NFL season to start with 18 former local products


NFL season to start with 18 former local products

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 12:22 p.m.

By Taylor Bell
The 2011 NFL season is about to kick off and 18 Chicago area high school products are listed as starters, including five who played at Illinois, four at Iowa and three at Northern Illinois.

The former Illini are running back Rashard Mendenhall of Niles West (Steelers), left guard David Diehl of Brother Rice (Giants), right tackle Tony Pashos of Lockport (Browns), running back Pierre Thomas of Thornton Fractional South (Saints) and right guard Jon Asamoah of Rich East (Chiefs).

The Iowa graduates are left guard Eric Steinbach of Providence (Browns), right tackle Bryan Bulaga of Marian Central (Packers), defensive end Matt Roth of Willowbrook (Jaguars) and tight end Tony Moeaki of Wheaton Warrenville South (Chiefs).

From NIU are right tackle Ryan Diem of Glenbard North (Colts), running back Michael Turner of North Chicago (Falcons) and linebacker Larry English of Marmion (Chargers).

Other local products are strong safety Tom Zbikowski of Buffalo Grove (Notre Dame, Ravens), linebacker Rob Ninkovich of Lincoln-Way Central (Purdue, Patriots), wide receiver Jason Avant of Carver (Michigan, Eagles), left tackle Anthony Castonzo of Lake Zurich (Boston College, Colts), quarterback Donovan McNabb of Mount Carmel (Syracuse, Vikings) and tight end Owen Daniels of Naperville Central (Wisconsin, Texans).

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bulls trade up or down in the draft?

Mark Carman, Hub Arkush, Phil Rogers and Will Perdue join Kap on the SportsTalk Live Podcast.

The guys start by discussing Brandon Morrow's injury that he sustained while taking off his pants... what's the craziest cause for an injury the guys can remember?

Plus, should the Bulls move up or down in Thursday's NBA Draft? Does it make sense to take on a bad contract in a potential deal?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: