Hester credits his success to mother’s influence

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – With a slew of television cameras capturing the
moment, Devin Hester hopped up on a giant soup spoon next his mother,
Juanita Brown, all in the name of charity Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Devin Hester and his mom, Juanita Brown, sit on a giant soup spoon Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Their combined weight equaled 3,960 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Soup,
which will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which
distributes food to those in need.

Given Brown’s influence on Hester’s life, it’s fitting that the two
shared the spotlight Tuesday—just as they did in a Chunky Soup
commercial that features top NFL stars and their moms.

“She plays a big factor in this,” Hester said of his emergence as
one of the league’s most electrifying players. “I give her all the
credit for the success right now that’s going on in my life, and I
couldn’t have a greater mom than her.”

From an early age, Hester was taught to be humble—a quality that continues to serve him well.

“By us being a Christian family, I brought him up a lot in church,”
Juanita said. “I think that’s what keeps him humble, knowing everything
he’s gotten—his ability, his strength and things that he can do—all is
thanks to God.”

Juanita told reporters that Devin was so fast that she couldn’t
catch him when he was eight years old. She enjoys watching her son play
in the NFL—she attends most home games and even a few on the road—and
never knows what to expect when the ball is in his hands.

“The excitement never goes away,” she said. “He’ll go here and he’ll
go there and it seems like you’re on a roller coaster ride. Even after
the run, I’m still hollering and screaming. I know that he’s one of the
most exciting players in the NFL, and it’s very exciting for me as a
mom also.”

Juanita always knew that Devin was special, but she never dreamed she’d be filming national commercials with him.

“It’s been overwhelming because I’ve known all my life what he can do,”
she said. “But now that the whole nation sees what he can do, I have a
lot of people saying, ‘You’re Devin Hester’s mom! I saw you on the
commercial!’ But we stay humble.”

Hester and his mom are in their first year representing Campbell’s
Chunky Soup, which has partnered with the NFL for the past 10 seasons
through a program that aims to raise hunger awareness in America by
generating food donations.

This season, Campbell’s Chunky Soup will donate one million cans of
soup to food banks nationwide. To date, the program has given more than
35 million cans of soup to hunger relief since its inception in 1997.

Fans can participate in Campbell’s “Click for Cans” online food drive at www.chunky.com
by clicking on the Bears helmet. The NFL team that receives the most
clicks will have the weight of its roster in soup cans donated to a
local food bank.

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Smith mulling his options at quarterback position

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
If it were up to me, I would definitely give Kyle Orton a chance…he’s there to back up any of the other two, but remember he did well that one season and I would love to see some new blood on the field, its time for a change!

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – There’s probably a better chance of Coca-Cola
giving its secret formula to Pepsi than Lovie Smith divulging a key
personnel decision on a Monday afternoon.

So it came as no surprise when the Bears coach declined to speculate
about whether Rex Grossman or Brian Griese would start at quarterback
next Sunday in Seattle.

Rex Grossman (left) replaced Brian Griese late in the first half of Sunday’s 17-6 victory over the Raiders.

Griese suffered what Smith described Monday as a sprained left shoulder
in Sunday’s 17-6 victory in Oakland. Grossman replaced Griese late in
the first half and rallied the Bears by tossing a 59-yard touchdown
pass to Bernard Berrian with 3:11 remaining in the game.

“It’s unclear who’s going to start Sunday,” Smith said during his
Monday press conference at Halas Hall. “We finished with two guys that
could play, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton, so that’s really what we’re
dealing with right now.”

Asked about a deadline to make a decision, the Bears coach said: “On
Sunday before the game; that’s the only time I really need to say
what’s going on. But we have practice Wednesday. Someone will be lining
up out there Wednesday, someone who’s healthy and ready to go.”

Griese was injured when Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morrison
drove him into the ground on a second-quarter sack. The Bears
quarterback was later carted from the sideline to the locker room.

“I don’t know what his situation is right now,” Smith said.
“Whenever you don’t finish the game, you are concerned about it. I
don’t know if he’ll practice Wednesday, if he’ll be able to go this
weekend or anything like that.”

Asked if Griese would start if he’s able to practice, Smith said:
“Well, first off, Brian needs to get cleared medically, and if he’s
cleared medically, then we’ll go from there.”

In six starts since replacing Grossman, Griese has completed 61.8
percent of his passes for 1,508 yards with 9 TDs, 10 interceptions and
a 77.1 passer rating. The 10-year veteran has cooled off since throwing
seven TD passes in his first three starts, tossing just two in his last
three games.

Against the Raiders, Griese completed 10 of 14 passes for 97 yards and a 90.5 passer rating.

“Brian did some good things when he was in the football game,” Smith
said. “It’s unfortunate that he went down with the shoulder injury. But
you need the next guy in the rotation ready to go. I really like what
Rex Grossman was able to do when he stepped in and led us to the
victory there at the end of the game.”

Grossman’s 59-yard TD pass to Berrian gave the Bears a 10-6 lead and
came just three plays after Sebastian Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal
had put Oakland ahead 6-3 with 4:04 remaining.

Asked whether Grossman’s performance would help him regain the
starting job, Smith said: “I like what Rex did in the game. Whenever
you come in like that in a hostile environment and lead your team to a
win, you have to take notice and I definitely took notice.”

In his first action since being demoted following a Week 3 loss to
the Dallas Cowboys, Grossman completed 7 of 14 passes for 142 yards and
a 109.8 passer rating.

“It showed that Rex has been paying attention,” Smith said. “You
have a starter that starts the game, but from there, all of the players
that you dress you assume that they’re ready to go in. The next play
they could be called upon, and that’s how it was with Rex.

“But Rex prepared that way. You’re disappointed when you’re not the
starter, but you have to prepare like you could end up coming in and
playing. That’s what he’s done and I think that’s what we saw from the
way he played.

“To have Rex come in like that when the team needed him, that’s what
we assume Rex would do like we assume the rest of our players that have
been in a backup role, when the team calls on them that they’ll step up
to the plate, and that’s what Rex did. Rex is a good football player.”

Smith denied that it would tough to decide whether to start Grossman or Griese.

“In the end I don’t think things are that difficult,” said the Bears
coach. “In the end you just go with what gives you the best opportunity
to win, and that’s what we always do at all positions. That’s what
we’ll do now.”

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Thrust into starting role, McBride showing promise

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
McBride stunned me when I saw him play on Sunday, great article:

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Replacing an injured Pro Bowler with a rookie
seventh-round draft pick isn’t exactly an ideal situation, but
cornerback Trumaine McBride has emerged as a pleasant surprise this
season.

Bears coach Lovie Smith praised the Mississippi product after he
broke up three passes, registered three tackles and recovered a fumble
in Sunday’s 17-6 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Cornerback Trumaine McBride leads all Bears rookies with four starts this season.

“I thought he met the challenge,” Smith said. “They went at him quite a
few times and he got better and better as the day went along.”

McBride has started the last three games and four of six contests
since veteran Nate Vasher sustained a groin injury in a Week 3 loss to
the Dallas Cowboys.

“I’m feeling real good and I’m starting to learn the game and
starting to see things more clearly,” said McBride, the 221st overall
pick in the draft. “I feel real comfortable right now. I’m not going to
shy away from a challenge.”

That was evident Sunday when McBride forced the Raiders to punt
after breaking up passes intended for veteran receiver Jerry Porter on
third-and-three in the second quarter and third-and-seven in the fourth
period.

The 5-9, 185-pounder also recovered a fumble by Raiders running back
Justin Fargas that was forced by Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije
early in the second half.

“He played really good,” defensive coordinator Bob Babich said of
the rookie cornerback. “We believe in Trumaine. We’re confident in him.
He does everything we ask him to do. He has ability and he’s confident
as a corner, so obviously we feel like starting him, he’s the type of
player that can make plays.”

Defense shines: McBride was part of an excellent
effort by the Bears defense, which didn’t allow a touchdown for the
first time in 2007. The unit permitted the fewest total yards (193),
passing yards (108) and first downs (12) in any game this season.

“Defensively, that was the best game we’ve played this year,” Smith
said. “The way we practiced last week I had a feeling that the guys
would go out and play with emotion, make plays, fly around and do the
things that we did.”

The Bears defense buckled down after allowing Raiders quarterback
Josh McCown’s 24-yard run on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage. After
the Raiders’ initial drive, the Bears didn’t permit Oakland to cross
the 50 on its next eight possessions extending into the fourth quarter,
and the Raiders didn’t run a play inside the Chicago 20 the entire game.

“We didn’t get off to a good start, letting the quarterback rush for
over 20 yards right away,” Smith said. “But the guys settled down from
that first drive and I thought dominated throughout the rest of the
game. They moved the ball a little bit here and there, but I thought we
held them in check with the run and with the pass.”

Eye in the sky: Babich moved from the sideline to a coaching booth Sunday for the first time.

“I just wanted to get a different perspective on the game and
thought it worked out really well and enjoyed it,” said the first-year
defensive coordinator. “From this point on, it looks like I’ll be up
there.

“You’re able to sit down and watch the game. In between series
you’re able to reflect on the previous series and make sure that things
get taken care of. I thought it worked out really good.”

The decision to have Babich work from the coaching booth was made during the bye week.

“We looked at everything in the bye week,” Babich said. “We looked
at every little thing we could and I thought for me, just getting a
different perspective and seeing the game from a different angle, I
wanted to try it out and give it a look and see how it worked out.”

Special effort: McBride wasn’t the Bears’ only
rookie draft pick who excelled in Sunday’s win. Fellow cornerback Corey
Graham registered a team-high four special-teams tackles while
compiling 30 special-teams points in a scoring system created by
special teams coordinator Dave Toub.

It was the highest point total recorded in four seasons under Smith,
topping the 28 points that Israel Idonije registered Sept. 16 in a
20-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field.

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This Week In Sports

Well its another week in the NFL what a week it was, we saw one team that still has not won a game this season and by the looks of it, they might not win one. For all sake they should still win one sometime soon. I hate to say their name but come on Miami don’t let the evil green monster get you, you guys have it in you to win a game, I think you can do it.
We say many teams this week that if they didn’t win they would be put out of the playoff contentions. The Chicago Bears game on Sunday was a must win situation, Brian Griese went down during the game and looks who pop back up, Rex Grossman, Ive always like Rex, its that he was just too nervous or he lack the leadership from his team mates. You can see that his team mates all stuck up for him, but in the end it inevitable. I’m so glad that Rex threw that 59 yard touchdown pass, it meant a lot to him and it gave him some confidence.
Green bay Packers pulled out an awesome win with beating of the Minnesota Vikings 34-0, that was a great game and looks like the Packers will be heading to the playoff. Now dont get me wrong, things have happened that they could lose the rest of the games, but it don’t look like it. Rock on Packers!
The rest of the NFL teams did well with Cowboys coming out on top over the Giants, that was a shocker! not!, we all know that Eli could not beat the Cowboys and that’s just the way it is. Tony Romo is hot and no one is going to stop him.
As we move on to College, finally someone beat Ohio St. geez was that a shocker or what, how in the world can you go down like that…well the BCS standings have change and get ready for some new number ones soon.
Nascar was great, with Jimmie Johnson moving on up! he won at Phoenix and that’s showing how strong Hendrick motorsports is, Jeff Gordon my favorite driver didn’t do so hot with a tenth place finish and falling back 86 points behind Jimmie, but still shows that Hendrick motorsports is the team to beat for a long. With the addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr. we will see a punch that will make some heads turn, I believe Dale will finally get out of that shadow and finally win a championship, maybe not next year, but the years to come.
Dont forget Sports Geeks live on Saturday’s 7pm Central time 8pm Eastern 5pm pacific for all latest news and scores from college to the NFL have a great evening
rammy

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Grossman leads Bears to another comeback victory

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com

OAKLAND, Calif. – Already written off by most NFL observers,
quarterback Rex Grossman and the Bears stormed back to life in dramatic
fashion Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Replacing injured starter Brian Griese late in the first half,
Grossman tossed a 59-yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian with 3:11
remaining in the game to give the Bears a 10-6 lead en route to a 17-6
stirring comeback victory at McAfee Coliseum.

In
his first game since Week 3, Rex Grossman helped rally the Bears to a
17-6 win over the Raiders Sunday at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.

“It’s a great feeling to come in and pull one out,” said Grossman, who
saw his first action since being benched after a Week 3 loss to the
Dallas Cowboys. “It was unbelievable; something that you can’t describe
to anyone that’s never been in that position.”

The Bears have now overcome fourth-quarter deficits to win their
last three road games. Griese engineered rallies in Green Bay and
Philadelphia but exited with a left shoulder injury when he was sacked
by Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison with 1:32 left in the second
quarter.

Griese was carted from the sideline to the locker room and will be
re-evaluated Monday. He exited after completing 10 of 14 passes for 97
yards and a 90.5 passer rating.

“Brian Griese went out with a shoulder injury,” coach Lovie Smith
said after the game. “That’s about all we know right now. Hopefully
it’s not anything real serious.”

With the victory, the Bears (4-5) climbed to within two games of NFC
wildcard leaders Detroit (6-3) and the New York Giants (6-3), both of
whom lost Sunday.

Punting nine times apiece, it didn’t appear that either team would
score a touchdown Sunday in Oakland. But the Bears broke the ice as
Grossman hit Berrian streaking down the left sideline. The score came
just three plays after Sebastian Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal had
given the Raiders a 6-3 lead with 4:04 remaining.

