Former Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher Announces Retirement

Retires

Shortly after 10 AM this morning, former Chicago Bears legend and middle linebacker announced his retirement on his Twitter account.

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How Brian Urlacher’s Departure Impacts the Chicago Bears

Urlacher

“Lip service.”

Those are the exact words Brian Urlacher used to describe the Bears’ efforts to resign him.

Granted, the lack of cap space and Urlacher’s recent rash of injuries put Phil Emery in an awkward situation in terms of how to operate in contract negotiations.

But this disgraceful divorce from the 13-year face of the franchise will impact the Bears in this coming season as well as down the road.

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Chicago Bears mock draft composite part 2

Tyler Eifert

About a week has passed since I released part one of this mock draft composite.

A few of those 13 expert predictions for whom the Bears will pick have changed since I compiled the list on February 23rd.

Take a look at who has changed their mind since last week, and get an inside look at the rest of the draft prospects who have been most commonly linked to the Bears.

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Chicago Bears mock draft composite part 1

DJ Fluker

Mock drafts come a dime a dozen these days, and projections seem to change by the minute. Since the NFL Draft Combine started a few days ago, you can expect every draft expert to be shuffling prospect’s names all over their big boards as their stock rises or falls.

It’s still way too early to make a concrete prediction as to who the Bears will pick with the 20th overall pick on April 25th, but there are some definite trends starting to emerge in terms of names being linked to that pick.

It’s no secret that the main concerns for the Bears include the offensive line, linebackers, the offensive line, tight ends, and the offensive line. Did I mention the offensive line?

A quick trek through the internet will confirm this: almost every expert has an offensive lineman, linebacker, or tight end going to the Bears in the first round in their respective mock drafts.

To save you the arduous task of Google searching for multiple mock drafts, I’ve compiled a list of multiple projections from some of the most notable draft experts around. (View this site’s 1st round mock draft)

Granted, this list may change 10 seconds after this article gets published. But at the very least, we can see some of the early popular Bears mock draft picks for who may be heading to the Windy City.

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Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o: #3 pick in NFL Draft?

If you’re a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, K.C. Chiefs and Cleveland Browns, it’s time to start thinking NFL Draft.

Expectations are always high for both Manti Te’o and Notre Dame.

Te’o, an inside linebacker who graduated from the same high school as President Barack Obama, is one of those all-worldly college football recruits that earn the highest ratings possible from every recruiting service imaginable. Both ESPNU and the Sporting News rated him the top defensive player, and 2nd best player, in the nation. His recruiting process was highly publicized, and his final two choices were the ND and USC.

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Notre Dame getting a lot of preseason accolades again

manti-te'o

As usual, there’s a lot of hype and anticipation heading into next college football season regarding Notre Dame. It’s not like last season where gridiron experts are projecting them into a BCS bowl, instead it’s more about their schedule (how tough it is) and how NFL ready some of their talent is.

Especially keep an eye on linebacker Manti Te’o and tight end Tyler Eifert. And circle the dates with USC and Oklahoma.

Athlon’s college football annual will hit newsstands soon and Te’o will be on the cover of the national edition. Here are some of the many other mentions where ND gets national love from Athlon:

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Manti Te’o Returns to Notre Dame; Puts NFL Draft on Hold

manti-te'o

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has decided to hold off on the NFL money for now. The junior will return to South Bend for his senior season, Te’o announced Sunday night at the Lott IMPACT Trophy banquet.

In midseason he tweeted “Playin for my bros and that’s it!!!!” And this was during the same week Brian Kelly made public comments segregating players he recruited from those recruited by Charlie Weis. So it was widely previously expected that Te’o was gone.

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Notre Dame Could Struggle in 2012, Brian Kelly’s Seat Warming?

brian-kelly-notre-dame

Yesterday was a big day for the Notre Dame football team on the field, as they absolutely thrashed Navy 56-14, routing a team that has had their number in recent years. But being mediocre and routing somebody bad doesn’t cover up the larger issues at work in South Bend.

This week marked the one-year anniversary of Declan Sullivan‘s death. If you forgot that name, it’s the Notre Dame videographer who took to his scissor lift in historically dangerous windstorm conditions, and paid for that mistake with his life.

This was a week when the school could have really used more positive publicity; but instead more negativity surrounded the program.

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#10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish: College Football 77 in 77

Here it is- THE BIG ONE! Of all my 77 in 77s, this is my piece de resistance. The team I cover the most, Chicago’s home college football team, the program covered in the media unlike any other. Yes, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the most storied and well-documented team in the history of the game. This preview will be longer than the others, so let’s get right to it.

Storyline #1 QB controversy: Crist has risen, announced two days ago. (For more on that go here)

Coach Brian Kelly on the situation: “Dayne (Crist) overcame a serious knee injury just to be able to start the season (in 2010). He had another serious knee injury. He got himself ready for the spring and fought through the uncertainty of that as well. Then, the work in the summer and preseason , and it puts it in perspective. He is a much better quarterback. He’s the kind of guy I want to coach.”

Go here for a podcast previewing the 2011 Notre Dame season

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Notre Dame’s Biggest Strength: Possibly Defensive Front 7

In last season’s wins over Utah, Army and USC, the Notre Dame defense allowed an average of just 233.3 yards per game. In the first nine games of the season, the Fighting Irish allowed 393.1 yards per game. After surrendering 20+ points in six of the first nine contests in 2010, the Irish rebounded from their 4-5 start to go 4-0 down the stretch (including the Sun Bowl win over Miami). In that undefeated stretch, they averaged less than 10 ppg against.

The growth and development of the defense is one reason many college football pundits are very high on the Irish this season; and it starts with their fearsome front seven.

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Notre Dame Defense: Too Early 2011 Season Preview

manti-te'o

In 2010, the Notre Dame defense improved dramatically over its 2009 output, making big leaps in scoring defense (63rd nationally to 23rd), interceptions (50th to 19th) and sacks (89th to 54th). Those numbers come mostly from the final four games, when they seem to just “get it,” a stark contrast from the first nine games where they showed potential but were also very inconsistent.  In the final four, including the Sun Bowl win over Miami, the d held opponents to less than 10 ppg. Limiting Army and Utah to just 3 apiece.

The Fighting Irish D return eight players who started at least eight games last season, including junior linebacker and All-America candidate Manti Te’o, who led the team with 133 tackles. He’s a Butkus Award front-runner and a likely first round pick in the next NFL draft.

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (passing game)

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (running game)

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Notre Dame Upsets #14 Utah, But Don’t Get Too Carried Away

notre-dame_cheerleaders

The Irish got exactly what they needed on a rainy Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

Facing a Utah team hoping to prove last week was the exception, not the rule, Notre Dame made a loud statement.  Freshman QB Tommy Rees executed Brian Kelly’s spread effectively, and the defense only allowed three points.
Coming off of two bad losses, including last week’s questionable coaching decision in the final minute, Notre Dame had a lot to prove.

By Brian McCabe

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