Bears

Te'o impressed by Alabama center Jones

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Te'o impressed by Alabama center Jones

Manti Te'o got to fraternize with the enemy Wednesday, spending time with Alabama center and fellow Lombardi Award finalist Barrett Jones in Houston. Te'o won the award -- the third major honor he's garnered with four more to be determined -- beating out Jones, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones for the honor given annually to the nation's top linemen or linebacker.

In his acceptance speech, Te'o pointed out the strangeness of being seated next to a direct competitor for the BCS Championship at the ceremony, and repeatedly referred to the 6-foot-5, 302-pound center as a "big dude."

The way Te'o spoke of Jones, the two seem to have plenty in common, minus the opposite jerseys they'll wear next month in South Florida.

"There's no trash-talking, I think the fans do more of that," Te'o told CSN Houston of his time with Jones. "But meeting Barrett, he's a great guy, has great parents. He's very quiet and he's very intelligent and hard-working."

Jones is the odds-on favorite to win the Rimington Trophy given to the nation's best center -- an honor for which Te'o's teammate, Braxston Cave, is also up. As for Te'o, he's a finalist for three more accolades that will be announced Thursday -- the Maxwell Award (most outstanding player), the Walter Camp Award (most outstanding player) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year). Te'o has already won the Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and the Butkus Award (most outstanding linebacker) in addition to the Lombardi Award.

Te'o is only the second player to win the Butkus, Nagurski and Lombardi awards and is two honors away from tying Charles Woodson for the most major awards won in a single season with five. Woodson won the Heisman, Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe and Walter Camp awards in 1997.

But the biggest prize of Te'o's awards tour will be announced Saturday in Times Square, where Te'o will join Collin Klein and Johnny Manziel for the Heisman Trophy presentation. A defensive player hasn't won the Heisman since Woodson 15 years ago, and it's extremely rare for a defender who doesn't contribute on offense or special teams to be invited to the Heisman ceremony, let alone win the honor.

"It's definitely special with Collin and with Johnny, guys who have highlights everywhere," Te'o said. "It's definitely a big opportunity for me and a big honor for me to be with them and be numbered among them and to represent my family and my school."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Schuster (670 The Score), Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times) and Jordan Bernfield join David Kaplan on the panel.

The Bulls keep on winning. Should they try to make the playoffs? NBCSportsChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill joins the guys to discuss.

Plus, with Bortles, Foles and Keenum starting in this weekend’s Championship Games should the Bears prioritize improving their defense this offseason?

Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks reportedly concerned Corey Crawford could miss rest of season

Corey Crawford has been out since before Christmas with an injury that the Blackhawks have only described as an “upper-body injury,” but new reporting from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times paints a much worse picture than originally feared.

Lazerus cited three sources who said Crawford is dealing with “vertigo-like symptoms” for the second time in his career. Previously, coach Joel Quenneville was asked if Crawford would return this season and answered affimatively 10 days ago.

Crawford last played on Dec. 23 in New Jersey when he gave up three goals on seven shots and was pulled in the first period. He had been having a season worthy of putting him in the discussion for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL’s best goaltender.

Information on the injury from the Blackhawks has been hard to come by, which is why Lazerus’ reporting is such a big deal.

Anton Forsberg and 32-year-old rookie Jeff Glass have filled in while Crawford has been out. Crawford has a 16-9-2 record this season while Forsberg and Glass have combined to go 6-8-4.

As the Blackhawks sit outside a playoff spot for now, Crawford’s potential long-term absence could affect how the Blackhawks approach the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Pat Boyle talked with Luke Stuckmeyer for a Facebook Live on the topic: