Bears

Bulls to pick up Thibodeau's option for next season

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Bulls to pick up Thibodeau's option for next season

In the midst of Tuesday's press conference to discuss Derrick Rose's recovery from ACL surgery, Bulls general manager Gar Forman dropped an interesting nugget, not that it escaped notice: Tom Thibodeau's option for next season will be exercised by the team.

However, Forman didn't resolve the ongoing saga of whether the Bulls head coach would receive a contract extension in the near future.

"It hasnt changed since we talked, I think it was a month or two ago," Forman said Tuesday at Rush University Medical Center. "Toms option will be picked up and we started having conversations about an extension with him in the fall, and we hope to continue those discussions now that were in the offseason. We value Tom greatly. We values what he brings to the organization, what hes brought to the team. We think hes one of finest coaches in the league and were hopeful that hell be our coach long-term.

Thibodeau chimed in on the situation: "Im not worried about that. Those things all take care of themselves."

In his first public comments since the Bulls' season ended at the hands of Philadelphia last Thursday, Thibodeau reflected on his team's campaign, which was riddled by injuries and ended in a disappointing first-round playoff exit, though the Bulls again had the league's best regular-season record.

"In the end, there will be one team thats satisfied. As I said at the end of the season, I was disappointed in our loss, but not disappointed in our team. Our team gave everything they had and thats all you can ask of your team, so we fell short and we have to look forward to the challenge next year," he said.

"You dont want to look backwards. You want to obviously learn and move forward. Going into the playoffs, the two things that you have to have is one, you need to be playing well and two, you have to have your health. Those things are critical, so we fell short, but we had a number of guys that were injured and I thought our bench was terrific all year long, and I think we fell short in the end, but overall, I thought our team did fine."

The notoriously hard-charging coach did say that he'll take some time for himself before returning to the grind of preparing for next season, as well as next month's draft and the summer's free agency.

"I will," he admitted. "Right now, I wanted to be around with Derrick going through this and then, Ill take some time and then, decompress for a week or so, and then get back at it."

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

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USA Today Sports Images

Bears still see Dion Sims as a valuable piece to their offensive puzzle

Dion Sims is still here, which is the outcome he expected but perhaps wasn’t a slam dunk — at least to those outside the walls at Halas Hall. 

The Bears could’ve cut ties with Sims prior to March 16 and saved $5.666 million against the cap, quite a figure for a guy coming off a disappointing 2017 season (15 catches, 180 yards, one touchdown). But the Bears are sticking with Sims, even after splashing eight figures to land Trey Burton in free agency earlier this year. 

“In my mind, I thought I was coming back,” Sims said. “I signed to be here three years and that’s what I expect. But I understand how things go and my job is come out here and work hard every day and play with a chip on my shoulder to prove myself and just be a team guy.”

The Bears signed Sims to that three-year, $18 million contract 14 months ago viewing him as a rock-solid blocking tight end with some receiving upside. The receiving upside never materialized, and his blocking was uneven at times as the Bears’ offense slogged through a bleak 11-loss season. 

“The situation we were in, we weren’t — we could’ve done a better job of being successful,” Sims said. “Things didn’t go how we thought it would. We just had to pretty much try to figure out how to come together and build momentum into coming into this year. I just think there were a lot of things we could have done, but because of the circumstances we were limited a little bit. 

“… It was a lot of things going on. Guys hurt, situations — it was tough for us. We couldn’t figure it out, along with losing, that was a big part of it too.”

Sims will be given a fresh start in 2018, even as Adam Shaheen will be expected to compete to cut into Sims’ playing time at the “Y” tight end position this year. The other side of that thought: Shaheen won’t necessarily slide into being the Bears’ primary in-line tight end this year. 

Sims averaged 23 receptions, 222 yards and two touchdowns from 2014-2016; that might be a good starting point for his 2018 numbers, even if it would represent an improvement from 2017. More important, perhaps, is what Sims does as a run blocker — and that was the first thing Nagy mentioned when talking about how Sims fits into his offense. 

“The nice thing with Dion is that he’s a guy that’s proven to be a solid blocker,” Nagy said. “He can be in there and be your Y-tight end, but yet he still has really good hands. He can make plays on intermediate routes. He’s not going to be anybody that’s a downfield threat — I think he knows that, we all know that — but he’s a valuable piece of this puzzle.”

89 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

89 Days to Kickoff: St. Charles East

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: St. Charles East

Head coach: Bryce Farquhar

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-2 Upstate 8 River Conference), St. Charles East made the 2017 IHSA state Class 8A playoff field. The Saints defeated Oswego East then lost to eventual 8A state champion Lincoln-Way East in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Rock Island

Aug. 31 @ Carmel

Sept. 7 vs Glenbard North

Sept. 14 @ Wheaton South

Sept. 21 vs Geneva

Sept. 28 @ St. Charles North

Oct. 5 vs Batavia

Oct. 12 @ Wheaton North

Oct. 19 vs Lake Park

[MORE: 90 Days to Kickoff - Warren]

Biggest storyline: The Saints have had impressive campaigns the last two seasons. Can they continue to prosper in the newly-formed DuKane Conference?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Justin Jett and OL Dylan Barrett

Biggest holes to fill: The Saints will look to reload at a few key spots including at quarterback, as Clayton Isbell has moved on to Illinois State. Replacing RB/LB Nick Garlisch (South Dakota St.) will be key as well.

EDGY's Early Take: Coach Bryce Farquhar's Saints have produced playoff seasons in back-to-back years. Now, their regular season ramps up a bit with the newly-formed DuKane Conference. The new league features some former Upstate Eight conference foes in St. Charles North, Batavia and Geneva, plus former DuPage Valley members Wheaton Warrenville South, Wheaton North, Glenbard North and Lake Park. Look for the Saints to rely on some experience up front. Three starters are back on the offensive line, including junior OG Dylan Barrett. He has already added several FBS level scholarship offers.