Bears

Bears strongly backing concussion legislation

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Bears strongly backing concussion legislation

Friday, March 11, 2011Posted: 2:20 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

On the matter of lasting effects from concussions, Bears greats Richard Dent and Otis Wilson had a slight difference of opinion.

I never had a concussion, Wilson insisted, walking away with a laugh. I gave concussions.

His Hall of Fame teammate demurred.

He doesnt remember, Dent said, shaking his head. He had some, Im pretty sure he had some blank-out moments. But hes 55 now so he doesnt recall.

Wilsons number was 55; his age is 53. And somehow you know The Colonel knew that.

The two Super Bowl XX greats were on hand Friday at Soldier Field to add their support to that of the Bears organization, in the persons of Vice Chairman George McCaskey, President Ted Phillips and head athletic trainer Tim Bream, in support of legislation in the state Senate to take on the challenge of concussion legislation.

Im also the father of three sons whove grown up in athletics, Phillips said. So I know that injuries will always occur in high school sports and youth sports. This legislation is not a cure-all but I think it will go a long way to prevent needless head injuries and might even save lives among the young kids, boys and girls, in this state who are athletes.

We at the Bears are pledged to do whatever we can to help see that this legislation becomes law as quickly as possible.

The legislation, with the backing of House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), would require all school boards to adopt a multi-level policy regarding student-athlete concussions and head injuries.

This is a great thing for high school sports in Illinois because it creates a solid platform on concussions that we can all build upon, said 1980s Bears guard Kurt Becker, assistant head football coach at Marmion Academy in Aurora. Its putting the puzzle together. If the puzzle comes together with concussions and the inherent risks that follow concussions, its a scary situation.

The timing on this is tremendous. And the nice thing is that coaches arent involved in the decision. The student-athlete goes into the hands of the first responder, which is the trainer.

It wasnt always that way, as too many athletes know.

It used to be, Get up and try it again, son, Dent said, adding that the solution also will involve other on-field adjustments.

Kids are more aware now. You can wrestle and get a concussion. This is a collision sport. Youre putting a defensive player in jeopardy when you tell him how he can come in, yet the running back can still drop his head and run over you. Sooner or later youre going to get more shoulder, more neck problems.

Youve got to support the spine and support the shoulders.

Wilson stressed the inherent risks that come with a collision sport but I think is a good thing theyre trying to do stop concussion problems at an early age.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

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USA Today

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

Jordan Howard has accomplished some pretty amazing things to start his career. Most notably, he's the only running back in Chicago Bears franchise history to finish his first two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards, including 1,313 yards as a rookie, good for a team rookie record.

Still, Howard has been the target of criticism this offseason because of his questionable set of hands. He was plagued by a case of the drops last season and he's been labeled as a guy who can't catch the ball heading into 2018. Combine that with the player nipping at his heels -- Tarik Cohen -- and the overwhelming theory advanced by analysts is that he'll give way to Cohen on passing downs.

This presumption has made its way into the world of fantasy football, too. Howard is rarely if ever mentioned as one of the first running backs that should be drafted this summer and in a recent player vs. player showdown on Pro Football Focus, 49ers starter Jerick McKinnon was selected as a more appealing fantasy starter in 2018.

It’s close, but I give the nod to Jerick McKinnon. Howard’s troubles in the passing game are very real and it’s clear the Bears want to focus on that more this year. Meanwhile, McKinnon was handed a fat contract and has little competition when it comes to carries.

McKinnon, a career backup, was signed by San Franciso to be Kyle Shanahan's feature running back. He has a real chance to be a stud in fantasy circles, but should he be valued over a guy like Howard who's proven to be a contender for the NFL's rushing crown?

All of this offseason chatter will serve as great motivation for Howard who has to prove, first and foremost, that he can be a three-down back for coach Matt Nagy in the Bears' new offense. If he has a consistent training camp as a receiver and carries that momentum into the preseason and regular season, those fantasy players who draft McKinnon or another less-proven player over Howard will long for a redo.

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

Eddie Goldman is entering the final year of his contract this season and in order to cash in on a big payday, he'll need to stay healthy and make good on his top-tier potential. 

If he does, he'll become a very wealthy man and the Bears defense will have an even better year than its top-10 finish a season ago.

Goldman, 24, came to Chicago via the second round of the 2015 NFL draft and quickly became a household name among Bears fans. He started 12 games that season and finished with a surprising 4 1/2 sacks, a total that was more productive than his college scouting report predicted. He was pegged as a breakout star for 2016, but injuries ultimately derailed his second season. He played only six games that year (started five) but still flashed a surprisingly productive set of pass-rush traits; he finished 2016 with 2 1/2 sacks.

This past season represented something of a mixed bag for Goldman. He started 15 games and quieted some of the injury concerns that started bubbling around him, but his production dipped. He managed only 1 1/2 sacks. That said, he set a career-high with 27 tackles, nearly doubling his output as a rookie.

Still, Goldman wasn't a dominant force in 2017. He finished the year ranked 69th among interior defenders with a 76.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. Despite being healthy and available, it was the lowest season grade of his career from PFF.

Nose tackle is arguably the most critical position for any defense running a 3-4 scheme. It's no exception in Chicago. Goldman will set the table for linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith and the more bodies he can consume or attention he can draw from offensive lines, the more room second-level defenders will have to work. It's not just about filling up the stat sheet for Goldman. If he clogs running lanes and collapses the pocket consistently, he'll be worth every penny of a big contract extension despite lacking numbers.

The Bears need Goldman to bring his A-game in 2018, especially as a pass rusher. Chicago resides in arguably the most talented quarterback division in the NFL and for the defense to make those quarterbacks uncomfortable, Goldman has to apply pressure up the middle. He's proven he can do it, as evidenced by his rookie year production. But he's been on a steady decline in this area of his game since then and there's no room for more regression in 2018.

Players entering contract years tend to bring extra motivation to the field and there's no reason to expect anything less from Goldman. If he can combine his rookie year production with last season's availability, he could end up with the most well-rounded year of his career en route to leading the Bears' defensive line on a late-season playoff push.