Marty Booker celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday, and, proving he still has adoring fans in Chicago, was presented wrapped presents and listened to “Happy Birthday” sung by some of his loyal supporters. From a football standpoint, he might be another year older and a step slower, and while he won’t look a whole lot like he used to in his first stint with the team, he’s always been a sure-handed receiver and Bears fans will appreciate his big paws in third down situations where a crucial catch is needed.
Bears coaches and players remain steadfast in their refusal to engage in the Favre soap opera. Lovie Smith was the latest man — joining Ron Turner, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Adewale Ogunleye and Brian Urlacher, among others — to weigh in on the possibility and speculation of Favre joining the Bears.
“It doesn’t affect us,” Smith said. “We have our quarterbacks. I’m not going to talk about somebody else’s players. If you’re going to talk about our quarterbacks, I can talk about them, but that’s about it.”
As it turns out, all this talk may be for nothing as it is being reported that Favre is considering the Packers’ desperate bribe to pay him $20 million to keep him retired. This is a bit disheartening, not because I wanted him to be, or even thought he’d become, a Bear, but because I love seeing the Packers as the center of controversy and was hoping this would haunt them throughout the rest of the preseason.
A bit of NFL news… Bears fans who abhor Jerry Angelo and the organization for drafting Cedric Benson with the fourth pick in the 2005 draft and bypassing on Mike Williams from USC need to take a step back from the situation, count to ten, and heed this: Williams was just cut by the Tennessee Titans, the third different team he’s been on in 4 years. I’m an honest man; I’d rather tell a relative that their homemade cookies suck than placate them. So, I have no qualms about telling you that I was actually a Mike Williams advocate and was disappointed the Bears didn’t draft him. However, unlike most Bears fans, I actually gave Benson the benefit of the doubt throughout his short tenure with the Bears. And just so Bears fans can shut up about the 2005 draft overall, here’s a look at the first round skill position players taken after Benson:
Carnell Williams, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Matt Jones, Mark Clayton, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Roddy White, Heath Miller. Even two of the three guys taken before Benson — Alex Smith and Ronnie Brown — are struggling to sustain respectable careers.
Which bust — or soon-to-be bust in the case of Rodgers — would you rather the Bears have drafted? I guess Campbell hasn’t busted yet, but give it time.
When veteran safety John Lynch and the Denver Broncos decided to part ways, the first thought in my head was, “Oh, boy, here comes a wave of Bears fans calling for his addition to the team.” I’m pleased to read on the Sun-Times web site that the Bears are not interested in adding him. Let’s not forget the last time the Bears reunited a former player with Lovie Smith. It just happened last year, after all. Anyone remember Adam Archuleta? Yes, Lynch has had a much better career than Archuleta, but for the same reason that Archuleta bounced around from team to team the past three years, Lynch’s cover skills have been deteriorating. That’s why he wanted to leave the Broncos because he wasn’t being used as a three-down player. I think it’s better for a young team that’s not going to compete for the Super Bowl this year to try to develop their younger safeties.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the largely impetuous Bear Nation is throwing its collective support behind Kyle Orton to be named the starter. Orton is drawing support from fans at training camp. I just wonder, in the event that he is named starter, how fans will be reacting to him following opening road games against Indianapolis and Carolina — or, more importantly, dates with Dwight Freeney and Julius Peppers.
And, finally, Bob Babich spoke about the defense recently on ChicagoBears.com. Here’s a little bit of what he had to say:
On Mike Brown:
“Mike Brown not only is a great leader, he’s a playmaker. He does a lot of different things for us on the defensive side of the ball. He energizes our guys, so it’s excellent to have him back.”
On Dusty Dvoracek:
“I think Dusty’s an excellent player, but the guys that have been playing in his place have done a good job. … when he comes back we’ll be excited.”
On the return of multiple players:
“We have eight or nine guys that have been in the system going into the fifth season, so we feel real good about that… We’ve got our swagger back and we’re expecting to be a dominant defense.”
You can read the full interview here.