Bears Classics: 'One Giant Leap'


Bears Classics: 'One Giant Leap'

In the latest episode of Bears Classics: "One Giant Leap," CSN takes a look back at the memorable 1977 game against the New York Giants at the Meadowlands that ended a 14-year postseason drought for the Bears.

A Bob Thomas 28-yard field goal with :09 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Bears a 12-9 victory and sent Chicago back to the playoffs for the first time since winning the NFL Championship in 1963.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

CSN caught up with former players and coaches in this latest installment of Bears Classics. Find out why the Bears-Giants rivalry was so big in 1977 in the video above and check out some highlights of the episode in the clips below.

Ex-Bears on the team drafting Walter Payton:

Walter Payton's dominating MVP season:

Why Jack Pardee was the right man to coach the Bears

One Giant Leap: A comeback for the ages

One Giant Leap: Thomas' game-winning field goal

One Giant Leap: From the gridiron to the courtroom

One Giant Leap: Slowing down Csonka

One Giant Leap: Ending the postseason drought

One Giant Leap: Robin Earl comes to the rescue

One Giant Leap: Pardee's departure from the Bears

Does Bradley Sowell have a roster spot locked up as Bears' tight end battle hits home stretch?

USA Today

Does Bradley Sowell have a roster spot locked up as Bears' tight end battle hits home stretch?

Matt Nagy listed off three positions he'll have a keen focus on during Saturday's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts: Tight end, inside linebacker and cornerback. Of those three, tight end carries the most intrigue given the injury histories of Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, and the need for depth behind those two players. 

Here's where things stand with just over a week until cut-down day:

On the team: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker
On the bubble: Bradley Sowell, Ian Bunting, Dax Raymond, Jesper Horsted, Ellis Richardson

With Aug. 31's cut-down deadline quickly approaching, Sowell appears to be on the inside track to make the Bears’ roster as a backup "Y" tight end. A prime example: When asked about Sowell’s move from offensive line to tight end, Nagy preached patience with the move. 

“For us, if we don’t have patience with him in this transition, and there’s frustration with anything, we have to check ourselves as coaches,” Nagy said. “We’re taking this guy who has played tackle in his career and moved him to a position where you’re running routes and you’ve got to know every formation where you line up. So all that said, I really like where he’s at, and I’m looking forward to more.”

This could perhaps be positive coach-speak, and Sowell — who hasn’t been targeted but has committed two penalties in two preseason games — could be closer to the roster bubble than Nagy is intimating. But for Sowell’s roster spot to be in jeopardy, one of the Bears’ undrafted rookies will needs to step up.

So far, the closest to doing that has been Bunting, the 6-foot-7 Hinsdale Central alum who had a good showing against the Carolina Panthers (three catches, 77 yards) but disappeared eight days later against the New York Giants. Raymond, like Bunting, was not targeted against the Giants, though he did notch a solid block on a 14-yard run by running back Ryan Nall. Horsted and Richardson don’t appear to be realistic options. 

Notably, when asked how Bunting and Raymond have looked in terms of holding the point of attack in the run game, Nagy said after the Giants game: “They’re not there yet."

Nagy, though, added: "But there’s some potential. There is. This is a whole new world for them. It’s the NFL. Guys are bigger, stronger, faster. It’s a new playbook, so they’re trying to put all that stuff together. 

"We have to decide, ‘Hey, are they a developmental guy? Or are they a guy that’s ready right away? Who are they? We have two weeks to see that and then we’ll have not much time to decide it.” 

The thought here, then, is Sowell will be on the roster come Sept. 5, unless the Bears can find a backup “Y” tight end with whom they’re more comfortable on the waiver wire. At the least, the Bears trust Sowell as an in-line blocker (though he was beat on a block by Giants outside linebacker Markus Golden last week), whereas they may not trust Bunting or Raymond in those duties yet. 

Bunting and Raymond are likely fighting for their roster spot against a fourth running back/seventh wide receiver/ninth offensive lineman, etc. If they don't make the Bears' 53-man roster they'd be prime practice squad candidates. 

Gil Brandt says Bears should give Carli Lloyd a tryout

USA Today

Gil Brandt says Bears should give Carli Lloyd a tryout

The Bears offseason has been dedicated to finding a new kicker and has included some unconvential tactics to put the kickers in pressure situations. Eddy Pineiro was the last man standing at the end of the competition and has won the spot.

But could two-time Women's World Cup champion Carli Lloyd get added to the mix?

After nailing a 55-yard field goal through a very narrow pair of uprights at the Eagles' facilities she has caught the attention of people around the NFL, including Gil Brandt who suggested the Bears give her a call.

And Brandt had a Hall of Fame career evaluating talent for the Dallas Cowboys.

Lloyd kicking for an NFL team isn't that far-fetched, she told Sports Illustrated she has received some calls.

“I’ve definitely got some inquiries, I’ve definitely got some people talking," Lloyd said. "Anything is possible but right now, I’m strictly a soccer player and we’ll see what the future holds.”

Lloyd also agrees with Brandt, it could not be long before the gender barrier fell in the NFL.

“I think anything is possible. It’s been really interesting because, for me, I’m just an athlete, I’m a competitor,” she said. “But for so many other people, I think they’re starting to think 'Will there ever be a female in the NFL at some point?' And I think we’re kind of at that crossroads as far as equality and just women empowerment, so you’re kind of being in the crosshairs of that.”

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