Bears

Maybe Rodman's not such a 'Bad Boy'

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Maybe Rodman's not such a 'Bad Boy'

Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and David Robinson talked about a variety of topics during appearances on "The Dan Patrick Show" Wednesday.

Malone opined on former Bull, Dennis Rodman, who he said he's known since both played in an Oklahoma pro-am event backed by the late Wayman Tisdale, a former NBA player.

"What people don't realize about Dennis is that guy would give you the shirt off his back and I think that's been some of his demise," he said. "When they were talking about 'should he go into the Hall of Fame,' I don't think they were necessarily talking about his stats. I think, personally, that they were scared to death about what he would wear or say.

"I love the fact that he made the Hall of Fame."

Barkley, an NBA analyst for TNT, admitted that he picked the Heat to win the Finals, but after the Thunder's Game 1 win Tuesday night, he stated, "LeBron James doesn't have a lot of help. He's Michael Jackson playing with a bunch of Tito Jacksons..I picked Miami to win that series, to be honest with you and I still think they have a good chance to win that series, but if they don't give him any help, they're in trouble because Oklahoma City's got a very good team. I thought the difference in the game last night was Russell Westbrook. He was fabulous."

He also threw in a jab at his friend Dwyane Wade, Miami's All-Star guard, a Chicago native and Barkley's occasional co-star in commercials: "When he plays poorly, his knee is hurt. When he plays great, he's great."

Barkley complimented Sam Presti, the Thunder's general manager, but added: "I like Sam, but if the Portland Trail Blazers had taken Kevin Durant, we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we? He did a great job with Westbrook and he did a great job with Serge Ibaka, and Harden."

Barkley also discussed a report that he's interested in being a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers'--his first NBA team--general-manager position.

"I think everybody knows that I want to be a GM, so I would sit down and talk to them," he said. "It would depend on the financial considerations. I'm not taking any big old huge pay cut; let's get that straight.

"I want that challenge at some point and I think I'm ready for it, and I think I would be successful, to be honest with you," Barkley continued. "I can't be worse than some of these other stiffs running NBA teams. Some of these guys are bums.

"I'm not going to take a bad job. I'm only going to take a job where I have creative control."

Robinson, who was maligned for not winning a championship early in his career prior to Tim Duncan's arrival in San Antonio, was asked about the widespread criticism of Heat superstar LeBron James and though he defended the current league MVP, he admitted that he would choose Kevin Durant over James moving forward.

"In the past, he let it get to him a little bit, but this year he looks like he's relaxed, he's doing a great job, he's playing extremely well, but still, if he doesn't win, everybody's still going to talk about him and that's ridiculous. The way the guy has played, especially during these playoffs, has been outrageous," he said. "I think Durant for right now. I think the way he's playing and I like their team right now. I like the way they're playing. I think they're going to win this one, so I'd have to go with his for right now. We'll see who wins this championship and I'll tell you after that."

The Hall of Fame center, a former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick, also discussed Chicago native Anthony Davis, the likely top choice in the upcoming draft.

Explained Robinson: "Anthony, I think, similar to Tim, I'd just try to take as much pressure off him as possible and get him to understand the expectations out there--I think LeBron's a good example--the expectations are always just ridiculous. You've just got to play at your own pace, your own strength and just be your own man because you can't be what everybody else expects you to be all the time."

Why the Bears have so much confidence in Mitchell Trubisky, even as the losses mount

Why the Bears have so much confidence in Mitchell Trubisky, even as the losses mount

The Bears are hurtling toward another last-place finish in the NFC North, and Mitchell Trubisky is 2-4 as the team’s starting quarterback after Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions. But talk to any of Trubisky’s teammates and it's clear they believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for this team, and it’s because of the bright future their quarterback has.

“He’s still young right now, a little green,” offensive lineman Bobby Massie said. "But he’s getting better every week, man.”

Explained fellow offensive lineman Kyle Long: “Just his poise and sense of urgency, at the end of the game to have the wherewithal to make the throws he’s making. Obviously it’s not all perfect — he’s a young quarterback in this league — but he has the confidence and trust of the guys around him. And that’s a rare thing in this league to have.”

Massie, like Long, also used the word “rare” in describing Trubisky, a guy who’s only started 20 games since leaving Mentor High School in 2013 (13 games at North Carolina, one in the preseason and six in the regular season). Massie, Long and the rest of the Bears’ locker room know how good Trubisky can be — or maybe, the way they’re thinking, will be — despite some uneven games this year.

