Since the lockout is keeping Greg Olsen and his teammates from playing football, the tight end played a little kickball while raising more than $175,000 to fight cancer. On Saturday, Olsen hosted a kickball tournament in Grant Park to benefit his foundation, "Receptions for Research."
Olsen was joined by his teammates Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte. Both Bears played on Olsen's team, along with Olsen's mother, a breast cancer survivor who served as both the inspiration for the event and the team's pitcher. Forte showed that he can still pull down catches at short stop and in the outfield, and Urlacher was just as competitve as ever when playing second base and short. The team's best player was Olsen's younger brother Kevin, a highly touted football prospect as well as a tremendous kickball player.
Olsen's team was joined by 61 other teams, the capacity for the tournament.
That included an ESPN Radio team, headed by former Bear Tom Waddle, Jarrett Payton, and Duke basketball alumnus Jon Scheyer. For Payton, the son of Bears great Walter Payton, participation was a no-brainer.
"When you're fighting for cancer, that's one that especially hits home to me because my dad had cancer, and it affects everybody. I want to help out and try to find a cure, so whatever we have to do, let's do it," Payton said.
Waddle was pleasantly surprised with his team's performance, considering how long it had been since he played.
"Unbelievably, we did OK in our first outing. I haven't played kickball since sixth grade," Waddle said. He has higher hopes for the Bears this season.
"They're going to have to contend with the best team in the league in Green Bay to get through their division. It's a group of veterans. They bolstered their offensive line, they have a talented defense, they're well coached. I expect that they will have a really good season, but the hurdle is to get past the Green Bay Packers, who are the defending Super Bowl champs and who are probably better than last year because they had so many guys hurt."
But with the lockout still dragging on, the Bears can focus on raising money to fight cancer. Olsen's charity supports local hospitals like Children's Memorial and Rush in the areas of patient care and research. After Saturday's event, they will have much more money to get closer to a cure.
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