White Sox

Former Bears head coach Jack Pardee diagnosed with cancer

951077.png

Former Bears head coach Jack Pardee diagnosed with cancer

HOUSTON -- Jack Pardee, one of Bear Bryant's ''Junction Boys'' who went on to become a five-time All-Pro linebacker and an NFL coach, has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and has six to nine months to live, his family said Tuesday.

The cancer has spread to other organs and that her 77-year-old father plans to move to a Denver hospice where the College Football Hall of Fame inductee's wife, Phyllis, has been receiving care since having a stroke, daughter Anne Pardee confirmed to The Associated Press.

Anne Pardee said her father was in good spirits despite the diagnosis.

Jack Pardee survived a bout with melanoma when he was 28 and in the middle of his 15-year NFL playing career.

He played only six-man football at Christoval High School in west-central Texas, near San Angelo, before moving on to Texas A&M. Bryant became the Aggies' coach in 1954 and moved their preseason camp to desolate Junction, about 100 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The state endured a severe drought and historic heat wave that year, but Bryant worked his team through the brutal conditions and refused to allow water breaks in an effort to toughest players. Pardee was one of 35 players who made it through to the end of the 10-day camp without quitting.

Pardee played three seasons at Texas A&M and was drafted by Los Angeles in 1957. He played for the Rams from 1957-64, sat out a year to cope with his melanoma, then played seven more seasons. He finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1973.

Pardee stuck with the NFL and was the Chicago Bears' head coach from 1975-77. He coached the Redskins from 1978-80 and was fired after Washington went 6-10. He served as San Diego's defensive coordinator for one season, then returned to Texas to coach the USFL's Houston Gamblers.

Pardee was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. When the USFL disbanded in 1987, Pardee became the coach at the University of Houston and brought along the fast-paced ''Run-and-Shoot'' offense that worked well with the Gamblers.

The NCAA levied severe sanctions on the program in 1988, the result of violations committed under previous coach Bill Yeoman. Houston was banned from playing in a bowl game for two years and banned from playing on television in the 1989 season.

But the Cougars led the nation in total offense (624.9 yards per game) and passing offense (511 yards per game) in 1989, and quarterback Andre Ware won the Heisman Trophy. Houston finished 9-2 and ranked No. 14 in the nation.

Pardee became the coach of the NFL's Houston Oilers in 1990, and led the team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. Oilers owner Bud Adams traded star quarterback Warren Moon to Minnesota before the 1994 season, and Pardee resigned after a 1-9 start that year.

His name emerged 13 years later for the Houston job, but the school hired Kevin Sumlin instead. Pardee's son, Ted, is currently the color analyst for Houston football radio broadcasts.

Pardee's illness was first reported Tuesday by KTRK-TV of Houston.

White Sox free-agent focus: Bryce Harper

White Sox free-agent focus: Bryce Harper

This week, we’re profiling 10 of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

A week and a half ago, you probably would’ve laughed out loud at the very concept of Bryce Harper in a White Sox uniform, but last week’s GM Meetings kicked off with a report that the South Siders are interested in the services of the free-agent market’s biggest fish.

Harper’s expected to command one of the biggest contracts ever if not the biggest contract ever, and while other deep-pocketed clubs will surely be in the running, the White Sox have practically no long-term financial commitments, giving them the flexibility to be in on big-ticket items. And it sure seems like they have a willingness to do so.

While 2019 doesn’t figure to be a season in which the rebuilding White Sox are ready to contend for a championship, there’s no doubt that adding Harper would match up with their long-term plans. Harper figures to be under contract for several very expensive years, enough time to get the likes of Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal to the big leagues and start making the planned annual runs at a World Series title.

The key word there, however, is “planned,” and the White Sox biggest hurdle in their pitch to Harper figures to be that their success is merely on paper right now and a large amount of their young talent is still developing in the minor leagues. The future is bright, but it’s hardly guaranteed. Meanwhile, teams like the Cubs, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and even the Philadelphia Phillies can pitch win-now rosters to go along with a monster contract.

Obviously Harper would be an upgrade to a team that lost 100 games last season and he’d slide into the middle of the lineup and most likely into right field, where only Avisail Garcia and his one year left of team control is planned at the moment. The White Sox have a lot of outfield depth in the minor leagues, but if you can sign Harper, you don’t worry about him blocking Micker Adolfo or Blake Rutherford. Suddenly, then, the outfield becomes a reservoir of minor league talent that could be dealt from in order to add other pieces to the big league team.

Is Harper a fit for the White Sox? Yeah, duh. He’s a fit for the White Sox and 29 other teams. He’s one of the best players in baseball. But being willing to offer a huge contract and convincing Harper to sign on the dotted line are two different things.

MORE BRYCE HARPER NEWS

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Monday is dedicated to Nationals slugger Bryce Harper.

Cody Parkey could possibly practice kicking at Soldier Field this week

11-12codyparkey.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Cody Parkey could possibly practice kicking at Soldier Field this week

Matt Nagy: It’s possible Cody Parkey could practice at Soldier Field this week

Matt Nagy Monday said it’s possible beleaguered placekicker Cody Parkey could practice at Soldier Field this week after missing two PATs and two field goal attempts in Sunday’s 34-22 win over the Detroit Lions.

Nagy and Parkey both said after Sunday’s game practicing at Soldier Field wasn’t a plan and/or wouldn’t be beneficial. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor indicated the same thought in his weekly press conference last Thursday, too. 

But with a night to sleep on it, Nagy admitted “there’s a possibility” Parkey could do what former Bears kickers like Robbie Gould and Kevin Butler did and practice kicking during the week at Soldier Field. There aren’t any logistical concerns with shuttling Parkey and the field goal battery back and forth from Halas Hall to Soldier Field in traffic, if that decision is made. 

“If that's something that we decide to do then we'll get it done,” Nagy said. 

Nagy re-iterated the Bears will not look at kickers to potentially replace Parkey, which he said on Sunday was not a consideration. 

Nagy on Sunday said Parkey’s woes affected his playcalling for the offense, but said his trust in the kicker with the third-highest guaranteed money figure ($9 million) in the NFL was “not shot.” But while seeing Parkey make kicks during practice or in pregame warmups is good, Nagy will need his kicker to make sure his brutal day against the Detroit Lions doesn’t happen again. 

Perhaps kicking during the week at Soldier Field will be a part of those efforts. 

“As we get going on into the season here, the end of the regular season, these are huge now,” Nagy said. “You've gotta make them. It's just too important. They're too crucial. 

“You go back to a few weeks ago when Mason Crosby missed a few for Green Bay (in a loss to Detroit) and then the next week he ended up kicking the game-winner (against San Francisco). It's just a crazy cycle and it's just a matter of your patience that you have with it and fortunately for us yesterday we did have the lead, but I think in these situations, as long as you're authentic, you're real with each other. But now, he also needs to take the next step of trying to figure out how he can get better and we'll go ahead and do that.”