Bears

Seau's family is suing the NFL

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Seau's family is suing the NFL

From Comcast SportsNetAdd Junior Seau's family to the thousands of people who are suing the NFL over the long-term damage caused by concussions.Seau's ex-wife and four children sued the league Wednesday, saying the former linebacker's suicide was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football.The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in San Diego, blames the NFL for its "acts or omissions" that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. It says Seau developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from those hits, and accuses the NFL of deliberately ignoring and concealing evidence of the risks associated with traumatic brain injuries.Seau died at age 43 of a self-inflicted gunshot in May. He was diagnosed with CTE, based on posthumous tests, earlier this month.An Associated Press review in November found that more than 3,800 players have sued the NFL over head injuries in at least 175 cases as the concussion issue has gained attention in recent years. The total number of plaintiffs is 6,000 when spouses, relatives and other representatives are included.Scores of the concussion lawsuits have been brought together before U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody in Philadelphia."Our attorneys will review it and respond to the claims appropriately through the court," the NFL said in a statement Wednesday.Helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc., also is a defendant, with the Seau family saying Riddell was "negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing, and engineering of the helmets" used by NFL players. The suit says the helmets were unreasonably dangerous and unsafe.Riddell issued a statement saying it is, "confident in the integrity of our products and our ability to successfully defend our products against challenges."Seau was one of the best linebackers during his 20 seasons in the NFL, retiring in 2009."We were saddened to learn that Junior, a loving father and teammate, suffered from CTE," the family said in a statement released to the AP. "While Junior always expected to have aches and pains from his playing days, none of us ever fathomed that he would suffer a debilitating brain disease that would cause him to leave us too soon."We know this lawsuit will not bring back Junior. But it will send a message that the NFL needs to care for its former players, acknowledge its decades of deception on the issue of head injuries and player safety, and make the game safer for future generations."Plaintiffs are listed as Gina Seau, Junior's ex-wife; Junior's children Tyler, Sydney, Jake and Hunter, and Bette Hoffman, trustee of Seau's estate.The lawsuit accuses the league of glorifying the violence in pro football, and creating the impression that delivering big hits "is a badge of courage which does not seriously threaten one's health."It singles out NFL Films and some of its videos for promoting the brutality of the game."In 1993's NFL Rocks,' Junior Seau offered his opinion on the measure of a punishing hit: If I can feel some dizziness, I know that guy is feeling double (that)," the suit says.The NFL consistently has denied allegations similar to those in the lawsuit."The NFL, both directly and in partnership with the NIH, Centers for Disease Control and other leading organizations, is committed to supporting a wide range of independent medical and scientific research that will both address CTE and promote the long-term health and safety of athletes at all levels," the league told the AP after it was revealed Seau had CTE.The lawsuit claims money was behind the NFL's actions."The NFL knew or suspected that any rule changes that sought to recognize that link (to brain disease) and the health risk to NFL players would impose an economic cost that would significantly and adversely change the profit margins enjoyed by the NFL and its teams," the Seaus said in the suit.The National Institutes of Health, based in Bethesda, Md., studied three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau's, and said the findings on Seau were similar to autopsies of people "with exposure to repetitive head injuries.""It was important to us to get to the bottom of this, the truth," Gina Seau told the AP then. "And now that it has been conclusively determined from every expert that he had obviously had CTE, we just hope it is taken more seriously. You can't deny it exists, and it is hard to deny there is a link between head trauma and CTE. There's such strong evidence correlating head trauma and collisions and CTE."In the final years of his life, Seau went through wild behavior swings, according to Gina and to 23-year-old son, Tyler. There also were signs of irrationality, forgetfulness, insomnia and depression."He emotionally detached himself and would kind of go away' for a little bit," Tyler Seau said. "And then the depression and things like that. It started to progressively get worse."

Patrick Mahomes' contract will haunt Bears in 2021

Patrick Mahomes' contract will haunt Bears in 2021

Chicago Bears fans can't escape the nightmare that is Patrick Mahomes. It began in 2018, Mahomes' first season as a full-time starter, when it became obvious that he was a special player who should've been the Bears' pick at No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft. Instead, Ryan Pace chose Mitch Trubisky, who's entering a 2020 training camp battle with Nick Foles for the team's starting job.

