<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:18:07 -0500 Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:18:07 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[White Sox to Honor JRW Saturday]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JRW_stage_Igram.jpg

The Jackie Robinson West All-stars spent some up close and personal time with the Chicago White Sox 2005 World Series Championship trophy on Wednesday. On Saturday, they'll get even more acquainted with the South Side team.

The Sox announced Wednesday that the Little League World Series U.S. champs will be honored on Saturday during a special pregame ceremony prior to the start of the 6:10 p.m. game versus the Detroit Tigers.

Fans at the game will be encouraged to wear gold in honor of the American champs.

"We could not be more proud of the achievements of the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars and how they represented the city of Chicago in Williamsport," said White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

Six players on the JRW team are part of the White Sox Amateur City Elite (ACE) program.

Photo Credit: distractyourface/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Abreu Leads Sox Over Indians]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:02:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/169*120/White_Sox_46.jpg

Jose Abreu hit a pair of run-scoring singles against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Indians 3-2 Wednesday night to stop a season-high, seven-game losing streak

Abreu put Chicago ahead for good in the seventh with his third hit of the game. Adam Eaton doubled with one out off Kluber (13-8) and advanced on Alexei Ramirez's groundout, and Abreu drove in his AL-high 96th run.

Hector Noesi (8-9) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, improving to 5-2 in eight starts since the All-Star break.

Javy Guerra allowed Jason Kipnis' one-out single in the ninth and hit Zach Walters with a pitch with two outs. Zach Putman relieved and retired Chris Dickerson on a flyout for his fourth save in five chances.

Kluber (13-8) lost consecutive starts for the first time this year, allowing three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts. The Indians had won three straight

Michael Bourn's run-scoring single put Cleveland ahead in the third. Chicago went ahead in the bottom half when Abreu hit an RBI single with two outs and scored on a double by Adam Dunn.

Lonnie Chisenhall wrapped a 339-foot homer around the right-field foul pole in the seventh, his 12th home run this season.

Eaton also tripled for the White Sox.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Player Suspended for Lie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:21:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

A USC football player and co-captain admitted on Wednesday that he lied when he said he hurt his ankles while jumping off a second-floor balcony to save his drowning nephew from a pool, the player said in a statement from his attorney.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw first told USC's Ripsit Blog that he jumped off the balcony on Aug. 23, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

But on Wednesday, Shaw admitted that the story was "made up," and school officials called it "a complete fabrication."

"On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth," Shaw said Wednesday in statement from his lawyer. "I apologize to USC for this action on my part."

"My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and espcially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful," the statement continued.

The Ripsit blog has since deleted its initial story about the rescue. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities, school officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said in a school statement."He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."Sarkisian said earlier Wednesday that the campus was looking into phone calls that disputed Shaw's account of what happened.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said in the statement Wednesday. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

The football player's sister, Asia Shaw, shared her reaction with NBC4: "I support him with whatever he does 100 percent – 110 percent."

Carmen Trutanich, who represented USC football players before serving as Los Angeles city attorney, says Shaw may have felt pressured to lie.

"It was a kid afraid of telling the coach, 'Hey coach I got hurt doing something stupid,'" Trutanich said. Trutanich is not representing Shaw.

Students were surprised to hear their fellow Trojan lied.

"I'm shocked," one student said. "I didn't think he'd be capable of doing something like that."

"I think that's just really disappointing, because we all thought he was a hero," another student said.

On Tuesday, Sarkisian defended Shaw and said he had "no reason, no history to not believe Josh."

Los Angeles police told NBC4 on Tuesday they had not had any contact with Shaw, but they did take a burglary report Aug. 23, the same night of his fall, in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend.

"He is not listed as a suspect, and police had no contact with him," LAPD Officer Sara Faden told NBC4. "His name is just listed in the body of a police report."

Officers responded to the call about 11 p.m., Faden said. While officers were speaking with people outside, a resident returned and spoke to police.

They asked her about her roommates and "people in her life," and she mentioned Shaw as her boyfriend, Faden said.

Conan Nolan and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Marvin Freeman Talks Baseball, JRW]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:04:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WEB_Starvin_Marvin_15426100_1200x675_322601027631.jpg Former White Sox player Marvin Freeman talks to NBC5's Peggy Jusinski about the impact Jackie Robinson West has had on Chicago and the future of youth baseball in the city.]]> <![CDATA[Harold Baines: JRW Could Inspire Youth Baseball Revival]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:40:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008571723_1200x675_322560067916.jpg White Sox Hitting Coach Harold Baines talks to NBC5's Peggy Kusinski about how the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars could inspired younger children to play baseball.]]> <![CDATA[Grizzly Detail's NFL Preview: NFC South ]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:50:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP769836197521.jpg

With the regular season just eight days away, Grizzly Detail will be going through our predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions, as well as our picks for the Super Bowl and the various awards available after the campaign.

We’ll continue our preview today with our look at the NFC South, as the Chicago Bears will take on all four teams in the division during the 2014 season. They’ll get started in Week 5 when they travel to the Tar Heel State to take on the Carolina Panthers.

New Orleans Saints: 12-4

The Saints are locked and loaded for another run at the Super Bowl, and they’ll be relying on Drew Brees once again. Brees has a ton of new weapons to play with, as Khiry Robinson steps into the lineup to replace Darren Sproles, and new draft pick Brandin Cooks gives the Saints another weapon in the receiver position. Of course, Jimmy Graham is going to get the majority of the looks in the passing game, but Cooks could still see some serious playing time.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints have plenty of playmakers as well, with Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd leading a secondary that is loaded with veteran talent. Champ Bailey will also be patrolling the field for the Saints at the cornerback spot, and linebacker Curtis Lofton will be a centerpiece in the team’s 3-4 defensive scheme.

