Bears

Alex Bars confirms Patriots tried to sign him, says he's lucky to be a Bear

Alex Bars confirms Patriots tried to sign him, says he's lucky to be a Bear

Bears rookie guard Alex Bars was one of the biggest prizes of the team's 2019 undrafted rookie class and now finds himself on the shortlist of candidates to replace right guard Kyle Long (injured reserve) in the starting lineup.

It's quite the ascent for a player who's spent all of 2019 on the practice squad until his promotion to the active roster this week.

The first crack at the gig is expected to go to Rashaad Coward, but don't dismiss Bars as a legitimate competitor. He was, after all, targeted by the New England Patriots, who tried to sign the former Golden Domer from Chicago's practice squad recently.

Bars confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago's JJ Stankevitz that he declined New England's offer to join their active roster.

"Just I felt like the opportunity here in this franchise was greater," Bars said. 

Comfort and familiarity played a part, too. Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was Bars' collegiate position coach as well.

"(Hiestand) sees me like a son, I see him like a dad kind of relationship," said Bars. "He gets on me, no doubt, but he wants me to be my best and he cares so much about me, so we have a great relationship, yeah."

Having success in the NFL isn't just about a player's talent. Oftentimes, it comes down to his situation, his opportunity. For Bars, he made a calculated decision to remain in Chicago. It's one that will ultimately determine the direction and longevity of his career.

For now, he feels fortunate to be in the Windy City.

"I’m just thrilled to be here to be honest with you, really really lucky."

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Trubisky's trust and would you rather be the Bears or Rams?

JJ Stankevitz, Cam Ellis and John "Moon" Mullin convene at Halas Hall to discuss how to balance Mitch Trubisky's special moments against the rest of his play, including a comparison to Jay Cutler (2:35).

Then the trio breaks down Trubisky's trust - or lack thereof - in his receivers (7:50) and debates whether you'd rather be the Bears or the Rams moving forward (19:20).

They finish up by wondering how much a win on Sunday would mean to this team (25:35).

Listen to the episode here here or via the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast

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NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

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USA Today

NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

According to a report by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL and NFLPA “have made meaningful progress towards a new labor agreement.” 

There is plenty to unpack as negotiations progress, but the most significant tidbit from this news is that there is reportedly a real possibility the eventual agreement will expand the NFL’s regular season schedule to 17 games (while eliminating games from the preseason).

Such an agreement would represent a compromise between the league and the NFLPA. According to Maske, owners had been pushing for an 18-game regular season, but the players union has remained reluctant to budge off the current 16-game schedule. Maske flagged the league’s rookie compensation scale and current marijuana policy as areas in which the owners could give ground in order to persuade the players to agree to an expanded schedule.

The report also lists a 14-team playoff field as a potential inclusion in the agreement.

The current NFL CBA — which was agreed to in 2011 — is valid through the end of the 2020 season, but Maske reports that there is “optimism” a new agreement might be reached by the end of the 2019-20 postseason.