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The Bear's Den: April 20, 2016

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Wednesday, just a little more than a week before the NFL draft begins... the players are at Halas Hall doing off season workouts, the front office is poring through their draft notes, and we are celebrating all of this with a dude who has a large foam Bear head on his noggin and a face painted to match!

David Banks/Getty Images

BEAR DOWN!!!!

DRAFT / FREE AGENCY

Mullen's Bears NFL Draft Preview: Special teams unit seems set - CSN Chicago - Mullin previews what the Bears may do with special teams in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Weiderer's NFL draft preview: Cornerbacks - Chicago Tribune - The Chicago Bears can't be complacent in fortifying their defensive backfield; it's easy to argue cornerback might be their biggest draft need.

Weaver: Ezekiel Elliot, could he fall to the Bears? - Cover32 - Ezekiel Elliot and Matt Forte comparisons might seem facile on the surface but if you take a deeper look at their abilities the resemblance is striking.

Comitor: Downtown street closures begin for NFL draft - Chicago Tribune - With the NFL draft less than two weeks away, Chicago residents can expect several road closures around Grant Park as the city preps for the April 28-30 event.

Jackson: Report shows Browns "initiating calls," shopping No. 2 pick - ProFootballTalk - The No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft was traded last week, and now the No. 2 pick is on the auction block as well. NFL Network's Jeff Darlington reported Tuesday that Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown has "initiated calls" to gauge interest in the No. 2 pick.

Washington Post: Carson Wentz shows that quarterback camps just might be ruining quarterbacks - Chicago Tribune
The industrial complex devotes untold resources into developing and finding quarterbacks, the most coveted commodity and most glamorous position in sports.

McShay: Leonard Floyd a 'perfect fit' for Bears - Chicago Sun-Times - Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd would be a "perfect fit" for the Bears at No. 11 overall, ESPN analyst Todd McShay said Tuesday.

Fans can enter draft insider sweepstakes - ChicagoBears.com - The Bears are providing fans with a chance to win a one-of-a-kind NFL Draft experience with the Bears Draft Insider Sweepstakes.

BEARRRSSSS

Video Update: Players return - ChicagoBears.com - Lauren Screeden catches up with inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and running back Jeremy Langford as the players return to Halas Hall Monday for Voluntary Offseason Workouts.

Mayer: Top seventh-rounders in Bears history - ChicagoBears.com - The most notable seventh-round picks in Bears history include four members of the 1963 NFL championship team—Joe Fortunato, J.C. Caroline, Mike Pyle and Ed O'Bradovich.

Wiltfong's Chicago Bears Sackwatch 2015: Week 2 vs Arizona Cardinals - Ken's note: leading up to the draft & through the draft, I am posting these as a review of our pass protection in 2015. Lester does such an outstanding job that it's well worth the time to revisit the articles and see what, if any, progress has been made since that game. "Even though the Chicago Bears allowed 2 more sacks this week, I thought their pass protection was improved. Kyle Long had a better week this week, then again, he wasn't facing a future Hall Of Famer. Long was playing with a club on his hand which makes it impossible to grab, but he usually moved his feet fairly well on his pass sets."

Mayer: Langford ready to become No. 1 back - ChicagoBears.com - Jeremy Langford knows that he has big shoes to fill, but the 2015 fourth-round pick is undaunted by the challenge of replacing Matt Forte as the Bears' No. 1 running back.

Bears 2016 Road Venues - ChicagoBears.com - A look at the stadiums the Bears will travel to play in for their 2016 road games during the preseason and regular season.

BEARRRSSSS FOR LIFE

Chicago Bears in the Hall - George Halas - With the overwhelming national popularity that professional football enjoys today, you wouldn't suppose that a small business concern such as the Staley Starch Works of Decatur, IL., could have played much of a part in the proud history of the game. Yet, had it not been for that company and its president, A. E. Staley, it is quite probable that professional football would not be as we know it today. For it was Staley who ushered George S. Halas onto the pro football scene and in turn it was Halas who introduced many of the things that are good into the professional football world.