Mahomes won the league's MVP award in 2018 and led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory last season, and on Monday, he became the richest athlete in American sports. Kansas City signed him to a ridiculous 10-year extension that could pay him over $500 million by the time the deal is done.

Meanwhile, the Bears declined Trubisky's fifth-year option this offseason, making the 2020 campaign potentially his last in Chicago.

But what if Trubisky has a really good year? That should be good news, right? 

Wrong.

And it's all because of Mahomes.

If Trubisky plays like a quality starter in 2020, the Bears will be forced to pay him a lucrative new contract that, if we're being honest, he doesn't deserve. Even if they choose to buy an extra year by using the franchise tag, Mahomes' new deal will jack up the cost of that contract too. Regardless of the strategy, the Bears will be taking a big gamble on a player who needs more than one good year in 2020 to feel confident about paying. 

And let's say Trubisky flops and it's Foles who excels in the Bears' offense. His contract will be directly impacted by Mahomes as well. Remember: The Bears gave Foles the ability to opt-out of the final two years of his deal if he plays well. If Mahomes' big payday happened next year instead of Monday, maybe Chicago could've retained Foles on a more team-friendly contract. That's no longer the case.

So here we are. It's been hard enough trying to recover from the 2017 draft and the what-ifs that followed. It's bad enough that Mahomes has become the NFL's darling and the best quarterback on the planet. But an entirely new layer of the Mahomes curse is coming; he's going to make the Bears pay (again) for passing on him.

Cubs camp observations: Wrigley's home-field advantage without fans

Cubs camp observations: Wrigley's home-field advantage without fans

Four days into the Cubs’ training camp restart, we’ve only begun to get acquainted with the new normal of baseball rhythms and routines that we can only hope will result in a 2020 season of 60 games.

If the league can fix some of its early testing issues and keep enough players on enough teams healthy enough to start the season, what might come into play for the Cubs and the actual baseball.

Early observations after about a dozen Zoom sessions with team personnel and two intrasquad scrimmages:

NUTS: Home cooked?

The Cubs, who draw so reliably in one of the unique ballparks in the majors, might have more to lose than most teams without fans allowed to attend games when the season starts July 24.

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Just how much of the Confines’ home-field advantage is lost will be a matter of “wait-and-see,” manager David Ross said.

“There’s always an advantage to playing in your own park,” he said Sunday. “You feel more comfortable you woke up in your own bed. You’re not staying in a hotel room, which especially now, where you feel like outside spaces just aren’t comfortable as they used to be, probably [gives] a slight advantage in your city.

“There’s no substitute for fans,” he added. “There’s probably a slight advantage, but I don’t know if it’s as great as it used to be.”

What Ross didn’t mention were the rooftops across Waveland and Sheffield, which are planning to operate at 25-percent capacity when games start, suggesting at least a few hundred fans within cheering and booing distance.

“You’re going to hear them loud and clear, too,” pitcher Tyler Chatwood said. “I promise you that.”

BOLTS: Taking the fifth

All you need to know about Alec Mills’ ability to adjust and immediately step into an important role is what he did in an emergency start against the first-place Cardinals at Wrigley last year with the Cubs a half-game out and barely a week left in the season.

He hadn’t started anywhere in a month — and that was in the minors. But the guy who pitched out of the bullpen just three times in the four intervening weeks, pitched two outs deep into the fifth inning that day and didn’t allow a run (the bullpen took care of that, in a loss).

No wonder when Ross talks about Mills replacing the injured Jose Quintana (thumb) in the rotation, he says, “I’ve got a ton of confidence.”

He’s not the only one. “I’ve always had the mindset of doing whatever I can to stay ready and help in any way,” said Mills after pitching a strong three innings in a simulated game Sunday. “Obviously, with an unfortunate injury like this, I think it’s just even more heightened.

“I’m ready to do whatever, whether it needs to be maybe a start here or there, a couple more starts, long guy out of the pen — just whatever I need to do I pride myself on being ready to do that.”

CHATTER: The mask at hand

“It’s a little different. You leave the house with a phone, your keys, your wallet and your mask.”

—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on his and his teammates’ new daily normal.

“Everybody is thinking about it, but we try to get here and understand this is our safe zone and we’re trying to create that [within] the things that we’re going to do on and off the field.”

—Ross on players weighing the risk of playing during the pandemic against the safety precautions and protocols the team has built in and around its Wrigley Field bubble.

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