Blackhawks

Bears grade well in 'secondary' free-agent market

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Bears grade well in 'secondary' free-agent market

While specific position battles dont materially play out during OTAs, it has been amply evident that the Bears came out of the 2012 free-agent market with perhaps the highest record of acquisition in recent memory.

Longtime friend John Clayton over at ESPN in fact rates the Bears offseason-to-date behind only Tampa Bay, Buffalo, St. Louis and Oakland. John is an annual visitor to Bourbonnais and does a superb job, has for many years, of getting up close on teams and key figures.

But its the basis for Johns rating that is especially interesting.

The Bucs get JCs top grade for bringing in wideout Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright all starters at an elite level, plus defensive tackle Amobi Okoye from the Bears. Same for the Bills with adding defensive end Mario Williams.

But the second-wave winners, including the Bears, are based on the quality of depth added. That is part of what is clearly apparent even in the OTAs.

Guard Chilo Rachal and cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite all have been starters and could be again. Rachal is getting spot work with the 1s, and the two corners are penciled in as competition for both Tim Jennings left cornerback spot and D.J. Moores nickel spot.

Linebacker Geno Hayes is an impact special-teams player and the level of this phase of Bears performance qualifies this as a starter addition.

The Bears reaped significant benefits from a signing like centerguard Chris Spencer last offseason; Spencer became a starter and likely still will be. Okoye was a contributor and opted for Tampa Bay. Vernon Gholston and Roy Williams were not particularly memorable. Marion Barber was, for all the wrong reasons.

But the 2012 additions come in on short-term deals, which translates to motivation in the NFL and that bodes very well for the Bears as they do their last week of OTAs before next weeks three-day full minicamp.

Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones "unfit to play" first two days of Phase 3

Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones "unfit to play" first two days of Phase 3

Just like on Day 1 of the Oilers' Phase 3 training camp leading up to their play-in series against the Blackhawks, Edmonton defenseman Caleb Jones didn't participate in practice and was deemed "unfit to play" on Day 2 Tuesday.

Under the NHL's Return To Play protocol, teams will not be giving specifics on the status of players who are unavailable to skate.

Related: Corey Crawford misses Day1 of training camp, deemed "unfit" to play by Blackhawks

Jones, 23, has played in 60 games with the Oilers over the past two seasons. Mike Green, another Edmonton defenseman, opted out of the NHL's Return To Play program and will not participate in camp or the league's 24-team playoffs.

The Hawks will play the Oilers in a best-of-five qualifying round in Edmonton starting Aug. 1.

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NBA insider reveals most popular item requested by players in Disney bubble

NBA insider reveals most popular item requested by players in Disney bubble

Many NBA players are big time gamers. 

Gordon Hayward is famously obsessed with “Starcraft.” Dwight Howard loves “Call of Duty” so much he appeared in a commercial for the franchise in 2011. Zach LaVine often streams “Call of Duty: Warzone” on his Twitch account. And, seriously, just look at Meyers Leonard’s bubble setup:

 

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Incidentally enough, it turns out the biggest request by players inside the Disney bubble so far is gaming-related. According to NBA writer Keith Smith, who was also 20 years an employee of Disney, the most popular request by players during their first week at the campus was gaming chairs. And it makes sense. No one wants to sit in a normal hotel room chair for four hours when gaming — that includes the top athletes in the world.

“I heard the big delivery in the last two days was gaming chairs, because they don’t want the hotel chairs,” Smith told Jason Goff on the latest episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast. “They’re asking for all sorts of stuff.”

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Also on the show, Smith discussed what life is like inside the bubble for players and team personnel — from extracurricular activities, to food, to security and more. Smith was the first national writer to speculate about Disney as an option for the league to restart its season in an article for Yahoo! Sports back in April, and has been all over the story since.

Smith also shared why he’s optimistic the league will be able to finish despite the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases recently in Florida.

Listen to the latest Bulls Talk Podcast here or via the embedded player above.

Bulls Talk Podcast

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