POLISH SAUSAGE

NFL internal memo describes concussion settlement as commitment to retired players - ProFootballTalk - The NFL has long been criticized for not properly taking care of retired players. The NFL regards the concussion settlement as a vehicle for doing just that.

Sherman: Rich King wrapping up career in Chicago sports broadcasting - Chicago Tribune - Rich King went from radio to TV, first at WBBM-2 and then since 1991 as a weekend sports anchor and reporter at WGN-9. He has seen the business change considerably.

Greenstein: Can Lovie Smith recruit college athletes to Illinois? 'Do you ride a bike?' - Chicago Tribune - Illinois coach Lovie Smith is recruiting high school football players for the first time since 1995, when he coached defensive backs for Ohio State.

Meinke: In Chicago, Matthew Stafford was in on Calvin Johnson's secret - MLive.com - Some wondered whether the Detroit Lions' season finale in Chicago would be Calvin Johnson's final game in Honolulu blue. But it turned out to be his last game, period -- and Matthew Stafford was in on the secret. "Yeah, I thought (he'd retire after the game)," Stafford said Tuesday during a news conference after wrapping up some offseason conditioning. "I thought it had a chance to be. I wasn't 100-percent positive, but I'm glad he had a sweet game." Johnson caught 10 passes for a game-high 137 yards and one touchdown to fuel a 24-20 win in Chicago, and appeared to become sentimental after the game. That included hanging onto the ball after his scoring grab -- something Johnson didn't typically do -- and a prolonged hug with Stafford after the final whistle. In the locker room a few moments later, he spoke openly about the possibility that the game might have been his last in Detroit. But the thought was that had more to do with his looming cap number, and the possibility that the Lions could look to move around some money, or him. No one was talking about retirement, except Johnson, who let a...

Florio: Chiefs’ failed appeal proves Pats had no chance, either - ProFootballTalk - Unlike the Patriots a year ago after being stripped of draft picks in the #DeflateGate case, the Chiefs filed an appeal in an effort to get back the draft picks they lost for communicating directly with receiver Jeremy Maclin during the pre-free agency negotiating period.

Drew Rosenhaus officially terminates relationship with Johnny Manziel - ESPN - Agent Drew Rosenhaus has officially terminated his representation of Johnny Manziel, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Cory's Corner: Who are the Vikings? (from a Packer's blogger) - Cheesehead TV - Just who are the Minnesota Vikings? Are they a team that the Packers need to be wary of or are they a team that had everything go their way that allowed them to capture the NFC North crown — interrupting a run of four straight divisional titles by Green Bay.

Huber: Packers Sign Barclay, Add Linebacker - Scout.com - In two healthy seasons for Denver, linebacker Lerentee McCray had 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Williams: Detroit Lions Draft, what could have been if Detroit had intentionally tanked - SideLionReport.com - What if the Detroit Lions had the number 1 pick in the draft? A lot could of happened but here is a mock draft based on the Titans (they had the #1 pick).

Peters: Greenway, Vikings Start Laying Foundation for 2016 - Vikings.com - Members of the Vikings returned to Winter Park Monday for the beginning of the voluntary offseason workout program. The nine-week program advances through phases and culminates with a mandatory mini-camp in June, about a month before U.S. Bank Stadium’s scheduled completion.

Carlson: Minnesota Vikings DT Linval Joseph almost 100 percent - TheVIkingAge.com - Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph is almost back to full health following a turf toe injury that held him out of action during 2015.

3-year analysis: Grading the 2013 Green Bay Packers draft class | FOX Sports - Handing out grades for the Green Bay Packers' picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.

DRAFT PROFILES OF INTEREST TO BEARS FANS

NFL Draft Profile: UCLA DL Kenny Clark | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Notre Dame WR Will Fuller | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Baylor DL Andrew Billings | CSN Chicago

NFL Draft Profile: Notre Dame WR Will Fuller | CSN Chicago