Te'o makes history with sixth award


Te'o makes history with sixth award

The Heisman Trophy won't be awarded until Saturday, but Manti Te'o still made history Thursday.

Manti Te'o took home three more honors Thursday night, winning the Walter Camp National Player of the Year, Bednarik Award and Maxwell Award to bring his major awards total to six, breaking Charles Woodson's single-season record of five set in 1997. Woodson won the Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe, Walter Camp and Heisman Trophies that year, while Te'o won the Walter Camp, Bednarik, Maxwell, Nagurski, Butkus and Lombardi honors with the Heisman Trophy still to be announced.

Te'o became only the third defensive player to win the Walter Camp Award, joining Michigan's Charles Woodson and Pittsburgh's Hugh Green. Woodson won the Heisman Trophy in 1997, while Green finished second -- tied for the highest Heisman finish for a defensive player who didn't play offense or special teams in the 77-year history of the honor.

Te'o is Notre Dame's fourth winner of the Walter Camp Award, joining Ken MacAfee (1977), Tim Brown (1987) and Rocket Ismail (1990). Only USC has had more players (6) win the Walter Camp, while Ohio State has also had four players receive the honor.

No Notre Dame player had won the Bednarik Award, given annually by the Maxwell Football Club since 1995 to the nation's top defensive player, until Te'o in 2012. A Notre Dame player has won the Maxwell Award six times, with Brady Quinn (2006) the most recent recipient. The last defensive player to win the Maxwell Award was Green in 1980.

Te'o's awards tour, which has taken him from Charlotte to New York to Houston to Orlando already, will come to an end Saturday night in Times Square. No defensive player who hasn't contributed on special teams or offense has ever won the Heisman Trophy, which Te'o is a finalist for.

While it may seem improbable for Te'o to win the Heisman Trophy -- Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel has been cast as the odds-on favorite for college football's top honor -- Te'o's truckload of awards this year is just as unprecedented as a pure defensive player winning the Heisman.

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


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. The Bears haven’t revealed the full extent of Floyd’s injury, but coach John Fox did confirm this week the 2016 first-round pick didn’t tear his ACL. 

That’s potentially good news for Floyd’s recovery timetable, even if he won’t return in 2017. The Bears can probably hope to have Floyd back for, at the least, training camp next year, if not possibly OTAs in six months, thought that’s more speculative than concrete. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve, 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. 

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on


The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

Whenever a famous couple in the world of soccer has a child, there are always jokes about what national teams the kid could play for.

The latest such addition to the gossip columns is the announcement from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic that they are expecting a child.

Ivanovic, a former tennis pro who won the 2008 French Open champion, announced the news on Twitter with a sponsor-heavy photo.

Schweinsteiger, who played with the Fire this past season, also took to Twitter to share a photo and the news.

Schweinsteiger's future with the Fire remains unclear, but him and Ivanovic seemed to be happy living in Chicago, making various appearances at sporting events in the city. If he returns and the child is born in Chicago, does that mean we could one day see a Schweinsteiger repping the U.S. national team in 20-something years? Maybe the men's team won't be a national embarrassment by then, but then again, if it's a girl she'd be able to pick between the only multiple-time World Cup winning nations (U.S. and Germany).

Perhaps the child would take after Ivanovic and hit volleys with a racket instead of a foot, or maybe he or she will not take after the professional athlete parents.

In all seriousness, congratulations to both Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic.