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Long’s Recovery, McClellin’s New Life with Pats, Top-10 Free Agents, Trouble in Vegas, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears News, NFL News and Rumors

Kyle Long is human after all.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune caught up with Howie Long during Super Bowl week and among the topics they discussed was Long’s son Kyle, the Bears’ starting right guard who is healing up from two offseason surgeries. Among other things, the elder Long talked about Kyle’s reaction in the days after the ankle surgery.

“First two, three weeks was rough. I think he threw up 30 times that first night down in Charlotte at the hospital. Poor kid couldn’t even hold a pill down,” Howie Long told the Tribune. “Like with any player, you kind of have to have this feel of invincibility and when that invincibility is cracked for the first time, it’s kind of a shock.”

Luckily for Long, it’s February and he has plenty of time to heal and get back into playing shape for 2017. Long’s bounce back will be a major storyline to follow this coming season. If healthy, his presence can truly solidify the interior of a Bears offensive line that helped Jordan Howard to a 1,000-yard season and a Pro Bowl appearance – despite the play of two struggling offensive tackles.

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Long himself recently discussed a variety of topics, including his recovery timetable, if you missed it.

As for this morning’s other Bullets …

  • After re-visiting Martellus Bennett’s departure from the Bears (no hard feelings, by the way) Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times lined up another Bears player currently on the Patriots – Shea McClellin.  The former first-round pick has found new life in New England with head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, carving out a role for a player who didn’t live up to his draft position during his time with the Bears. “The pressure that comes with being a first-round pick, it’s tough, man,” McClellin told Finley. “If you don’t live up to that, it’s even tougher.” The pressure is now off McClellin, who signed a three-year deal with the Patriots – a team that helped rebuild his confidence without feeling the weight of expectations on a weekly basis.
  • Both the Tribune and Sun-Times have stories up about the man who drafted McClellin with his first pick as a general manager – Phil Emery. The former Bears GM is now a ‘key cog’ according to his boss, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. Kyle Long and Alshon Jeffery have been the standouts of Emery’s draft classes, but his legacy in Chicago will likely always be hiring Marc Trestman over Bruce Arians, who is 41-22-1 since being passed up by the Bears and hired by the Arizona Cardinals.

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  • All is well that ends well as far as Arians is concerned, because he is coaching in one of the 10 best football cities in America. Unfortunately, Chicago ranks 32nd in a new study of the best and worst football cities, thanks largely to the Bears’ poor play. And it’s not just that Chicago ranks 32nd, it’s that this great city ranks behind Green Bay (1st), Minneapolis (10th) and Detroit (27th). That makes Chicago the worst football city among NFC North teams. The bad news continues: Chicago is tied for fourth among worst-performing NFL cities and the second least-accessible stadium. I don’t think another year picking in the top-10 will help Chicago in these rankings. Maybe if the Bears make the Super Bowl (OK, maybe we should start by hoping for a winning season), Chicago will find their way on the right side of these rankings.
  • Actually winning a Super Bowl might help, if only because the jewelry that comes with a win is so pretty:

  • If you’ve ever wondered what every Super Bowl ring ever looks like, the NFL has you covered with this photo album.
  • Signing quality free agents could go a long way toward getting closer to that Super Bowl goal. Over at Pro Football Weekly, Arthur Arkush put together the site’s top-10 free agent list. And in case you’re curious, Alshon Jeffery cracks the top-10 list – but just barely. Seven of the top-10 free agents are defensive players, including five in the front seven.
  • Over at CBS Chicago, Chris Emma writes about Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle – a Senior Bowl participant who is more known now for his off-the-field transgressions (which went down at a Belk store before the Belk Bowl) than he is his play for the Razorbacks. By Emma’s accounts, Sprinkle took questions about the shoplifting incident head on and honestly, and the Bears were able to get a real good look at the tight end who was on John Fox’s North team. The Bears could stand to improve at tight end, where starter Zach Miller missed six games in 2016.

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  • Art Rooney II expects Ben Roethlisberger to return for a 14th season in 2017. Roethlisberger threw for more than 3,800 yards and 29 touchdowns, but saw his Steelers fall to the Patriots in the AFC title game, and recently expressed that he was pondering his future.
  • Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who is one of the most powerful people in Las Vegas, has pulled out his investment in the stadium deal that was supposed to lure the Oakland Raiders to Sin City. This move has thrown the process for a loop, to say the least. John Treanor of KSNV-TV was told by a source “confidence was thin” in a deal after Adelson’s removal. According to the Nevada Independent, Clark County Commission chair Steve Sisolak said of the news, “This is not a wrench in the wheel, the wheel fell off. This is an enormous setback in my opinion.” However, the Las Vegas Journal-Review (which was purchased by Adelson in a secret deal eventually scooped by the LVJR staff) reports that the Raiders told the Stadium Authority board that Goldman Sachs would finance the stadium construction – with or without Adelson. That itself has drawn its own set of skepticism. The NFL’s franchise moves haven’t gone so smoothly in 2017. Who saw that coming?

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.