Blackhawks

T.O. to the Bears? Not as crazy as you would think

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T.O. to the Bears? Not as crazy as you would think

Dont roll your eyes just yet when thinking about if the Bears should kick the tires on signing wide receiver Terrell Owens. My co-host Adam Schein and I caught up with Owens and former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week while the pair promoted the opening of the new NFL Shop in New York City.

As for a return to the NFL, Owens said: Definitely, that is the plan. Im keeping myself in shape. Im sure everyone knows Im playing in the Indoor Football League with the Allen Wranglers. Were 5-1 right now and Im having fun. Im using it as a way to keep myself in shape to play a few more years.

Owens last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 finishing the season on injured reserve for the first time in his 15-year NFL career. Owens finished 17 yards shy of another 1,000-yard season, but still led the Bengals in receptions (72), yards (983), and touchdowns (9). Owens subsequently tore the ACL in his knee during the 2011 offseason. Despite a short recovery, Owens did not play football in 2011 even after a well publicized workout in October to try and convince NFL teams he was healthy.

When I asked Owens how his knee and overall health was right now, he said it's not an issue.

As far as health, Im fine. Im just looking for an opportunity." Owens said. "The Indoor League is quickerits faster than the outdoor game. It has enhanced my route running ability. If anything, Ive benefited from, and noticed how quick coming in and out of my breaks Ive become.

Former NFL linebacker and now current president and general manager of the AFLs Tampa Bay Storm, Brooks has scouted Owens and likes what hes seen.

I see humility and I see hunger. A lot of guys would not step back and play indoor football to prove to teams that they can still play," Brooks explained. "The hunger is still there. You can see it when he plays.

Brooks went even further saying, if anyone has any questions about the strength of the knee, from what Ive seen, if I were a team, I would give him a call.

Do the Bears or any other NFL team have to worry about Owens personality and does it suggest why he is not signed yet despite another "diva" WR like Randy Moss already being signed by San Francisco after spending 2011 in retirement?

I cannot say why Im not on a team other than that I can tell you about what I will give your team every Sunday. I have always earned my place on a team. I dont mind coming in playing for the minimum and working my way up, Owens said.

Owens did want to set the record straight concerning how he is perceived: A lot of people have said Ive thrown QBs under the bus, this and that and rightfully so. I have had some moments where I have said some things at the wrong time. Those were years where I was younger, now Ive matured more. Im in a different head space so to speak.

Owens compares himself to Moss but said, we both have had issues, but I think they are vastly different.

Owens specifically points to his heated televised sideline exchange with 49ers offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp. He still fights thoughts of how his blow up is any different than Tom Bradys televised argument this past season with New Englands former offensive coordinator Bill OBrien.

My passion gets misconstrued. When I hear commentators criticize me, but when Tom Brady does it, it shows leadership and a team needs a guy like that. It was basically the same exact situation. How was that any different? Ive tried to leave what Ive done in the past, but people wont leave it there," Owens said.

Regardless of the baggage, Owens has produced and the Bears could utilize his skills with no risk involved. Currently, Brandon Marshall is penciled in at the (weak-side) X-position, Earl Bennett is in the slot, and the (strong-side) Z-position is up for grabs. Devin Hester and recently signed Devin Thomas will compete along with a draft pick who can provide strong play in the future.

But as for 2012, Owens is a no brainer. The Bears should sign him for the league minimum and hell win the job. Owens has done this everywhere hes landed. If the Bears dont like what they see from Owens, he becomes a casualty camp release. Similar to what the 49ers have done with Moss.

The NFL is a riskreward league and signing the low-risk Owens, who would be coached by a veteran like Lovie Smith with a veteran locker room could have huge benefits. Ill let you decide, but Owens productivity shows hes led all receivers on every team hes played.

Lack of energy comes at wrong time for Blackhawks: 'Makes you angry'

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USA Today

Lack of energy comes at wrong time for Blackhawks: 'Makes you angry'

Effort has not been a major concern for the Blackhawks this season. For the most part it's been there, and you could see it over the last two months when they started to string together a run.

But Wednesday, it was.

The Blackhawks didn't have a great first period. They had a decent second. Things went off the rails in the third. 

The Blackhawks lost focus, and the compete level wasn't nearly where it needed to be in their first home game in exactly two weeks after giving up five third-period goals, four of which came in a span of 7:08.

"Makes you angry," head coach Jeremy Colliton said following a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers. "Because it's a game that you're looking for like, we needed this game. We didn't do the things right from the start to put ourselves in the best position to win. We just didn't have enough guys ready to play."

The Blackhawks picked up two out of a possible 10 points on their five-game road trip in Western Canada, but that wasn't necessarily indicative of how they played. All five games were there for the taking but they squandered opportunities to do so. A power-play goal here or there could've been the difference, but instead their drought is now up to 0-for-17 in their past six games.

It was a tough road trip for the Blackhawks, not just because they didn't get the desired results, but because it was a demanding travel schedule that started and ended in Winnipeg. But they wouldn't use that as an excuse even though it's a valid one at this time of year.

"To me, the story of the game tonight is, you're going to have games throughout the year where you don't have energy, where it's hard to find," Jonathan Toews said. "You've got to find the motivation to go out there and play your best game. It's just a mental thing that you have to do and that's just the name of the game, playing NHL hockey. That's one of the challenging things that if you want to make the playoffs and you want to be a winning team you're not going to feel at your best every night.

"There's going to be tough travel, tough schedule, a lot of adversity, things that pile up in your way and you've got to find a way to overcome it. So we didn't do that tonight." 

With Wednesday's loss, the Blackhawks fell to 1-5-2 in their past eight games after going 12-5-0 in their previous 17. They remain eight points out of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference but have four teams to jump, two of which have a game in hand.

Playoffs seem like a pipedream at this point, and you have to wonder how this latest spiral could impact the Blackhawks' plans ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline. It's always a challenging time of year for players, especially on teams on the outside looking in, but that doesn't mean it's time to wave the white flag.

"We have to think really short-term," Colliton said. "And that's tomorrow, how are we going to prepare? Because we didn't prepare well enough. The coaches have to do a better job of preparing the team, the team needs to do a better job of preparing each other, and individually they've got to do a better job of preparing themselves to play."

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Are the Blackhawks buyers or sellers?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Are the Blackhawks buyers or sellers?

Charlie Roumeliotis, Scott King, and Ben Pope join Leila on the panel.

0:00- The Blackhawks return home after two weeks on the road. Did they return to Chicago as trade deadline sellers? And what are the chances both goalies could be dealt by Monday?

12:00- Pat Boyle joins the panel. He gives his thoughts on the Blackhawks trade deadline plans.

14:30- David Ross says the Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo could hit 1-2 in the Cubs lineup in 2020. Will that solve their leadoff woes?

19:00- The Astros controversy just won't go away. The panel discusses.

21:00- The NFL reportedly wants to expand the playoffs to 14 teams and go to a 17 game regular season. Is this a good idea?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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