Carolina Panthers: 8-8

The Panthers were a massive surprise last season, with a stout defense and an offense that really hummed under quarterback Cam Newton’s direction, but this year’s team is faced with some big questions. The biggest is Newton’s health, as he deals with a rib fracture that he sustained in the preseason.

Newton is also going to have to deal with a new crop of receiving weapons, as the team’s top four receivers from last season all left for greener pastures. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin and veteran Jerricho Cotchery are both going to be looked at to pick up the slack, and former Bears tight end Greg Olsen will also be a big contributor on that side of the ball.

As for that defense, they still have plenty of playmakers. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL, and defensive end Greg Hardy has a thirst for sacking the quarterback that is hard to quench. Roman Harper is another strong player at the safety position, and the Panthers are poised to repeat their defensive successes in the upcoming year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-8

Lovie Smith’s new team is facing plenty of questions of their own, but with a retooled offense and a defense under Smith’s tutelage, things should get better in Tampa. The big additions on offense were first-round draft pick Mike Evans, who gives the Buccaneers another massive wide receiver to throw to, and quarterback Josh McCown, who came over from the Bears after proving that he still has some life in his arm.

The two questions the Bucs have to answer are these: can Doug Martin bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season at the running back spot, and can an underachieving defense find their purpose in life under Smith’s guidance? The answers to those two questions will determine Tampa’s fate this year, and it’ll be interesting to watch just how everything unfolds.

Atlanta Falcons: 7-9

The Falcons are becoming more well-known to the world because of their stint on HBO’s Hard Knocks, but anyone who professes to know just how good the team will be is deluding themselves. This is a team with plenty of question marks in plenty of areas, and those all start on the offensive side of the ball.

Can Julio Jones stay healthy? Will Jake Matthews be able to help lock down an offensive line that is struggling with injuries? Will Steven Jackson be an effective running back this season, or will Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie back Devonta Freeman have to pick up the slack in the backfield? Can Devin Hester be an effective receiving option?

Those questions are all real headscratchers, but so too are the ones surrounding the defense. Will Osi Umenyiora pull one more good season out of his hat? Can Ra’Shede Hageman make his way back into the coaching staff’s good graces and become an effective nose tackle? Will the secondary be able to withstand the barrage they’ll get from opposing offenses?

The Falcons are a team that is tough to get a bead on, and frankly it wouldn’t be surprising if they finished anywhere from 12-4 to 4-12 with the type of inconsistency and health issues that they could be facing.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Rockford IceHogs 2014-15 Schedule Released]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:32:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/162*120/490146297.jpg

The Rockford IceHogs are going to be the home base for many of the Chicago Blackhawks’ best prospects in the 2014-15 season, and the squad has finally announced their schedule for the upcoming year.

Naturally, there will be a great variety of games against some of the team’s biggest rivals, including their home opener against the Milwaukee Admirals on October 11 and their first game of the season against the Chicago Wolves on October 25. In all, the IceHogs will play 76 games during their season, and they will be looking to make their way to the playoffs after missing the postseason narrowly last year.

For those fans looking to make the trip from Chicago out to Rockford to see the team play, here are five games that are worth circling on your calendars:

November 16: vs. Texas Stars

The defending Calder Cup champions will make their first trip to Rockford for this early season showdown, and they will bring with them one of the top goaltending prospects in the league, as Jack Campbell mans the crease.

November 28: vs. Chicago Wolves

What better way to spend the day after Thanksgiving than by watching the IceHogs do battle with their most hated rival? The Wolves will come to the party loaded with talent from the St. Louis Blues’ organization, and judging by the two teams’ history of donnybrooks and brawls, this should be a fun holiday matchup.

December 6: vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

Speaking of top-tier teams with rivalry implications, the Griffins are the Detroit Red Wings’ affiliate, and they will come to Rockford looking to make a statement against the Hawks’ best prospects. The Griffins finished in third place in the Western Conference last year, and they’ll be looking to make a step forward in the coming year.

January 24: vs. Utica Comets

The Comets may not look like much on the scoresheet, but hard core AHL fans know that the Comets used to be the Peoria Rivermen, and they were one of the IceHogs’ primary rivals. Some of that bad blood still exists, and it’s only accentuated by the fact that the Comets are the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate.

March 18: vs. Adirondack Flames

The Calgary Flames’ affiliate will make their first appearance in Rockford with their new moniker after moving from Abbotsford in the offseason. Players like Max Reinhart are worth keeping an eye on, and the Flames have several other prospects who will be trying to make the jump to the big league roster, so this group should be an interesting team to watch.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hawks Headlines: Examining Brad Richards' Potential]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:48:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/AP547409318630.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are still dormant, but the NHL keeps on spinning, and we catch up on all the major stories going on today in this edition of Hawks Headlines.

