Bears

Bears cut ties with Jeremiah Ratliff, sign DL Ziggy Hood

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Bears cut ties with Jeremiah Ratliff, sign DL Ziggy Hood

Last offseason, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio cited Jeremiah Ratliff as the one defensive lineman at the requisite performance level needed in the developing defensive scheme. On Thursday that relationship crashed to an acrimonious conclusion as the Bears terminated the contract of the four-time Pro Bowl lineman.

In his place the Bears signed Ziggy Hood, a veteran of six combined seasons with Pittsburgh (2009-20013) and Jacksonville (2014). Hood was the Steelers’ first-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2009 draft. Prior to the 2014 season Hood had signed a four-year contract with Jacksonville, worth $16 million and with $5.5 million guaranteed.

Hood suffered a foot injury in September and had been on the Jacksonville reserve/injured list. He was released Thursday after passing a physical.

Ratliff’s release comes in the wake of reports of a heated confrontation with general manager Ryan Pace on Wednesday, to the point where team security personnel and Lake Forest police were summoned and Ratliff escorted from the premises. The exact nature of the incident was not known, nor whether it was what precipitated or resulted from Ratliff’s release.

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The move ostensibly saves the Bears no money, since the remainder of Ratliff’s $1.235 million had been guaranteed.

Ratliff played 41 snaps in the loss at Detroit last Sunday and was initially credited with 3 solo tackles. He was nursing a severely cut finger after the game but his release came as something of a surprise after his starting both the Kansas City and Detroit games.

“We felt moving forward without Jeremiah was in the best interest of our team,” said Pace. “We appreciate his contributions and wish him well. We are also excited to be able to add Ziggy Hood to our roster.”

Ratliff had missed the first three games this season due to a suspension arising out of an off-field DUI incident in 2014. Coincidentally, Ratliff had suffered an ankle injury during the Cincinnati preseason game and was still recovering from that in week four, causing him to miss the Oakland game.

Ratliff’s exit projects to increase the load for rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who also played 41 snaps at Detroit, and others. Ratliff was working in both base 3-4 alignments and as one of the two defensive tackles in the Bears’ nickel sub package, along side Jarvis Jenkins inside and with Pernell McPhee and Willie Young outside.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”