The flashes of what the No. 2 overall pick can do keep on showing up, like that 18-yard jump pass to Kendall Wright that set up Connor Barth’s game-winning field goal in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens, or his instinctive 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 on Sunday that set up a game-tying 46-yard field-goal attempt that Barth missed.

“That’s his mentality — y’all got to see his mentality,” running back Tarik Cohen said. “That situation, fourth and 13, he’s not going down, not taking a sack, not throwing the ball away — he’s going to find a way to make a play, and he’s going to lead us to where we need to be.”

On the other hand, there were still some missed throws and reads for Trubisky (like not connecting with Benny Cunningham on a check-down five yards from the end zone in the first quarter) that serve as a reminder of his greenhorn status.

But it’s what Trubisky has done before and after those highlight or lowlight-reel plays that’s building a groundswell of confidence in him among his teammates.

The Bears got the ball on their own 17-yard line with 91 seconds left in the fourth quarter needing a field goal to tie the Lions on Sunday. When Trubisky entered the huddle, he was calm and confident — same as he was in the first quarter of the game, when the stakes weren't so high.

“He came to huddle and told everybody, 'Calm down, we’re going to win this game,'" wide receiver Dontrelle Inman said. “And that’s what the greats do. There’s no up and down with the emotional level when it comes time to actually go win the game. That’s a plus for him.

“He’s a competitor, and you see it week in and week out. He’s never going to give up. That’s the quarterback you want to be with you and throwing you the ball.”

That Trubisky’s teammates have so much confidence in him — despite the Bears’ 3-7 record — is a significant positive for his long-term development (that he’s only thrown one interception in his last 120 pass attempts is another positive). On Sunday, coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains seemed to have more confidence in Trubisky, too, with the pair opening up the playbook and leading to the Bears having their best offensive game of the season.

That trust might not lead to a lot of wins this year. It might not be enough to keep the current coaching staff in place. But the way Trubisky’s teammates talk about him, they don’t see any hurdles the rookie can’t clear on his way to becoming a legit franchise quarterback.

“It’s rare and it’s the start of something special that we get to see,” Massie said. “Hopefully — I can’t predict the f***ing future — but from this point on, it looks like he’s going to be a special player.”

Leonard Floyd's 'really serious knee injury' further bangs up Bears defense, stalls rising star's growth

Leonard Floyd's 'really serious knee injury' further bangs up Bears defense, stalls rising star's growth

You couldn’t really tell watching it live, but the replay told the story: Kyle Fuller’s shoulder pads plowed right into Leonard Floyd’s right knee.

And that’s why last year’s first-round pick was down on the turf at Soldier Field. That’s why the cart came out from the southwest tunnel. That’s why the thousands of fans in the stands watched in silence.

After the game, head coach John Fox said what could have been guessed by most who watched that replay and watched Floyd leave the field on the cart.

“Leonard Floyd left with what looks like a really serious knee injury,” Fox said, a somewhat unusual admittance of severity from the oft-secretive coach in an oft-secretive industry.

“I hate to speculate,” he continued, “but usually when you get taken out on a cart, it’s not great. We’ll evaluate it. I’ll talk to our docs more today and tonight, and we will continue to evaluate tomorrow.”

For the Bears and their fans, this kind of news has become all too familiar. The linebacking corps alone has seen injuries to four of its best players: Jerrell Freeman, Danny Trevathan, Willie Young and now Floyd. Then there are the season-ending injuries to safety Quintin Demps, tight end Zach Miller and wide receivers Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.

And it’s not just the Bears. This is the new normal in the NFL, as the absences of stars like J.J. Watt, Aaron Rodgers and Richard Sherman have illustrated.

But for the Bears in particular, this is a really tough one to see.

Floyd has been a force for the defense this season, the kind of quarterback’s nightmare that Ryan Pace & Co. envisioned he’d be when they took Floyd with the No. 9 pick in last year’s draft. He entered Sunday’s action with the second-most sacks on the team, and only 29 players in the league had more than his 4.5 sacks.

After missing games and battling concussion issues as a rookie last season — and still recording seven sacks — this was supposed to be the full season from Floyd that would show how much of a monster he could be. Instead, though, it sounds like that season will be cut short, a building block on that side of the ball stalled.

The football implications, though, did not seem top of mind for many Bears players, who offered their well wishes for their teammate. Remember, too, that this is a team that has already been through Miller’s ordeal, the tight end confined to a Louisiana hospital as he recovered from almost losing his leg in last month’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“I told him I love him and I’m going to lay it on the line for him,” fellow linebacker Pernell McPhee said when asked what he said to Floyd as the second-year Georgia product was leaving the field.

And that wasn’t all.

As the media was leaving McPhee’s locker, he told everybody to “say a prayer for my boy.”