  • We’ll start out with a couple of stories about the Blackhawks, with Brad Richards being the first focal point. With it largely assumed he’s going to start out the season as the team’s second line center, is it reasonable to assume that he’s going to have a jump in production from what he did last season with the New York Rangers? [Second City Hockey]
  • Yesterday we discussed Chris Block’s report about where the Blackhawks are with Teuvo Teravainen, and Sam Fels also weighed in on the subject. [Committed Indian]
  • There was some big news on the NHL expansion front on Tuesday night, as it was reported that a decision to bring a team to Las Vegas was “a done deal.” [The Score]
  • Vegas isn’t the only city that’s reportedly in the running to get an expansion team. According to Howard Bloom from Sports Business News, Quebec City, Toronto, and Seattle will also get expansion teams under an NHL plan, and the league will rake in nearly $1.5 billion in expansion fees. Talk about a salary cap booster. [CSN Chicago]
  • Former Blackhawks goaltender Craig Anderson won’t be returning to the Windy City any time soon, as he inked a three-year extension with the Ottawa Senators. [ESPN]
  • Finally, the Arizona Coyotes have a new name, a new outlook, and several new pieces as they look to climb their way back into playoff relevance. [NHL.com]

<![CDATA[Williams: "It's Been A While Since We've Had Anything to Celebrate About"]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:47:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008570305_1200x675_322503235715.jpg Kenny Williams speaks at Jackie Robinson West Parade rally at Millennium Park.]]> <![CDATA[Marathon Training Tips: Mental and Physical Balance]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:11:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Marathon_tips_8-26.jpg Dr. Philip Skiba discusses the importance of having mental focus as well as the physical aspects of training for a marathon. ]]> <![CDATA[Chicago Sky Advance to WNBA Eastern Conference Finals]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 23:39:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Elena-Delle-Donne1.jpg

Elena Delle Donne scored 17 of her 34 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning jumper with 8.4 seconds left, as the Chicago Sky rallied from 20 points down to beat the Atlanta Dream 81-80 on Tuesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Tamera Young scored 16 points and Sylvia Fowles added 13 points and 15 rebounds as the Sky won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.

Chicago trailed 44-24 about midway through the second quarter and were down 72-55 with 8:12 remaining. Delle Donne then scored 13 points during the Sky's 19-2 run that tied the score at 74-all on her 3-pointer with 3:33 to go.

Shoni Schimmel's jumper put the Dream up 80-77 with 29 seconds left, but Delle Donne made two jumpers in the last 24 seconds.

Erika de Souza scored 18 points for Atlanta, and Angel McCoughtry had 17.

Photo Credit: Chicago Sky]]>
<![CDATA[Jackie Robinson West Rally, Parade Route]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:13:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JRW_nevada.jpg

Chicago can't get enough of Jackie Robinson West.

And the city is getting the opportunity to show just how much it appreciates the U.S. Little League World Series champions with a parade and two rallies Wednesday, plus some fireworks to top things off.

The festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a neighborhood rally at Jackie Robinson Park, located at 10540 S. Morgan St.

The parade kicks off at 10 a.m., working its way to Millennium Park for another rally at 11 a.m.

Lollapalooza headliner and popular South Side musician Chance the Rapper tweeted Tuesday that he will introduce the team at Millenium Park.

The procession will proceed along the following route:

  • Northbound on Aberdeen to 105th
  • East on 105th to Halsted
  • Northbound on Halsted from 105th to 35th Street
  • Eastbound on 35th Street to Indiana
  • Northbound on Indiana to 31st Street
  • Merge onto northbound Michigan Ave.
  • Northbound on Michigan Ave to Randolph

Fans are encouraged to gather at the following locations to cheer the team on:

  • 103rd and Halsted
  • 95th and Halsted
  • 87th and Halsted
  • 79th and Halsted
  • U.S. Cellular Field

Another fireworks display is planned for Wednesday night at Navy Pier.

On the eve of the city's celebration, fans of the team lined up around the block Tuesday to snag commemorative championship T-shirts.

People stood in line as early as 5 a.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods on Taylor and Canal to get their hands on a limited-edition piece of history.

"These are limited-edition shirts," fan Michael Mucci said. "I don't know if there will be any more coming out after this. This is once in a lifetime."

Some said they're buying shirts to get ready for Wednesday's parade. Others said they want to hold on to this memento of a historic Chicago summer and a team that stole the hearts of the country one base at a time.

"My mom is 80 years old and she says she's coming to the parade tomorrow," fan Jarvis Moffett said. "I'm getting her a shirt today. I was a Little League player back in the day, and I feel like I'm a part of this. This is a movement. I love it."

Ahead of Wednesday's festivities, JRW players Marquis Jackson and Josh Houston got fresh haircuts at Clipper Daddy's barbershop.

"It was a fun experience," Marquis Jackson said of the series. "I don't think I realize what we've done. I think I'll realize it in the future."

Josh Houston said he appreciates all the support from fans and the city but said he's still anticipating getting back to school and normalcy.

"I want to see my friends and hope that it all goes back to regular life," he said.

In the meantime, city crews were working Tuesday around Jackie Robinson Park where a rally will take place Wednesday morning before the parade sets off, making five stops along Halsted including U.S. Cellular Field, and ending with a party at Millennium Park.

"They have no clue how big this is right now," Coach Jerry Houston said. "Five, 10, 15 years they'll realize this is kinda huge. They've set a milestone."

For player Marquis Jackson and his family there was a logical choice for dinner Tuesday night -- Home Run Inn Pizza.

He's already looking ahead to Wednesday parade and rally.

"I think it's gonna be like the Blackhawks and we just won the Stanley Cup," Jackson said.

He's been catching up with family and friends and getting used to being in the spotlight, but he does crave a bit of normalcy.

"I like this life. but Im looking forward to being a normal kid again and hang out with my friends all the time," Jackson said.

His mother, Linda Sneed, will be there to make sure things go smoothly, and she already inserted a heavy dose of normalcy by taking him to buy his 7th grade uniform.

"I let him know that he's blessed, he's a blessed child. And well loved," Sneed said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Player Evaluations: Joakim Nordstrom ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:50:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Joakim+Nordstrom.JPG

With training camp a little over three weeks away, we are continuing our look at the player evaluations for the 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? What can they improve upon for next season?

We continue those evaluations today by examining the brief season of forward Joakim Nordstrom, and focus on what he could bring to the table for the Blackhawks next year.