“It was a match-up that we were looking for all game,” Grossman
said. “We called several plays to get something like that and they’d be
in a different coverage that would take it away, and finally the play
with the coverage matched up and we executed perfectly.”

Cedric Benson’s 3-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left clinched the win
and came one play after Adewale Ogunleye had sacked Raiders quarterback
Josh McCown at the Oakland 16, forcing a fumble that Israel Idonije
recovered.

Ogunleye tied a career high with three sacks, highlighting a stellar
performance by the Bears defense. The unit didn’t allow a touchdown for
the first time this season while permitting the fewest total yards
(193), passing yards (108) and first downs (12) in any game this year.

McCown’s 24-yard run on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage set up
Janikowski’s 37-yard field goal, giving the Raiders a 3-0 lead with
9:18 left in the first quarter.

But the Bears defense buckled down after that, not permitting
Oakland to cross the 50 on its next eight possessions extending into
the fourth quarter. The Raiders never ran a play inside the Chicago 20
and didn’t advance beyond the Bears’ 33 after their first drive of the
game. Oakland also failed to pick up a first down on six of nine
second-half possessions.

“Defensively, we had an excellent week of practice,” Smith said. “I
thought we had corrected some things and it was good to see it out
there on the football field. After we let the quarterback have that
first long run, from there the guys really settled down, played hard
and just did all the things that we expected our defense to do.”

Safety Danieal Manning hammers Raiders running back Antonio Fargas during the Bears’ 17-6 victory Sunday in Oakland.

The Bears defense registered its third takeaway on the game’s final
play as Danieal Manning intercepted McCown’s desperation heave intended
for receiver Tim Dwight in the end zone. Manning carried the ball with
him off the field and into the locker room.

The Bears offense struggled for much of Sunday’s game, but committed
no turnovers and has just one giveaway in its last three road contests.

“We talk a lot about winning the turnover ratio and that’s kind of
been the story of each one of our games,” Smith said. “So it was big
today to finally win the turnover ratio.”

Grossman completed 7 of 14 passes for 142 yards and a 109.8 passer
rating, while Benson rushed for 76 yards on 29 carries against the
NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense.

“Offensively, we did some good things,” Smith said. “We didn’t have
as much production as we would like. But when it came time for us to
score, we stepped up. Rex threw a great pass to Bernard to win the
football game.”

The Raiders not only kicked to Devin Hester as coach Lane Kiffin had
promised during the week, but they shut down the All-Pro return
specialist. Hester averaged just 2.3 yards on six punt returns and 17.0
yards on two kickoff returns.

Hester finally broke loose late in the third quarter, returning
Shane Lechler’s 59-yard punt 64 yards to the Oakland 26. But a holding
penalty on Brendon Ayanbadejo wiped out the return, costing the Bears
69 yards in field position.

After Janikowski’s early field goal, the Bears tied the score 3-3 on
Robbie Gould’s 32-yard field goal with 6:51 left in the first half. The
drive was highlighted by Griese passes of 24 yards to Muhsin Muhammad
on a crossing route and 14 yards to Desmond Clark in the right flat.

On the Bears’ first possession of the second half, Grossman
completed a 33-yard pass to Muhammad to the Oakland 36. But after three
plays netted just one yard, Gould’s 53-yard field goal attempt into the
wind was well short.

The Bears later forced their first turnover of the game when Idonije
stripped running back Antonio Fargas and rookie Trumaine McBride
recovered at the Chicago 44.

The Chicago defense held the NFL’s fourth-ranked run offense to 113
yards, 27 below its average. Fargas rushed for 81 yards on 23 carries,
while McCown completed 14 of 27 passes for 108 yards and a 46.5 passer
rating.

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Defense, bomb lead Bears to victory

By Larry Mayer
chicagobears.com
Rex Grossman’s 59 yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian with 3:11
remaining gave the Bears the lead, and Cedric Benson provided insurance
with a three-yard touchdown burst in a hard fought 17-6 comeback win
over the Oakland Raiders at McCafee Coliseum.

Grossman entered the game late in the first half after Brian Griese
exited with a left shoulder injury while being sacked. Grossman and
Berrian combined to produce the first touchdown in a game of that
featured 18 combined punts, nine by each team.

Adewale Ogunleye’s fourth quarter sack and strip of Josh McCown put an end to the competitive phase of the Bears win in Oakland.

“It’s a great feeling to come in and pull one out,” Grossman said.
“It was a tough game, and just being able to come in and help your
team, it’s a great feeling. It was unbelievable; something you can’t
describe to someone that has never been in that position.”

