Bears

Deng back at practice; Rose fined for comments

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Deng back at practice; Rose fined for comments

In advance of Wednesdays showdown with the rival Heat, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau revealed some good news following the teams Tuesday-afternoon practice at the Berto Center: Luol Deng returned to the court.

Hopefully, Thibodeau responded when asked if the All-Star small forward would play in the much-ballyhooed contest. I want to see how he feels after practicing today, but he went through everything in practice and he felt pretty good.

Conversely, the teams other All-Star, point guard Derrick Rose, sat out of the practice, though Thibodeau said the reigning league MVP would be in action against Miami.

Just a little sore, rest, said the coach. Hes nicked up a little bit.

Wear and tear, so hopefully the rest will do him good.

The Chicago native watched video with Thibodeau after practice a familiar routine from last season but was unavailable for comment. It can be assumed that Roses soreness arose from Monday nights win over the Knicks, in which he took a few hard spills and afterwards, criticized the officiating, resulting in a 25,000 fine from the league Tuesday.

You guys know Derrick. Derricks not a complainer, so usually, if he says something, he has a point he wants to make, said Thibodeau. I thought he was driving the ball pretty hard and didnt get calls.

It comes with experience and I think that hes developing relationships with NBA referees. Hes a hard guy to officiate and sometimes, because of his speed and power, you dont recognize when he is being hit and usually, hell play through things and he doesnt say very much, but I think he was frustrated, so he made his point, he continued. Hes very respectful about making his points. I dont think he ever is at a point where he shows somebody up. When he has something to say, he says it.

Meanwhile, Roses understudy, C.J. Watson, continues to recover from his sprained left ankle.

Hes doing a little bit more and hes not quite there, but well see tomorrow after the shootaround, Thibodeau said of Watson, who was doing conditioning drills after practice. Theres a possibility. Hes doing running and shooting, and stuff like that.

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

The NFL off-season is gearing up this winter, with trade and salary rumors running rampant among analysts and fans. GM Ryan Pace has his work cut out for him, with a decently sized to-do list before the 2020 season, including finding competition under center for QB Mitch Trubisky. From Tom Brady to Philip Rivers, there are plenty of quarterback options, but one player may have gotten too expensive for the Bears.

ESPN’S Jeremy Fowler reports that Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to rake in big money in free agency. With a projected salary to the tune of $30 million per year, Bridgewater could land a lucrative deal if he doesn’t resign with the Saints.

It makes some sense that Bridgewater could come with such a hefty price tag. Bridgewater earned above-average rankings in adjusted yards per attempt (15th), QB Rating (11th), TD Rate (13th) and completion rate (6th) among 38 QBs to start at least five games in 2019. If Drew Brees decides to keep playing, the Saints will have to choose between Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as their backup.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer previously reported that if Brees were to retire, the Saints viewed Hill as their new franchise quarterback, leaving Bridgewater free to explore other options.

It has yet to be seen how Brees and the Saints will proceed, but it’s certainly a reality check to see how expensive the QB market will be this off-season. 

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Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

Bears could use a quarterback like the XFL's standout passer

The XFL is two weeks into its inaugural season, and there's one player who's standing head and shoulders above the rest as a viable NFL prospect at the game's most important position.

Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker has taken the league by storm. His three touchdown passes in Week 1 set the table for another impressive performance in Houston's Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks, and looked every bit the part of a dual-threat playmaker that's quickly become the modern-era prototype.

Take a look:

Walker tossed another three touchdowns while looking like the best player on the field (and in the entire XFL) for the second week in a row. Whether his game can translate to success on the NFL level is a big unknown at this point. He spent two seasons on the Colts practice squad without seeing any regular-season action.

Walker's early-season success is a great example of how developmental leagues like the XFL can serve as a feeder for the NFL at positions of need. Quarterback is no exception, especially in Chicago where Mitch Trubisky is in the most uncertain offseason of his career. 

This isn't to suggest that a player like Walker is appealing enough to be the guy GM Ryan Pace adds to the roster as potential competition for Trubisky. But as a possible QB3 behind Trubisky and an established veteran added in free agency? It isn't the worst idea in the world, especially after seeing the kind of playmaking ability he has when given a chance to get on the field.

XFL players can make the jump to the NFL after the 2020 season concludes. The championship game Is scheduled for April 26.