The news was more than a little shocking, that agent Eugene Parker died Thursday at age 60 after a losing battle with kidney cancer. Like so many of these kinds of things — too many, actually — it occasioned some thoughts, pretty much all of them good.
This was the man who handled Devin Hester’s contract when Hester wanted a shot at wide receiver. He was Cedric Benson’s agent, involved in the holdout that got Benson’s Bears career off to a bad start, but Parker was about principle and he had an idea what was fair for Benson.
Parker was one of the best in a difficult and sometimes very nasty part of the football business. He never left his roots and base in Fort Wayne, and he never lost that something that comes from an athlete (Purdue hoops, drafted by the San Antonio Spurs but chose to get his law degree) working with athletes. “Class act” is too trite.
He was Deion Sanders’ agent, and obviously more than just his agent — Sanders chose to have Parker present him for his Hall of Fame induction.
He also was Alshon Jeffery’s agent, along with the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rod Woodson. He was among the first to come up with the “poison pill” concept in contract design, something outlawed now by the NFL. But when Parker worked it into Curtis Martin’s contract with the New York Jets, then according to the rules and in the best interests of his client, Martin made out and the Jets got a Hall of Fame running back.
So while it isn’t a passing noted on a huge scale by the broadest realm of the sport, Eugene Parker is worthy of noting. Someone who did it right.
The Bears are off to their best start since 2014, and the team seems to be playing well together through two games of the season.
The offense is finding creative ways to put points on the board early, and the defense has emerged as one of the top units in the league so far. It’s only resulted in one win, but Chicago seems to be on the right track for more success this season.
The analysts over at Pro Football Focus like what they’ve seen, and their grades are high on a number of individual Bears players. Six of them rank in the top five of their respective positions so far this season.
Khalil Mack, Kyle Long and Charles Leno are all the second highest-graded players among their peers, Jordan Howard has the third-highest grade for a running back, Akiem Hicks is tied for fourth among defensive linemen, and Pat O’Donnell is the fifth-ranked punter.
Just missing the cut is Bryce Callahan, who currently ranks sixth among cornerbacks with an 81.8 overall grade. As a whole the Bears have PFF’s highest-graded defense, while the offense ranks 21st.
It’s clear the team has had a lot of individual success on both sides of the ball, and the next step is converting that into team success with more wins on Sundays.
Look, we've got no business telling you how to spend your money.
We will, however, question how you spend your money. Especially if it's to create a Jon Gruden Bears jersey, like our friend at Monday night's game did:
It's an honorable commitment to the bit, if nothing else. When you get the opportunity to roast someone you've never met by spending your money on an expensive jersey with the name of a coach who's not on the Bears, all in the name of Content, you have to do it.