The Good:

The Blackhawks are always on the lookout for defensive forwards, and Nordstrom surprised some folks when he made the team’s roster out of training camp. He didn’t stick for long, but in limited action he was mainly deployed in a fourth line role, and he made an impression on the coaching staff in the process.

The team also called him up for a bit of playoff action as well, and even though he didn’t register a point in the seven games that he played, he was a far more dependable option than Brandon Bollig.

In the AHL, Nordstrom showed some offensive skill, scoring 17 goals and dishing out 16 assists in 58 games with the Rockford IceHogs.

The Bad:

That offensive punch didn’t really show in the NHL, as Nordstrom struggled to balance his roles as a defender and as an attacker on the fourth line. Granted, not many guys are able to strike that balance, but it is surely something that the 2010 third-round draft pick will need to do if he is going to get more meaningful minutes in the future for the Hawks.

Best Game of 2013-14:

On April 6 against the Blues Nordstrom had six shots on goal and an assist, but we’ll go with his October 11 performance against the New York Islanders instead. In that game, Nordstrom notched his first career goal and registered three hits as the Blackhawks knocked off the Isles by a score of 3-2.

Outlook for 2014-15:

There are going to be a lot of youngsters competing for ice time in the NHL for the Blackhawks, and Nordstrom will be right in that mix. Teuvo Teravainen and Jeremy Morin will serve as his primary competition, but neither player is the prototypical third or fourth liner that Nordstrom is. He has some defensive skill, and could blossom into a Marcus Kruger-type player if he buys into that role enough.

The real question is whether or not Joel Quenneville is going to trust Nordstrom over a guy like Kris Versteeg. Either player could work well with Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger on the third line, but there is a backlog of players at the moment, so Nordstrom could end up being the odd man out when training camp concludes.

<![CDATA[Fales' Roster Status a Tough Call for Bears ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:46:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/453981648.jpg

For those fans and pundits who were expecting the Chicago Bears’ back-up quarterback battle to last through the end of the preseason, this weekend’s release of Jordan Palmer from the roster surely came as a shock.

With the competition now over and Jimmy Clausen in the fold as the back-up to Jay Cutler, the attention turns to the other quarterback remaining on the roster, as David Fales will play the entire game against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday. Marc Trestman says that Clausen could come in to finish things up if he needs to, but the team’s reasoning behind having Fales play all four quarters seems pretty clear: show us what you’ve got.

The real question that the Bears face as the deadline to trim their roster down to 53 players comes ever closer is this: what should they do with Fales? The team only carried two quarterbacks last season, cutting Palmer loose before the end of training camp, but this year’s situation is a bit different. While Palmer wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans if he wasn’t the back-up, Fales was a sixth round draft pick, and he is looked at as a potential developmental player for the future that Trestman can work with and mold.

The issue then is whether or not to keep him on the roster, or to cut him and try to stash him on the practice squad. If the Bears could just do that, it would make their lives much easier, with a slew of injuries still lingering that are going to make every roster spot critical. Unfortunately, by cutting Fales the Bears would expose him to the waiver wire, and with how quickly Palmer was snapped up by the Bills, there is a possibility that a team looking for a quarterback to groom may swipe him from under the Bears’ noses.

So should the Bears take the risk of losing Fales by putting him on waivers? The benefit of having an extra roster spot to play with is surely enticing, with several offensive linemen still hurting and with wide receiver Marquess Wilson on the shelf for at least the first few games of the season, but is it worth it?

Ultimately, the Bears will probably choose to keep Fales on the 53-man roster and will make their other cuts elsewhere. It’s possible that they could view the defensive line as a place to keep one fewer player than usual, with Lamarr Houston often subbing in at defensive tackle in nickel packages, or they could just keep two tight ends instead of three, with Matthew Mulligan getting the boot.

They could also keep only four safeties, with MD Jennings likely on the hook in that scenario.
Whichever way the Bears end up choosing to go with Fales, they will be taking a chance. If they cut him, they could lose him on waivers. If they keep him, it means making themselves a bit thinner at another position. These kinds of decisions are made every year in the NFL, but it doesn’t make them any easier.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Evidence to Be Tossed]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:41:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP296842589971.jpg

A Massachusetts judge has allowed some evidence to be suppressed in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, court documents show.

The former star Patriots tight end had asked the court to suppress the evidence — an iPhone, a Blackberry, an iPad and two iPad minis — which was obtained when his home was searched last June after the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Defense lawyers argued that that evidence was not part of the original search warrant and that a state trooper did not have the proper paperwork when he entered Hernandez's home.

Tuesday, the Bristol County Superior Court granted that motion, allowing that evidence to be thrown out.

Earlier this month, the court denied Hernandez's motion to exclude a digital video recorder, a hard drive and Hernandez's cell phone.

The hard drive allegedly contains files showing Hernandez holding the murder weapon and his movements around the time of the murder. The phone, according to prosecutors, had text messages Hernandez sent to Lloyd, as well as the former NFL star's alleged right hand man, Ernest Wallace, on the night of the killing.

Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Lloyd. He is also charged with the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in 2012.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office told NECN Tuesday afternoon that it cannot comment on the case, due to an ongoing gag order.

NECN will have more as this story develops.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jackie Robinson West's Championship Run]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:50:20 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JRW_gallery_blurb.jpg Look back at some of the highlights from Jackie Robinson West's historic run to the Little League World Series final.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Cut Brown, Frey to Get Roster Down to 75 Players ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:34:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/144483986.jpg

The Chicago Bears gathered in Lake Forest on Tuesday for their final full practice before the preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns, and there were a few topics on the minds of many at the facility.

The first and biggest question was which players would be cut to reach the 75-player maximum, which had to be reached by Tuesday afternoon. To answer that question, the Bears cut loose offensive tackle James Brown and cornerback Isaiah Frey.

