2016 Illini Football Season Preview, Predictions

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“There is nothing like…the opening weekend of a football season.” Illini football head coach Lovie Smith said at Illinois Media Day. He’s absolutely, one million percent correct. The first game of week of Lovie’s inaugural season is finally here. Are you giddy yet?

From Lovie Smith to Defensive Coordinator Hardy Nickerson, one of the NFL’s best linebackers in the 1990s, to his son the new mike linebacker, to the defensive line being the strength of the team to defensive end Dawuane Smoot being the most talented player on the team, Illinois has something it’s sorely lacked for a long time- an identity.

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Charles Tillman Inspires Illini Cornerback Jaylen Dunlap

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Illini football Coach Lovie Smith has repeatedly told the media this preseason what the most important aspect of defense is- forcing turnovers and converting them into points. When he led the Chicago Bears, Smith’s defenses led the NFL in takeaways twice. During his nine year regime, the Bears finished in the top eight seven times in turnovers recovered.

As Smith looks to instill the priority of taking the football away in his first Illini football team, he has the perfect role model for the kids- Charles Tillman.

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2017 NFL mock draft 8-26-16

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A 2017 NFL mock draft? Yes, a 2017 mock. It’s never too early. However, it is still early, thus the order was randomized and team needs were very lightly taken into account here, and in some cases not at all. The Sports Bank is the only independently owned, mom and pop on the internet with a mock draft for the top four American professional sports leagues.

Be sure to check out our 2017 NFL mock draft, 2016 NBA mock draft, 2016 MLB mock draft and 2016 NHL mock draft. Enjoy the 2017 NFL mock draft, some player descriptions were filled in, others will be completed as we go along.

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Chicago Bears Past Makes Presence at First Lovie Smith Illini Media Day

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“Past is prologue,” Shakespeare once said.

To see where you’re going, you have to first know from whence you came. This was a significant theme at 2016 Illini football Media Day; the very first of the Lovie Smith era. Yes, there was plenty of talk about Illinois football depth charts, recruiting, position battles, strengths, weaknesses and all the other topics that you usually find at every team’s preseason media day.

Lots of industry standard discussion during this session, but what made today’s press conference unique were all the allusions to Lovie’s Chicago Bears past. We cover some of the more interesting news and notes, nuggets and tidbits from Smith’s Media press conference below.

Also you can watch the video in full if you so desire:

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Pokemon Go the Future of Gaming, Says Former Bears DL Idonije

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Israel Idonije played in the NFL for over a decade with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and most notable, the Chicago Bears. In our hearts and minds he’ll always be a Chicago Bears. This past weekend Idonije made a guest appearance at the Indican Pictures Comic-Con booth to promote his comic book ‘The Protectors’.

The idea was something Idonije came up with a few years back, which has garnered the attention of many major athletes, all of whom dream of being featured in the innovative comic book, which combines the two idols of children worldwide, superheroes and sports.

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Charles Tillman has Advice for Deiondre’ Hall (Exclusive)

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Chicago Bears fourth-round pick (No. 127 overall) Deiondre’ Hall, a 6’2” 200-pound defensive back from Northern Iowa, has been drawing some Charles Tillman comparisons. In fact, there’s been a couple “Is Deiondre’ Hall the next Charles Tillman?” articles published in 2016.

It’s easy to see why. The two cornerbacks are similar in size and skill sets, both drafted by the Bears out of mid-major schools. The bar is very high for Hall though, as Tillman is a two time Pro Bowler, and earned first team all pro honors in 2012.

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Bears, Panthers Cornerback Charles Tillman Announces Retirement

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Former Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman will not return to play another season in the NFL this fall. As he’s said multiple times publicly, the only team that wanted to play for this year is the team that he played for last season- the Carolina Panthers.

However, it is not to be, not in Carolina or anywhere else. Peanut Tillman posted the following goodbye YouTube video on his official verified Twitter account.

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WGN, CLTV’s Jarrett Payton Talks Chicago Bears (Audio)

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Jarrett Payton, Host of “Sports Feed” on Chicagoland Television Network and “The Beat” on WGN Radio, is the next guest on The Sports Bank podcast. We covered a whole host of wide ranging issues in this one. We talked some Chicago Bears, some Peanut Tillman, and the big event coming up next week that Charles Tillman is hosting.

Payton, myself, and a wide array of athlete celebs will be in attendance, including Matt Forte and Robert Griffin III, RG3. Here’s a link to more about the event.

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Charles Tillman Welcomes RG3 for Celebrity Bowling Gala

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Charles Tillman spoke to The Sports Bank on Friday, and during our conversation he revealed the guest list of celebrity athletes appearing at the fourth annual Charles Tillman Celebrity Pro BOWLer Tournament. He also spoke about which NFL team is the one that he desires to play for in 2016, which you can read about at this link.

The list of famous names appearing at Kings Bowl for the July 14th event includes:

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Peanut Tillman Only Wants to Play for the Carolina Panthers

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Former Chicago Bears defensive back Peanut Tillman might, arguably, be the greatest cornerback in Bears history. The team that Tillman played for last season (after 12 illustrious years in Chicago), the 17 win NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, might arguably be the greatest team not to win the Super Bowl in NFL history.

Of course, fans of the 2007 New England Patriots might have something to say about that idea. The Panthers #KeepPounding in 2016 and they remain the only team that Peanut Tillman wants to play for in 2016.

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Mike Ditka Finally Stops Endorsing a Product: the GOP

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Chicago and NFL icon Mike Ditka has long been a product pitchman first and everything else second. The 1985 Chicago Bears season was 31 years ago; his shtick on ESPN (and every other outlet giving him a platform) has been a de facto cartoon for a very long time already.

It’s been awhile since Mike Ditka has really been about actual football. These days he’s about any company with a product to push who’s nice to him and will cut him a check.

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Ten Most Popular NFL Stories Ever: Happy 4th of July!

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Happy Independence day everybody! Baseball has the nickname “the national past time,” but that moniker was bestowed upon the sport a very long time ago. That designation is very outdated, as the NFL is truly king in America. As the great Bob Costas said, at a time when everything is in niches, the NFL cuts across all demographics.

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