Moon: There was no one more fun to talk with than Doug Buffone


Moon: There was no one more fun to talk with than Doug Buffone

The hard thing thinking and writing about the death of Doug Buffone is that it’s such a sad exercise, and you just know that Doug would be extremely insulted if there was too much “sad” in anything having to do with him. Your day was always just a little more fun if it had some Doug time in it.

Doug was easily one of the most memorable and enjoyable individuals I have encountered in a quarter-century of covering the Chicago Bears. Period. One of the funniest, most honest, most interesting people – not just player – I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Recalling Doug (and just writing that, “recalling,” is just wrong) is in the form of snapshots, sort of Doug Moments. And just about every time doing my book on “100 Best Chicago Sports Arguments” a few years back, one of the “arguments” was whether Walter Payton or Gale Sayers was in fact the best-ever Chicago Bear running back.

[MORE: Bears legend Doug Buffone passes away at age 70]

The topic wasn’t an easy one, but the best way to answer it was: Call Doug. Not everyone realized that Doug played with both Gale and with Walter, meaning that he in fact spanned eras, and was himself a star in both.

(For the record, after probably a half-hour of chat that was both hilarious and beyond interesting, Doug cast his vote for Gale, just based on pure running ability.)

Seeing Doug at training camps was a highlight, and seeing how he was with people was its own nugget. This was one of the all-time great football players for one of the NFL’s truly great franchises, and if there was ever anyone who was less a “legend” around folks than Doug, I’d have to see it to believe it. He was the same guy walking along a line of fans, breaking into stories and laughs with them, as he was with any luminary or so-called distinguished individual.

Actually, Doug wasn’t just comfortable with royalty. Doug WAS football royalty.

[MORE: Mike Ditka on Doug Buffone: 'I loved him']

Doing a story last year on whether players from the NFL’s past could play in the modern NFL, I intentionally saved Doug until near the end of the interview process. Sort of saving the best ‘til last. And Doug was absolutely the best.

“What?!” Doug howled when I told him I was looking hard at whether the best of his time could play today. “Are you kiddin’ me?! Johnny, no way these guys today could play with us!!”

And of course, one of the points Doug threw out there was you had to compare apples to apples. “OK, Johnny, here’s the deal: These guys today have to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, at least two cigarettes at halftime of games, and pound maybe a fifth of Jack Daniels during the week, maybe two. THEN we’ll see who can play when!”

And he’s both laughing the whole time and yelling at the same time, and spot on. And of course, Doug’s suggestion was, “Hey, come to think of it, some Jack Daniels sounds pretty damn good, doesn’t it?” And he’d laugh again.

That‘s maybe the punch line here. Doug didn’t do “sad” very well. It was maybe the only thing he didn’t do well.

Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'


Jay Cutler is the most unsurprising 'breakout star' of 'Very Cavallari'

After producing one-liners as amusing as “I’m looking to do the exact opposite of work,” in his reality TV debut, Jay Cutler was at it again.

The former Bears quarterback had more gems to offer in the second episode of his wife’s reality show, “Very Cavallari.” Cutler’s general apathy towards, well, everything continued.

In one of the more unintentionally funny lines of the show, Kristin Cavallari, Cutler’s wife and the star of the show, said Cutler has no game. Keep the giggles to yourselves, Bears fans.

She wistfully talked about how much fun the couple used to have early in their relationship until Cutler cut her off and said “You decided to go to bed at 8:45 every night.”

“He can be a little s*** sometimes, but he makes me laugh,” Kristin Cavallari said of her husband on the show.

That line might be something Bears fans can relate to.

While the show has plenty of your standard reality show drama, Cutler’s scenes are a humorous change of pace. The way things are going, Cutler could be in for a bigger part. In the meantime, maybe Bears fans will skip around until Cutler appears on camera.

Who knew? Bears fans, Kristin. All Bears fans knew.

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

USA Today

Roquan Smith not among Bears rookies reporting to training camp

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith won't be reporting to Bourbonnais with the rest of the team's rookie class Monday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. His absence isn't technically a holdout until veterans are required to report on July 19.

Smith is among several top-10 picks without a contract but is the first who will grab headlines. Chicago's training camp starts earlier than most this year because of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game on August 4. The extra week of camp makes Smith's contract status less concerning, even if it spills into the first few practices.

Still, we aren't too far removed from Joey Bosa's lengthy contract dispute with the Los Angeles Chargers that centered around offset language and his signing bonus.

Generally speaking, teams want offset language in rookie contracts as protection in the event they decide to cut a player in his fourth season. If the contract doesn't include offset language, the player is entitled to all of the money in that fourth season from his original team while also eligible to sign elsewhere. Teams don't want to pay that money while the player wants the ability to double dip.

This is one of the few issues that can result in a holdout now that the rookie wage scale is in place. Smith, most likely, isn't arguing over dollars. Instead, it's about contract language, which can get dicey.

We'll know more about how far apart the Bears and Smith are on his contract come July 19, when this disagreement will officially become a holdout.