The moves mean that the Bears now only have two of their 2012 draft picks still in the fold, with Shea McClellin and Alshon Jeffery being the only two of Phil Emery’s original draft selections left on the roster.

Cutting Brown isn’t a huge surprise, with players like Brian de la Puente and Eben Britton likely ahead of him on the depth chart. The emergence of Michael Ola as a potential replacement for Jordan Mills as the team’s starting right tackle also shrank Brown’s chances of remaining on the team, and rookie Charles Leno Jr. could very well remain on the 53-man roster when it’s unveiled this weekend.

Letting go of Frey wasn’t much of a surprise either, with Kyle Fuller’s return to the practice field likely meaning that he will be starting opposite Charles Tillman in Week 1 of the regular season. The team also still has Kelvin Hayden and Sherrick McManis battling for the fourth cornerback spot, so keeping Frey would have likely been a luxury that the team simply couldn’t afford.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teravainen to Get Blackhawks Roster Shot in Camp]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:24:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*124/480591495.jpg

When the Chicago Blackhawks convene for training camp next month at the University of Notre Dame, there will be several young players competing for roster spots. Jeremy Morin will certainly be one, as will Joakim Nordstrom, and even defensemen like Stephen Johns and Klas Dahlbeck could get the call if the team makes a salary cap-clearing trade before then.

One player that just about every Blackhawks fans is excited about is Teuvo Teravainen, and he too will be trying to make the opening night roster. According to various reports, the youngster put on 11 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and according to Chris Block of the blog The Third Man In, the Blackhawks are willing to give Teravainen an NHL shot:

“Impression I get is a roster spot is essentially Teuvo Teravainen’s to take in training camp. If he’s ready, the Blackhawks will not hold him back for any reason. However, if he’s still hesitant, over-thinking or a bit over-matched physically (these things will all come around, no one is doubting that) in half or more of his preseason appearances, there would be no hesitation to give Teravainen a month, two or however long it may take in Rockford.”

If Teravainen does end up getting the call to come up to the Blackhawks, the question immediately becomes one of where would be fit in. The team is likely going to give Brad Richards a chance to skate with Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad on the second line, and it’s unlikely that Joel Quenneville will want to break up Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa on the top line. Teravainen could slide in at a wing spot there, but the more likely scenario would be that Patrick Sharp would start there, and Teravainen would play on the third line with Andrew Shaw and either Bryan Bickell or Jeremy Morin.

As for what the Hawks’ motivation was in limiting Teravainen last season (he only played in three games, with four shots on goal and zero points for Chicago), Block says that not wanting to start the clock on the young Finnish forward’s NHL contract was the primary motivation:

“No matter what they say, the Hawks absolutely did hold Teravainen back when they brought him over from Finland at the end of last season. They had no desire to burn the first year of Teravainen’s entry level deal in a year when the organization itself wasn’t confident that they had the best team in the Western Conference.”

While the Cubs have been attacked by some for not wanting to start the contract of young phenom Kris Bryant, the Blackhawks’ reasons for not doing so are inherently practical. With a ton of forwards competing for ice time, there was no guarantee that Teravainen would be in the lineup every single night, and having him benched every other game wouldn’t be an effective use of the first year of his deal.

If Teravainen makes the team out of camp this time around, he would likely make it to stay, and that would mean that the team would be confident in starting the clock on the deal. It will certainly be a storyline to keep an eye on when training camp begins, and the preseason will be a great indicator of where he is in his development.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grizzly Detail's NFL Preview: NFC West ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:20:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP524790614627_0.jpg

With the regular season just nine days away, Grizzly Detail is going through our predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions, as well as our picks for the Super Bowl and the various awards available after the campaign.

We’ll continue our preview today with a look at the NFC West, which provides the Chicago Bears with their first big test of the season when they hit the road to open Levi’s Stadium against the San Francisco 49’ers on Sept. 14.

Seattle Seahawks: 12-4

The defending Super Bowl champions are locked and loaded for another run at the championship, with head coach Pete Carroll’s championship-winning squad largely intact. Quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch will help pace the offense, and stars like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor will be a big help on defense.

The only real question surrounding the Seahawks is whether or not their grueling schedule will wear them down. Within the first three weeks of the season they have home games against the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos, and those sandwich a tough road test against the San Diego Chargers. Add to that the fact they have to play both the 49’ers and the Arizona Cardinals twice, and you have a really tough road to hoe as they try to become the first team since the New England Patriots in 2005 to repeat as champions.

San Francisco 49’ers: 10-6

While the Seahawks are busy trying to contend with having the proverbial target on their back, the 49’ers are in a position that few teams would envy. They not only have to deal with several key players that are nearing the end of the line in Vernon Davis and Frank Gore, but they also have to deal with the suspension of Aldon Smith, which will really hurt them defensively. Linebacker Navarro Bowman will also miss at least the first six weeks of the season with a knee injury, so the defense will also have to deal with his absence when making their way through the tough early slate they have. 

Add to that the struggles of Colin Kaepernick and the team’s offense during the preseason, and there are a lot of worried fans in the Bay Area. Fortunately for the Niners, they still have head coach Jim Harbaugh at the helm, and under his direction they’ve come close to championships in each of the past two seasons. If there’s anyone that can get the ship heading in the right direction with so little time before the season starts, it’s him.

Arizona Cardinals: 9-7

The Cardinals are one of the most intriguing teams in the NFL. On offense, they are loaded with elite-level talent, with wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd being complemented by hot-shot running back Andre Ellington. Their secondary is also one of the best in the NFL, with Patrick Peterson (now the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL) and Tyrann Mathieu leading a group that rivals the Seahawks and 49’ers on the defensive side of things.

