Bulls

Miller: Signings, character issues could steer Bears clear of CBs

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Miller: Signings, character issues could steer Bears clear of CBs

With the recent signing of veteran cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite to make up for the loss of Zack Bowman to the Vikings, it could signal the Bears would target other positions early in the 2012 NFL Draft. There are questionable character issues surrounding the top corners in this years draft crop. Specifically, where the top corners could be selected by the Bears with the 19th overall pick of the first round.

Morris Claiborne, LSU CB, 60", 185 lbs: He is simply off the table as Claiborne most likely will be a top-ten pick. A recent report emerged concerning Claibornes Wonderlic test score, which was a lowly 4. But this is not so concerning as Claiborne has a learning disability that was well known and reported by the National Football Posts Greg Gabriel. Gabriel was head of college scouting for the Bears and is now a contributor for the NFP. Greg followed up with his own story stating, Claibornes learning disability was well known.

Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama CB, 510, 191: Has Jenkins changed his ways since being dismissed from the Florida Gators football program? NFL teams will do interviews at two schools as Jenkins ability is elite, but is he a choir boy or a rabble-rouser? The Bears have had their fair share of both, but after the Sam Hurd debacle a year ago, I highly doubt it. Jenkins was dismissed from Florida for drug (marijuana) related issues. Jenkins came clean at the Combine, but what team is buying in? It wont be the Bears.

Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama CB, 62, 192: Another talented cornerback who recently had marijuana charges dropped. Alabama head coach Nick Saban has vouched for Kirkpatricks character but teams will question IMG, where he is training, as long time journalist Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange has reported there were some unsavory characters allowed into the IMG training facility. Again, the Bears are not going to select a first rounder with any blemishes at all due to last years black eye thanks to Hurd.

Alphonzo Dennard, Nebraska CB, 510 203: No. 19 in the first round is way too high for a player that many think is built for safety. Top end speed is in question with Dennard. Not a chance he'll go at 19, which leaves the Bears with one cornerback with 1st round talent when deciding to select in the first round.

Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina CB, 61 193: Gilmore is young. He elected to forgo his senior year and enter the 2012 draft early. Gilmore is experienced with 40 games played. He has impressed with his athleticism and removed all doubt during this years Combine posting 4.40 speed. Gilmore is moving up draft boards and may have positioned himself second to Claiborne due the off the field issues of the players above.

If the Bears are thinking cornerback, Gilmore would be the only one who may fit in the first round.

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

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AP

Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

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NBC

90 Days to Kickoff: Warren

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Warren Township

Head coach: Bryan McNulty

Assistant coaches: Jim Voutiritsas, Brandon Schild, Justin Van Schaik, Tayler Erbach and Mark Mika

How they fared in 2017: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Warren Township made the IHSA 8A playoff field. The Blue Devils defeated Bolingbrook then lost to Maine South in second round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 24 vs Barrington

Aug. 31 @ Glenbard North

Sept. 7 vs Waukegan

Sept. 14 vs Libertyville

Sept. 21 @ Lake Forest

Sept. 28 @ Zion-Benton

Oct. 5 vs Lake Zurich

Oct. 12 vs Stevenson

Oct. 19 @ Mundelein

Biggest storyline: Can The Blue Devils make it back-to-back postseason appearances and challenge for the North Suburban Conference title?

Names to watch this season: DL Zack Pelland, DT Willis Singleton and RB Martin Walker

Biggest holes to fill: The Blue Devils will need to find a new pass/catch tandem to replace graduated QB Ian Schilling and a strong group in the skills department, led by WR Micah Jones (Notre Dame).  

EDGY's Early Take: The Blue Devils had a nice 2017 season. After starting seven sophomores on the varsity level a year ago, head coach Bryan McNulty has the rare combination of youth and experience this fall. The defense will be a definite strength going into the season. The offense will rely on the running game, which features four starting offensive linemen back in the fold along with senior RB Martin Walker. If the passing game can come along, this team can once again challenge in the North Suburban Conference race and also in the overall 8A picture.