Bears

Bears, NFLPA spar over workers' comp bill impact on Illinois pro athletes

Bears, NFLPA spar over workers' comp bill impact on Illinois pro athletes

An off-field dustup between the Bears, as the point organization for Illinois pro sports teams, and the NFL players association ratcheted up on Friday with representatives of the NFLPA again urging defeat of proposed legislation limiting the years that pro athletes can receive a workers' compensation supplement, and the Bears responding that the legislation simply corrects an anomaly in Illinois law.
 
The Bears and Illinois teams are pushing for a change in workers' compensation law that currently allows pro athletes to collect a differential for lost income due to an injury while playing. The law now permits that wage differential to continue until the age 67 limit applied to all workers; the teams contend that the career expectancies for pro sports, particularly football, should cap the term of those benefits to age 35, on the basis of most pro careers being over by that age.

Senate Bill 12 contains a proposal for workers' comp reform, specifically eliminating the ability of pro athletes to collect wage-differential benefits until age 67.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
 
"We want one of two outcomes," said George Atallah, NFLPA assistant executive director of External Affairs via conference call. "For the NFL to call the Chicago Bears and tell them to stop this; or for the state senator [Republican Christine Radogno] to pull this bill on behalf of the Bears and the other professional sports teams  who essentially wrote it for her."
 
The wage-differential benefit is neither present nor uniform in state laws nationally. "This is really an anomaly in the law that needs correction," said Bears General Counsel Cliff Stein.
 
Stein disputed a number of assertions by NFLPA officials, stating that "IIlinois is the only [state] that has athletes pursuing or filing for wage differential benefits until age 67. ... This is an anomaly that only exists here."
 
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith declared last week that he would urge free agents to spurn the Bears if the bill does pass. Stein, himself a former players agent, said that he did not expect agents and players to rule out Illinois because of the situation. Several other states do not offer any kind of workers' compensation benefits to pro athletes.

Bears' Jaylon Johnson gets second-best Madden rating of all rookie cornerbacks

Bears' Jaylon Johnson gets second-best Madden rating of all rookie cornerbacks

Madden Ratings are content now, which in this one very specific case is actually good news for Bears fans! 

Jaylon Johnson, the Utah cornerback that the team took in the 2nd round of this year's draft, comes in rated at 73, which sounds fine? Right?

The hype around Johnson – who's become a trendy CB2 pick already – only continues to grow, and the rookie, to his credit, isn't backing away from it: 

"I didn't think there were six conerbacks that should've been taken ahead of me," he said in an interview with Bears media. At the end of the day, that's just more fuel to my fire. Even if I was the first one taken, I still would have found something to motivate me in some way, shape, or form to keep me going. Just being, like you said, the 7th cornerback taken, it just makes me want to go to work even more."

Mike Ditka becomes owner of X League, a women's tackle football league

Mike Ditka becomes owner of X League, a women's tackle football league

Mike Ditka is now the owner and chairmen of 'X League' football, apparently. 

X-League is a women's tackle football league that was originally founded as the Lingerie Football League. In 2009 they rebranded to the Legends Football League, and 10 years after that decided to again rebrand, this time calling it X-League. Now Mike Ditka owns it. There's a video and everything, exclusively featuring footage and photos of his playing days (??): 

Ditka also provides a quote in the video, saying, "Now from an ownership and executive perspective, I want to provide women a high-profile platform to compete against the greatest female athletes in the world while creating a destination league for millions of girls to aspire to play in."

"It’s time to give women, and girls, the same opportunity to play the game that the men play,” he added.