The real question for Arizona is just what on Earth they plan to do with their front seven. Linebacker Karlos Dansby left for Cleveland in the offseason, and the team lost Darnell Dockett for the season with an injury. With Darryl Washington also suspended for the year, the defense has taken some huge hits in recent weeks, so it’s going to be very interesting to see whether Bruce Arians’ squad can overcome those difficulties.

Another big question surrounding the Cardinals is whether or not Carson Palmer is going to be able to direct the offense to the big numbers they are capable of. He looked great toward the end of last season as the Cardinals fought for a playoff spot, but he isn’t getting any younger, and the team’s window of opportunity seems to be closing.

St. Louis Rams: 7-9

Speaking of teams that hold a lot of intrigue, the Rams are a club that it’s hard to get a read on. Defensively they are loaded, with Robert Quinn and Chris Long (Bears OG Kyle Long’s brother) anchoring the line and James Laurinaitis, Alec Ogletree, and Jo Lonn Dunbar serving as a potent force in the linebacker corps.

Unfortunately for St. Louis, their chances this season took a big hit over the weekend as quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the year with an ACL injury. They’ll still be able to move the ball with Zac Stacy and Tre Mason in the backfield, but will Shaun Hill be able to take a wide receiving corps that is woefully thin outside of Tavon Austin through one of the most grueling schedules in the league?

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Jordan Palmer Signs 1-Year Deal with Bills ]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 20:55:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/162*120/453565746.jpg

The Chicago Bears chose Jimmy Clausen to be the team’s back-up quarterback over the weekend, and as part of that decision they also cut ties with Jordan Palmer.

Palmer, who backed up Josh McCown last season while Jay Cutler was dealing with groin and ankle injuries, didn’t stay on the free agent market for long, as it was reported on Monday night that the quarterback had signed with the Buffalo Bills.

The deal will make Palmer the back-up quarterback for second-year star EJ Manuel. With 2014 first-round draft pick Sammy Watkins in the fold, the Bills will be looking to throw the ball a bit more this season, but they will still be primarily a run-first team with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson splitting carries in the backfield.

The move comes with a bit of intrigue as well, with the Bears slated to welcome the Bills to Soldier Field for the season opener on September 7. While it’s going to be a boost to the Bills to have Palmer as a mentor to the young Manuel, getting some of the inside dirt on Marc Trestman’s offense had to play into the mindset of the Buffalo front office at least a little bit.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Cut Craig Steltz ]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:10:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/steltz123389093.jpg

The Chicago Bears' defense has already gone through an enormous amount of upheaval over the past few months, and on Monday another mainstay of the team has been let go as safety Craig Steltz was released by the team. 

Steltz, who has missed a good chunk of training camp while recovering from a groin injury, was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Bears, and he has made his presence felt mostly on the special teams side of things. He did step into a big role as a starting safety for a brief time in 2011, starting five games and racking up 53 tackles while forcing two fumbles for the team. 

The timing on the decision to let go of Steltz is a bit surprising considering that the Bears are really struggling on special teams coverage at the moment. He was one of their best players in that regard even during last season's calamatious campaign, but apparently Joe Decamillis feels he can replicate that production from elsewhere as the Bears opted to let the veteran go. 

Steltz ends his Bears carer with 122 combined tackles, one sack, two pass deflections, one interception, and three forced fumbles. 

The Bears also let go of safety Adrian Wilson over the weekend, meaning that they still have Ryan Mundy, MD Jennings, Brock Vereen, Danny McCray, and Chris Conte on the active roster. At this point, it wouldn't be surprising to see all five players make the 53-man roster, which will be revealed next week. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jackie Robinson West]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:46:22 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[JRW Receives Raucous Welcome Back to Chicago]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:34:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JRW_Midway_2.jpg

The Jackie Robinson West Little League team returned home to Chicago Monday as victors.

The team's plane was showered with water from the Chicago Fire Department after it landed at Midway International Airport, and the team was showered with cheers at the gate by dozens of family, friends and fans.

The celebration continued at the airport's baggage claim, where the coaches and players were greeted by a live band.

Though they lost 8-4 Sunday to South Korea in the World Series game, they remain U.S. champions after powering past Las Vegas in Saturday's big win, and the city can't wait to celebrate.

"The coaches and myself put a lot of work into these guys, and we wanted this experience to be something they enjoyed, so we wanted to make sure they had fun doing it," pitching coach Jerry Houston said.

The team boarded a bus at the airport and received a police escort to Jackie Robinson Park in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood where they were met by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. A reception was held at the park with more congratulations from family and friends.

"They showed a maturity, character, discipline beyond their age," Emanuel said.

The players, who haven't been home since July 31, are obviously tired and looking forward to sleeping in their own beds and some home cooking.

"Probably some macaroni, some chicken, some greens ... I'm hungry," reliever Ed Howard said.

Former Jackie Robinson West coach Michael Haywood was among those who came out to greet the team.

"This is special. My heart is trying to get out of my chest right now, that's how special it is," Haywood said.

Buried in all the acclaim is the fact that most of these boys are only around 12 years old.

"I couldn't ask for anything more," JRW Coach Darold Butler said. "I hung out with the best coaches, the best kids you could be around. They made it enjoyable. The parents, volunteers, everybody, it was great."

The biggest celebration, though, is yet to come. Emanuel announced Chicago will honor the team with a parade that begins on the South Side and ends at Millennium Park. Wednesday night's Navy Pier fireworks will also be dedicated to them.

"I heard a lot of people were excited because we were the first all-black team in, like, 31 years," JRW player Trey Hondras said. "To accomplish something big like this in Chicago, especially since it's kind of negative there, it was very positive to come here."

