practices, so being fortunate to play one more year and go out there and practice, you really dont understand it until youve been through it. Just try to take every day with a smile and laughter.

As one of four team captains, Lewis-Moore helps anchor a defense that limits opponents to 11.1 points per game. He has registered 4 12 sacks and 31 tackles in 10 games.

He has great energy, a positive energy, Teo said. Kap is always positive and working hard. Old Man Kap, hes beaten down sometimes, but he always seems to smile and try to uplift our team. Our team is better because Kap is the captain.

A native of Weatherford, Texas, and originally a Texas A&M recruit, Lewis-Moore chose to attend Notre Dame for its academic reputation and football pedigree. But at the time of his arrival, the Irish were trying to stage a comeback. In 2007, the year before Lewis-Moores freshman year, the Irish went 3-9.

Its crazy. Its been a long ride, Lewis-Moore said. There have been a lot of ups and downs. Seeing this program grow from where it was to where it is now is something thats really encouraging to me.

What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

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What Chicago sports fans should be thankful for

Families gather and people talk about things they are thankful for on Thanksgiving, but what are Chicago sports fans happy for now?

Raised expectations on the North Side

Got to be thankful that a “disappointing” season is winning the division and losing in the NLCS. The expectations have skyrocketed, and that’s thanks to a ridiculous nucleus of bats and a steady front office. Not many clubs can say that. Also, though, it’s important to be appreciative of the Wrigley bar stretch. They may charge $8 for a Miller Lite, but it’s always a damn good party.

Javy tags, too. Don't forget Javy tags.

Rebuild sparking hope in White Sox fans

Where to begin? Obviously, be thankful for the plethora of young talent that will soon take over the South Side. Be thankful for Avi Time (while you still can). Be thankful that taking your friends or family to a game won’t cause you to take out a second mortgage. Be thankful for the 2020 World Series and, of course, 2020 MVP Eloy Jimenez. But most importantly, be thankful that Rick Hahn’s phone stays buzzing.

Eddie O back in the booth for the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are having a rough start to the season, but at least Eddie Olczyk is back in the booth. The longtime Blackhawks broadcaster returned to the booth on Oct. 18 after missing time while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.

With some of the key names from the Blackhawks’ title runs either leaving or being unable to play this season (in the case of Marian Hossa), Blackhawks fans are probably thankful to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice during games.

Lauri Markkanen leading the Bulls rebuild

OK, there’s not much to be thankful for about the current Bulls team. At 3-13, the Bulls are tied for the fewest wins in the NBA (maybe in the long-term that’s something to be thankful for as well). However, Zach LaVine’s pending debut after his eventual return from injury should help create some excitement.

The thing Bulls fans really should be thankful for this year is the play of rookie Lauri Markkanen. The 20-year-old leads the team in scoring (14.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while shooting at a high percentage (34.2 percent on threes and 50.6 percent on twos). It’s only the beginning of the Bulls’ rebuild, but Markkanen is a good start.

Mitchapalooza

If a few things broke the Bears’ way, Chicagoans could have been grateful that the team was finally out of the cellar. Instead, we’ll settle for the fact that there seems to be some building blocks already in place. Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks seem to fit that category. Also, some may be thankful that this is likely John Fox’s last season at the helm.

Fire ending a playoff drought

After finishing dead last in MLS in 2015 and 2016, the Fire were one of the most improved teams in the league in 2017. After posting the third best record in the league, the Fire made a first playoff appearance since 2012.

The playoff run didn’t last long with the Fire losing a play-in game at home, but the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nemanja Nikolic, helped fill the stadium with six sellouts and gave Fire fans something to cheer for.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot.