Bears

Moon: Second extension to CBA talks likely

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Moon: Second extension to CBA talks likely

Friday, March 4, 2011
10:30 a.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The trickle of hope in NFLNFLPA negotiations hasnt stopped, which remains a good thing even if the ultimate prize of a new collective bargaining agreement hasnt been landed just yet. Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com encapsulates many of the wisps of thought circulating but the net is that a second extension to talks is appearing increasingly likely, and at this point this is more than just jockeying for some nebulous high PR ground.

The clock continues ticking and nothing other than these negotiations are permitted by an extension, meaning ostensibly that no contract negotiations can get done in the grace period. But the unmistakable mood is continuing to be guarded optimism from all reports.
Money matters
The Bears have given themselves some salary cap help with a deft restructuring of Julius Peppers contract, as first reported by ESPNChicago.com. Its a common move, one in this case that takes no money from the Pro Bowl defensive end but spreads out the cap hit of a 10.5 million bonus due him this year.

The option in the deal worked out by agent Carl Carey and Bears negotiator Cliff Stein allowed the Bears to change the bonus from a roster bonus, which is charged entirely to the year in which it is paid, to a signing bonus, which is averaged over the remaining years of the contract, in this case the next five. This saves the Bears 8.4 million under this years cap because instead of the 10.5 million being charged to 2011, the hit is about 2.1 million in each of the next five years.

Teams like roster bonuses because the money is charged and gone. But Carey and Stein incorporating the option helps free cap money for spending when the CBA situation is resolved.

And am I the only one wondering if Carey and Stein were left alone in a room, they might have this labor mess worked out by dinner time?

Kidding, obviously, but one of my favorite movies is Dave, in no small part because of the scenes in which Murray the accountant comes to the White House and pares about 650 million from the federal budget. Its Hollywood, but never, ever underestimate what common sense can do in the right hands.
Duly noted

CSNNE.com colleague Tom Curran will be visiting with Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk.coms Pro Football Talk Live. T.C. is one of the best and has had missile-lock on the Patriots for quite some time, which becomes significant here because Tom Brady and Logan Mankins are potentially among the A-list plaintiffs in any class-action lawsuit by the NFL players vs. the league in the event of union decertification. Also, Pats owner Robert Kraft is a major player in the CBA issues, and hes not a quiet one.

Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post does a quality, eminently understandable run-through of the issues now in front of the two sides in talks. Andrew was in the Green Bay front office during the 2006 negotiations and here he gives a nice thumbnail of how mediator George Cohen has structured the logistics of talks.

Robert Gallery, the Iowa big dog who became the No. 2 overall pick of the 2004 draft, is out of Oakland after he and the Raiders were simply too far apart on a new contract to leave any hope there. Gallery is not an elite talent at guard but in the right system and with a coach like Mike Tice. Now, guards have gotten into the 7 million - 8 million salary range and whether he fits price-wise and ability wise for the Bears is something better judged once the new salary cap is established once a labor agreement is reached. But rule nothing out.

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.

Olin Kreutz to join NBC Sports Chicago's Bears coverage team

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AP

Olin Kreutz to join NBC Sports Chicago's Bears coverage team

Chicago, IL (August 20, 2019) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE Home of the #AuthenticFan - has announced Chicago Bears legend/six-time Pro Bowl center OLIN KREUTZ will be joining the network as a game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2019 NFL season. In addition to his game day analyst role, which includes joining former Bears teammates Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Matt Forte, and host Laurence Holmes on Football Aftershow presented by Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 281 immediately following every Bears game, Kreutz is also scheduled to make additional appearances throughout the NFL season on a variety of NBC Sports Chicago’s programs and cross-platform content offerings.

“I’m happy to be joining the NBC Sports Chicago family and look forward to be working alongside Laurence and, of course, my former teammates, Lance, Alex and Matt,” said Kreutz.

“Olin has established himself as one of the very best NFL analysts in the city and we couldn’t be more pleased to have him join our expert Bears game day coverage team beginning this season,” added Kevin Cross, Senior Vice President/General Manager, NBC Sports Chicago.  “The addition of Olin showcases our year-round commitment to deliver the very best Bears coverage to our dedicated, multi-platform viewing audience.”

Kreutz, a third-round pick out of Washington in the 1998 NFL Draft (64th overall), spent 13 of his 14 pro seasons in a Bears uniform and is tied for second with Steve McMichael on the team’s all-time games played list (191), trailing only former Bears teammate Patrick Mannelly (245).  In addition, Kreutz trails only Walter Payton by one game on the team’s all-time games started list with 183.  Among Kreutz’ honors in his illustrious Bears career include six Pro Bowl appearances (2001-06), first-team (2006) and second-team (2005) All-Pro selections, being named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, along with being honored as a four-time recipient of the prestigious “Brian Piccolo Award” (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010).

Q&A with Bears DC Chuck Pagano, on staying a life course and how the burden of proof is on him with Bears “D”

Q&A with Bears DC Chuck Pagano, on staying a life course and how the burden of proof is on him with Bears “D”

Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia that began in 2012 changed him, as any personal cataclysm would a person. But in many ways, the important ways, it didn’t.

The Bears defensive coordinator, who this week returns to Indianapolis where he coached the Colts to a 53-43 record and three playoff appearances between 2012-17, experienced the changes in perspectives that accompanied the cancer fight, which began not long after he’d landed his dream job of being an NFL head coach, with the Colts in 2012. His on- and off-field perspectives have already registered with members of the NFL-leading defense that he inherits from former coordinator Vic Fangio, who left to become head coach of the Denver Broncos.

“You can tell [Pagano] is seasoned in the game,” said linebacker Khalil Mack. “He knows everything. There are different intangibles that he has brought that I had never even thought about when it comes to football.”

With few exceptions, teams associated with Pagano have consistently risen to be among the elites. Pagano broke into NFL coaching with stints in Cleveland and Oakland before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, where he reunited with defensive greats Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Pagano had worked with both while an assistant at the University of Miami, with the Hurricanes winning bowl games four of Pagano’s final five years there (1996-2000).

The Ravens reached the postseason and won at least one playoff game in all four of Pagano’s years there (2008-11). The Colts went to the postseason in Pagano’s first three seasons (2012-14), winning first-round games in ’12 and ’14 and losing only to eventual Super Bowl winners (Baltimore, New England).

In between those first two Indianapolis seasons was the 2013 postseason in which Pagano’s Colts overcame a 28-point deficit in the second half to win a divisional-round game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Pagano’s defense allowed just two field goals over the final six possessions for Kansas City and first-time quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy.

When injuries cost Pagano quarterback Andrew Luck for 10 of 32 games in 2016-17, the Colts missed the playoffs with consecutive 8-8 seasons. Luck then missed all of 2018, the Colts finished 4-12 and Pagano was fired from what had been his dream job, which he said left him overall “better, not bitter.”

Pagano, 58, spent 2018 as a “gap” year, as a consultant for NFL officials and SVP of officiating Al Riveron. When Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio left to become head coach of the Denver Broncos, the Bears called and Pagano was hired Jan. 11, 2019. And as for yearning to return as a head coach, “I'm not,” he said. “I've done it.”

Pagano talked with NBC Sports Chicago’s Bears columnist John “Moon” Mullin about the job he has come into, including the somewhat unusual situation of a coach needing to prove himself to players instead of vice versa.

NBCSC:  Did the experience of dealing with the cancer change you as a coach, how you just went about your day-to-day job? Or did it have any effect?

CP:  The day-to-day grind, not really. I think anytime you go through something like that, it makes lifestyle changes. You can’t change the grind of the National Football League, the hours, expectations, pressures.

But from a perspective standpoint, I’ve never really taken anything for granted. I’ve always been grateful for everything that’s come my way, family-wise, professionally, all that stuff. From a perspective standpoint it did put things in line for me as far as the pressures and expectations of the job. Those things I’ve tried to share with the team.

NBCSC:  From their different comments to myself and others, it’s very clear that players are indeed listening, both football-wise and beyond.

CP:  We all know what we sign up for when we take these jobs, whether you play or coach in the National Football League. The expectations are always going to be there.

But there’s real-life stuff out there, as we all know. It’s going on. And it’s a privilege to coach or play in this league, and that’s kept me grounded and put things in perspective. It made it a little easier to deal with some of the other things that come your way on the coaching side of it.

NBCSC:  Did all of it ever cause you to think about giving it all up and moving on?

CP:  No. No. I’d just landed the dream job [in Indianapolis] and all of a sudden got hit with the [cancer] setback. So it became my vision to beat cancer and be around for a long time with my wife, kids and grandkids, and to get back to the job I’d just taken five or six months prior.

NBCSC:  After leaving Indianapolis, you spent last year as a consultant for the league. What was that like for you?

CP:  I did some things with the officials, Al Riveron and those guys. I really enjoyed it, to tell the truth. It was my football ‘fix.’ Anytime you coach for 33, 34 years and then you all of a sudden don’t have it, nothing to do in the Fall, it was my football ‘fix’ to have the ability to be around the game in some capacity. It wasn’t coaching but I was able to watch a bunch of tape on all the games, and to learn the roles and how difficult the officiating part is.

Everybody’s got really tough jobs. You get a great appreciation for the jobs those guys have to do. It helped me understand the rules a little bit better, especially replay and all that kind of stuff. So it was good for me.

NBCSC:  And it’ll make you nicer to officials now, right?

CP:  [Laughs] Yeah, they deserve it. It’s a tough gig they’ve got.”

NBCSC:  Players always have to prove themselves to the coach. Coming into this team, this defense, do you have a feeling coming into a unit like this, that it was a little of the opposite, that you have to prove yourself to the players?

CP:  No doubt about it. There’s going to be high expectations for anybody coming into this. But absolutely. And I have great respect for coach Fangio. I’ve known Vic for a long time and he’s done a phenomenal job for a long time, calling defenses, building this defense, working with coach Nagy.

But anytime you come in, you’ve got to look at, ‘Here’s what the expectations are and I’ve gotta prove myself.’ I think it’s a challenge we all face and address and embrace. It’s not the thing that keeps you up at night, but I understand what the expectations are.

And we’ve got a bunch of really good football players and assistant coaches, and if we keep working like we’ve been working, get lucky and stay healthy, things’ll work out.

NBCSC:  How did coming to the Bears feel compared to when you went into Baltimore, as DB coach? There you knew Ray [Lewis] and Ed [Reed] from ‘The U’ [Miami], but here you don’t know the guys. Easier to go into that group, vs. now coming in as the D-coordinator, the top guy?

CP:  Going into that situation with coach [John] Harbaugh back in 2008, I did know Ed from coaching him in college, plus Samari Rolle, Chris McAlister. They had a bunch of great players on that entire defense on the back end.

Coming into that situation, I did have to earn the trust and respect of that unit, just like I do now. It’s what you do day in and day out. Talk is cheap unless you walk the walk, unless you earn their respect and trust, build relationships. They’re looking to see, ‘OK, can this guy help me? Help me get to that next contract, get to a championship level?’ whatever the question may be.

It’s definitely a process. I had to do it in Baltimore at the highest level and it’s no different here. You’ve gotta earn their respect, earn their trust.