It certainly was a weekend to remember for the team. On Saturday, they beat Las Vegas to clinch the U.S. Little League Championship. Despite a last minute rally on Sunday, the South Siders couldn't match a powerful South Korean team.

Even in defeat, though, the team maintained its grace, dignity and sense of humor. They said they are excited to be champs and look forward to returning home.

"I want to say thank you for all the support that they gave us," JRW player DJ Butler said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

<![CDATA[Grizzly Detail's NFL Preview: AFC East ]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:59:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/gronkowski-cleared-to-play.jpg

With the regular season just 10 days away, Grizzly Detail will go through our predictions for each of the NFL’s eight divisions, as well as our picks for the Super Bowl and the various awards available after the campaign.

To help decide where to startd, we looked at the Chicago Bears’ schedule, and since they start out playing the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, we’ll begin our predictions with the AFC East.

New England Patriots: 10-6

The Patriots are a team that has a lot of question marks, and the first and biggest one on the list is just how much more quarterback Tom Brady has left in the tank. He’s getting up there in age, his weaponry has diminished over the years, and even though the team made it to the AFC Championship Game last season, they were dispatched in short order by the Denver Broncos.

The other player that will have a big say in how New England’s season goes is Rob Gronkowski. The running game should be solid with Stevan Ridley taking goal line carries and Shane Vereen coming in as a Darren Sproles-type back, but if Gronkowski can remain healthy, then he is a huge target for Brady, and one that will force opposing teams to game plan for him.

Miami Dolphins: 8-8

On the offensive side of things, the Dolphins have a couple solid running back options in Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno, but both have question marks as to whether or not they can live up to their potential in the NFL. Quarterback Ryan Tannnehill does have plenty of guys to throw to, and Charles Clay might be one of the more underrated tight ends in the NFL in that department.

On defense, the Dolphins have a couple big play guys, including defensive end Cameron Wake and cornerback Cortland Finnegan, but the real question for them will be whether or not their rushing defense can make a step forward from last season.

They allowed nearly 2000 yards rushing, finishing 24th in the league in that category, and they also allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, finishing in a tie for 18th. In the first eight weeks of the season, the Dolphins will have to face some of the top backs in the NFL, with Jamaal Charles (Week 3), Eddie Lacy (Week 6), and Matt Forte (Week 7) all lining up against them.

New York Jets: 7-9

The Jets start out the season with a rough schedule, facing off against several playoff teams (Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos) and a couple more against teams looking to make the leap into contention this year, including the Bears. Quarterback Geno Smith will be looking to rise to the challenge in his second year in the NFL, and with the guidance of Michael Vick as his back-up, he could really begin to embrace both his passing and rushing abilities.

The Jets also added a couple of new pieces to help Smith along, with wide receiver Eric Decker coming over from Denver and Chris Johnson arriving from Tennessee.

On the defensive side of the ball, huge red flags are already popping up. The team’s pass defense was already weak last year, finishing 23rd in the NFL, but they will be even more taxed this time around as injuries have ravaged their cornerback corps. Add to that the ongoing drama with Dimitri Patterson going AWOL from the team before Friday’s game against the New York Giants, and it becomes clear that there is plenty of work for the defense to do to settle things down before the season opener.

Buffalo Bills: 6-10

The Bills have one of the league’s best rushing offenses, with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson helping lead the team to a second place finish in the league last season with 2307 yards. Unfortunately, their passing game was atrocious, finishing 28th in the league. To address that problem, they brought in wide receiver Sammy Watkins with a first round draft pick, but it’s unclear whether the Clemson phenom will be enough to reverse the team’s fortunes overnight.

Buffalo had one of the league’s best pass defenses last season, but also had one of the worst rush defenses, finishing 28th in the league in that category. Losing linebacker Kiko Alonso for the season isn’t going to help matters at all in that area, and that’s part of the reason why we picked the Bears to beat the Bills in Week 1 of the season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmy Clausen Wins Backup QB Battle]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 18:51:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/453989948+%281%29.jpg

The Chicago Bears began training camp in Bourbonnais with a back-up quarterback battle on their hands, but on Sunday, things came to an abrupt end as the team opted to cut Jordan Palmer from the active roster, meaning Notre Dame alum Jimmy Clausen gets the job. 

Kick returner Darius Reynaud and linebacker Jordan Senn were also released, bringing the total number of players on the team's roster to 78. The Bears have until Tuesday to trim three more players from the roster before the NFL's deadline for teams to have 75 active players. 

Palmer, who was given the first crack at the back-up job, was beaten by Clausen, who joined the Bears before mini-camp earlier this year.

Clausen has consistently looked like an NFL quarterback during the team's three preseason games, showing the arm strength, assertiveness, and effectiveness that Marc Trestman and Matt Cavanaugh are looking for in a quarterback. His numbers in the preseason were solid, going 24-for-37 for 280 yards and two touchdowns in three games.

He also played with the third-team twice in those contests, so while he was going against weaker defenses, he also didn't have the same weapons to work with that Palmer did in his contests. 

Palmer, on the other hand, looked tentative and ill-at-ease in the pocket, and Friday's performance brought more of the same for him. He went 7-of-10 in that game against the Seahawks, but he also missed a couple of surefire completions and had two delay of game penalties in three plays. That is an unacceptable performance for a guy who is one Jay Cutler injury away from seeing the field, and Palmer definitely hurt his chances with the difficulty he had in running the offense. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ledecky Sets World Record in 1,500 Freestyle]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 04:48:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP973055938873%281%29.jpg

U.S. teenager Katie Ledecky sliced almost six seconds off her own world mark in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle on Sunday, winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds to post her second world record in as many nights at the Pan Pacific championships.