Berrian beat Raiders cornerback Chris Carr on the game-changing play
and Grossman hit him in stride. Carr was in the game because Oakland
cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington were both inactive
for the game due to injuries.

“It was a match-up that we were looking for all game,” Grossman said.
“We called several plays to get something like that, and they would be
in a different coverage that would take it away. And finally the play
with the coverage matched up and we executed perfectly.”

Adewale Ogunleye clinched the Bears’ victory with his third sack of the
game, which produced a fumble of Raiders quarterback Josh McCown.
Oakland started that drive at their own 25 with 1:48 remaining, but on
first down, Ogunleye beat Raiders right tackle Cornell Green and
stripped the ball from McCown, who never saw Ogunleye. The ball rolled
toward the Oakland end zone until Israel Idonije fell on the ball at
three. Benson went up right up the middle on the following play to
close out the scoring.

Ogunleye’s sack-and-strip capped a defensive effort that kept Chicago
alive until Berrian’s touchdown finally gave them the lead. The Bears
allowed a season-low 193 yards in the game. Raiders runningback Justin
Fargas, who entered the game averaging 5.4 yards per carry, had just 81
yards on 23 carries (3.5 avg.), and McCown threw for just 108 yards on
14-of-27 passing.

“Defensively, we had an excellent week of practice,” Bears coach Lovie
Smith said. “I thought we had corrected some things, and it was good to
see it out there on the football field today. After we let the
quarterback have that first long run, from there the guys really calmed
down, played hard, and just did all the thinks that we expected our
defense to do.”

Perhaps the best thing Chicago’s defense did during the game was get
off the field on third downs. The Bears allowed Oakland to convert on
just three of their 15 third down attempts. Oakland had three second
half turnovers and six second half possessions of three or fewer plays,
four of which ended in punts, and two in lost fumbles. Sebastian
Janikowski’s 37-yard field goal on Oakland’s first possession of the
game gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead with 9:18 left in the first quarter.
On Oakland’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Josh McCown faked a
handoff and dashed 24 yards to the Chicago 40.

The Bears eventually tied the score 3-3 on Robbie Gould’s 32-yard field
goal with 6:51 remaining in the second quarter. The drive was
highlighted by Brian Griese passes of 24 yards to Muhsin Muhammad on a
crossing route and 14 yards to Desmond Clark in the right flat.

Griese was knocked out of the game with a left shoulder injury with
1:32 left in the first half after he was sacked by linebacker Kirk
Morrison. Griese was replaced by Grossman, who promptly fumbled the
snap from center on his first play and recovered.

Griese exited after completing 10 of 14 passes for 97 yards and a 90.5 passer rating.

On the Bears’ first possession of the second half, Grossman completed a
32-yard pass to Muhammad to the Oakland 36. But after three plays
netted just one yard, Gould’s 53-yard field goal attempt into the wind
was well short with 11:31 left in the third quarter.

The Bears later forced their first turnover of the game when Idonije
stripped Fargas and Trumaine McBride recovered at the Chicago 44. But
the Bears offense failed to take advantage and Brad Maynard buried the
Raiders at their own 3 with a 31-yard punt.

Hester finally broke loose late in the third quarter, returning Shane
Lechler’s 59-yard punt 64 yards to the Oakland 26. But a holding
penalty on Brendon Ayanbadejo wiped out the return, costing the Bears
69 yards in field position.

Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal later gave the Raiders a 6-3 lead with 4:04 left in the fourth quarter.

Roster notes: Cornerback Nate Vasher missed his sixth straight game
with a groin injury. He was replaced by McBride. Safety Brandon McGowan
(elbow) and linebacker Rod Wilson (neck) also sat out Sunday’s game.
Other Bears inactives were fullback Lousaka Polite, guard/center Josh
Beekman, receiver Mike Hass and defensive tackle Antonio Garay.

Bad start: The Bears offense still hasn’t scored a first-quarter
touchdown this season after getting blanked in the opening period
Sunday. Chicago’s only first-quarter TD of the year came in Devin
Hester’s 89-yard punt return Oct. 14 in a 34-31 home loss to the
Minnesota Vikings.

In nine games, the offense has generated just three points in the first
quarter, with 20 possessions resulting in 16 punts, two missed field
goals, one lost fumble and one field goal.

Dating back to last year, the Bears offense has scored just one
first-quarter touchdown in its last 18 regular-season games, a 24-yard
pass from Grossman to Clark last Dec. 17 in a 34-31 overtime win over
the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Soldier Field.

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