At this rate, rookie Jeremy Langford headed for some OT pay


At this rate, rookie Jeremy Langford headed for some OT pay

At the end of every season the NFL portions out performance-based pay that typically supplements the pay of lower-paid, usually younger players who get substantial playing time beyond their pay grade. If the first two preseason games are any indication, Jeremy Langford will be getting some overtime pay once this season is done.

The rookie running back flashed with a 46-yard run in the win at Indianapolis, added a two-yard, second-effort touchdown run and finished with 80 rushing yards. Against Miami, Langford caught both of the passes thrown to him besides carrying four times.

All of this on top of being part involved in special teams and covering kicks, the closest the NFL likes to get to rookie hazing.

Backups need to be contributors on special teams, but running backs are about legs, which are red-line’d covering kicks. Langford, however, might have volunteered if he hadn’t already been assigned to kicking units.

“I feel like it really helps,” Langford said. “When you go in there a little stiff, you run down there on special teams, on all four special teams, and eventually you warm up. So I feel like that's helping me, really getting on the field and getting that nervous out of me, so that when I do get the ball it can help me a lot.”

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Neal Anderson, then the rookie understudy to Walter Payton, was involved in kick coverage as the Bears’ first-round pick in 1986. The next year, Jim Harbaugh was their No. 1 and he volunteered to cover kickoffs.

(Just once. Harbaugh tore downfield, threw himself into the blocking wedge and made his way to the sideline looking out through his earhole. Enough of that.)

Langford got special-teams work at Michigan State while backing up current Pittsburgh Steeler Le’Veon Bell. But it’s been more than just Langford’s production that has made a strong, early impression.

“Outstanding,” coach John Fox said. “I think we saw early in camp that (the NFL game) wasn’t too fast for him. He’s very humble, sharp guy, willing to learn, and he has talent.

“Every time they go out there, I tell the team that they’re going to pick the roster. Those performances are big, he’s had two pretty good outings, and hopefully we can improve this week against Cincinnati.”

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.

The four-episode series will air on at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night. 

Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.

For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.