The overriding goal behind the hiring of Phil Emery to replace Jerry Angelo as general manager was to close any gap between the Bears and NFC North rivals Detroit and Green Bay.
To that end, Emerys first offseason has been a qualified success in the assessment of one player who has been both ahead of and behind the Lions and Packers during his Chicago career.
On paper were a better football team than we were last year at the end of the season, linebacker Brian Urlacher said Tuesday before he received his teams 2011 Ed Block Courage Award. We needed a receiver, we got a receiver.
And we still have the draft. All the pressure was taken off our draft with what hes done so far. So thats exciting that we might get the best player available.
Of course, 54 couldnt pass on the chance for a little dig at the doomsayers over the age of the defense in particular:
Maybe well get younger in the draft, he deadpanned.
Urlacher suggested that the offseason moves of adding wideouts Brandon Marshall, Devin Thomas and Eric Weems in addition to running back Michael Bush were the kinds of moves the team hadnt made in the past a little odd, given that the two best players on the team, Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers, were brought in with offseason moves, but a happy franchise player is always a good thing as a rule.
The 2011 season ended with Urlacher suffering a knee injury that would have finished him had the season gone on for the Bears. Urlacher is expected to do limited work in the early stages of the offseason program but was clear that all would be in order when it mattered.
Ive had so much time in the offseason to get it right and Ive got three, four months before the season, Urlacher said. When the time is right, Ill be ready to play. Im not worried about it. Its not an issue.
For the second time in his NHL career, Patrick Kane has been named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by members of the NHL Players' Association.
At age 30, Kane turned in his best offensive season by setting a career-high with 110 points. He ranked third among all skaters in points-per-game average (1.36), second in even-strength goals (35) and second among forwards in average time on ice (22:29).
In 2015-16, Kane made history when he became the first American-born player to win the award after leading the league in points (106) — the only player to hit the 100-point mark that season.
Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov, who secured the Art Ross Trophy by leading the league in scoring with 128 points, and Edmonton's Connor McDavid, who ranked second with 116 points, are the other two finalists, respectively. McDavid has won the award in each of the past two seasons.
The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards on June 19 in Vegas.
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The pinnacle of the NFL offseason is NFL Draft night and it's finally here. This is the night that fortunes can change for teams with the right selections.
The Bears don't have a first or second round pick, but general manager Ryan Pace has been known to be aggressive and trade up in the draft. And the Bears are looking for depth on an already talented team that finished the 2018 sesason with a 12-4 record as the NFC North Champions.
All eyes will be on the running back class, where the Bears will look to add some talent alongside Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis.
NBC Sports has collected some of the best football minds from around the country to look ahead to draft in the NFL Draft Preview Show, which will begin at 2 p.m. CT and stream exclusively in the MyTeams App.
NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry will host and lead the discussions, including with our own Bears Inisder JJ Stankevitz. Fans can submit questions on social media using the hashtag #NFLDraftNBC.
Here's how you can watch NBC Sports' NFL Draft Preview Show online:
DATE: Thursday, April 25, 2019
TIME: 2 p.m. CT
WHERE: MyTeams App
Here are the guests:
Bears Insider: JJ Stankevitz
Raiders Insider: Scott Bair
49ers Insider: Matt Maiocco
Patriots Insider: Tom Curran
Seahawks Insider: Aaron Fentress
Eagles reporter: Derrick Gunn
Redskins Insider: J.P. Finlay
Rotoworld draft expert: Josh Norris
Catch up on our Bears NFL Draft preview coverage:
- Mock Draft: Bears stick to best player available, wait to take a running back
On The Clock Draft Profiles:
- Memphis running back Darrell Henderson
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.
- Florida safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
- Texas A&M running back Trayveon Williams
- Temple safety Delvon Randall
- North Dakota St. running back Bruce Anderson
- Washburn cornerback Corey Ballentine
- Iowa State running back David Montgomery
- Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson
- Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary
- Ohio State running back Mike Weber
- Temple running back Ryquell Armstead
- Boise State running back Alexander Mattison