According to several different Chicago athlete's Instagram accounts, a number of players from the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks got together on Thursday.
At the event, Mitch Trubisky and Allen Robinson were joined by the likes of Jason Heyward, Jason Kipnis, Jonathan Toews, Malcolm Subban, Max Strus, Ryan Arcidiacono, Sam Acho, Tyler Lancaster, and Austin Carr. The White Sox expressed interest in having representation there as well, but didn't have a player available to attend. The get-together was organized through By The Hand, BUILD and Westside Health Authority. In partnership with Chicago police officers, the group took part in 'healing circles,' and then players and leaders from each of the organizations took a bus tour of the Austin neighborhood, led by Alderman Emma Mitts and a youth representative from By the Hand. Congressman Danny Davis was also there and spoke to the group.
Here are Jason Heyward's photos from the event:
And Jason Kipnis':
It's a very cool to see athletes from all the different Chicago sports teams come together and chat with the city's youth about any and all issues. Kudos to all who showed up, as well as those who made the event happen.
Finally, at long last, some decent news about a Bears quarterback.
You can thank FanDuel for this brief hit of serotonin. The online book released their odds for NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and wouldn't you know it, Nick Foles makes an appearance. In the top 10!:
Ben Roethlisberger +250
Rob Gronkowski +300
J.J. Watt +550
Cam Newton +750
A.J. Green +900
Matthew Stafford +900
Alex Smith +1400
Andy Dalton +1400
Nick Foles +1400
Myles Garrett +2000
Their reasoning for listing Foles 9th on this list is pretty simple too. So simple, in fact, that it's quite literally one sentence long: "Foles is likely to be the starter in Chicago after a short-lived, injury-plagued run in Jacksonville."
There's probably a good argument to be made that Foles is a smart move here, one that goes beyond just assuming he'll be the starting QB. There's also probably a good argument to be made that FanDuel hasn't properly considered Nick Foles' career and lack of substantial season-long production. But hey, positive news! Sort of!
When Matt Nagy originally told reporters that he was having a handful of famous people speak to the Bears this offseason, he purposefully chose to keep the specifics vague. He refused to name names, insisting that it was in the best interest of everyone involved to keep everything anonymous.
Then, like a week later, it was reported that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was one of those speakers. And now, on Monday morning, NFL insider Peter King let another name slip: Peyton Manning.
In his Football Morning In America column, King revealed that Manning's spoken with several NFL teams about the 2020 offseason – with the Bears' QB room being one of them:
So I’ve done a few Zoom calls. I did the Buffalo Bills quarterback room meeting. Did the Los Angeles Rams full team meeting. Did the Bears quarterbacks. That was kinda my message, sort of, you know, follow Eli’s lead. Quarterbacks, take ownership. All these Zoom meetings, right now, the coaches are leading them. My message was to the quarterbacks. ‘Hey, organize your own Zoom meetings without the coaches, just get you and the tight ends, you and the receivers.’ It’s actually an opportunity to even have better communication. Because there’s nothing else to do, right? Hey, every Tuesday, 9 a.m., quarterbacks and the offensive line, Zoom, watching film. Instead of complaining about it, see it as an opportunity to really improve. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have every play from last year studied down to the T.
I shared how I broke down film from the previous season. I always watched the interception tape first. Then the sack tape. All the bad things. You figure out why you’re throwing these interceptions. What drill do I need to incorporate into the offseason to fix that? Sean McVay said after I talked, he got a text from Jared Goff and from Jalen Ramsey. He said they’re going to organize their own meetings and workouts. To me, that’s what you have to do. The coaches shouldn’t lead everything. Josh Allen seemed real excited about that.
So there you have it. Doc Rivers and Peyton Manning are just two of the motivational speakers that have worked with the Bears this offseason. Why the team felt the need to treat it with such a sense of faux-secrecy may be more of a mystery than the speakers themselves at this point.