The 17-year-old Ledecky improved her record in the 400 freestyle on Saturday. She collected her fifth gold medal of the meet in convincing fashion in cool but clear conditions on the last night of competition.

It was the third time in 13 months she's set the mark in the 1,500, and the second in three months since her 15:34.23 at Shenandoah on June 19.

Ledecky holds world records in the 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dan Marino Returning to Dolphins]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 17:26:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DanMarino14.jpg

Dan Marino is coming back to the Miami Dolphins. The Hall of Fame quarterback has agreed to accept a position with the team.

The Dolphins released a statement Sunday from team owner Stephen Ross and Marino confirming the story, which NBC 6 broke Saturday night.

“Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way,” Ross said. “Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here."

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life and I look forward to supporting the organization anyway I can,” Marino added. “Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I'm excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed.”

Marino will serve as a special advisor to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and C.E.O. Tom Garfinkel. The team says Marino will work with the organization in a variety of different capacities. Marino has been more visible at Dolphins camp lately, watching practice Thursday as well as being in Davie for the ALS ice bucket challenge the week before. For 17 years, Marino was the face of the franchise and both the team and the 52-year-old have had mutual interest in finding a role for him within the organization.

In his career with the Dolphins, Marino played in 242 games (240 starts) and was 4,967-8,358 (59.4 percent) for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns and 252 interceptions for an 86.4 passing efficiency rating. Marino holds 31 Dolphins regular season team records (43 overall, including playoffs) and is tied for three others (seven, including playoffs). Marino also holds five NFL regular season records and is tied for six others. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5, 2005 and enshrined on August 7, 2005. Marino’s No. 13 jersey became the second Dolphins uniform number to be retired, on Sunday, September 17, 2000, at halftime of the Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game at Sun Life Stadium, where he was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll. He was also a charter inductee in the Dolphins Walk of Fame on December 4, 2011.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Reportedly Release Wilson, Collins ]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 19:39:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/161*120/157458533.jpg

The Chicago Bears have until Tuesday to trim down their roster to 75 players, but they got started a bit early on Saturday by releasing a couple of big names back into the NFL’s free agency pool.

First and foremost among that group was defensive tackle Nate Collins, who was trying to make the Bears’ roster for the third time. In five games last season, Collins had 14 tackles and a sack, but with Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson both virtual locks to make the roster, the Bears decided to move in a different direction.

Collins wasn’t the only player on the defense to be cut loose on Saturday, as safety Adrian Wilson was also reportedly cut. With Chris Conte’s return from shoulder surgery, and with Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray getting a lot of reps together as a starting combination, it didn’t appear that Wilson was making any progress toward a starting job. He also wasn’t going to figure into Joe Decamillis’ special teams plans, so keeping him as a back-up wasn’t a viable option either.

The Bears also made a decision in their battle for the back-up running back job, as Michael Ford was released. Ford was a sensation in training camp last season, but with Ka’Deem Carey drafted and Shaun Draughn looking more and more likely to make the roster, Ford was an expendable piece.

According to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, the Bears made several other cuts, including wide receiver Kofi Hughes, cornerback Peyton Thompson, and cornerback Derricus Purdy. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boy With 1 Arm Is Golf Prodigy]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 16:48:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/one+arm+3+year+old+tommy+morrisey.jpg

Summertime for 3-year-old golf prodigy Tommy Morrissey means days spent hitting 100-yard drives over lakes at an Atlantic County country club. He steps up to the tee, lines up his driver, hesitates for just a moment, and cracks the golf ball over the water…all with one arm.

Tommy was born missing his right hand and part of his right arm below the elbow.

As he grew up in his hometown of Juniper, Fla., Tommy would watch golf on television with his father Joe and mother Marcia Lee. When he was about 18 months old, Tommy’s parents noticed that he was very interested in the sport, standing in front of the television and mimicking the golfer’s swings.

They gave him a set of plastic golf clubs, brought him out on the range, and saw he was a natural from his first perfect contact.

“His true ability is to look and learn,” Joe said. “I have given him very little instruction.”

When he was a little over 2-years-old, Tommy began using an iPad to look up golf tutorial videos on his own.

“I walked in, I asked what he’s doing, and he said, ‘Daddy, I’m taking a golf lesson’,” Joe said.

At night, teddy bears would not accompany Tommy to bed. Instead, he was tucked in with an array of at least 7 clubs.

“One time he refused to go to bed, and [I] finally got him to go to sleep and he insisted on this club or that club,” Joe said. “I put him down, and my wife and I heard him yelling, ‘Mommy, Daddy, you forgot my putter!’”

Tommy has since switched to real clubs, having torn apart multiple sets of his old plastic ones. The weight of the clubs is a challenge for him, but Jeff LeFevre, Golf Director for the Linwood Country Club where Tommy and his father play during their summers at the Jersey Shore, says that difficulty does not hold the prodigy back.

“It’s such a difficult game with two hands, two arms,” LeFevre said. “And here we are, a 3-year-old with one arm with absolutely great rhythym, great set-up…truly, truly a golf prodigy.”

Tommy doesn't see himself as different than other children his age. He simply calls his shorter arm “Nemo” after the fish with one small fin in Finding Nemo.

In addition to his love of golf, Tommy plays many other sports, punting a football or hitting a baseball out of the park.

Joe and his wife say that while having one arm has been a challenge for Tommy, in the end it is also a gift.

“He has been able to bring grown men to tears on the driving range. . .In his short life, he has been able to inspire many, make people second guess their own capabilities,” Joe said. “…He is doing it with probably one of the most powerful tools, and that is the innocence of a child.”

In the end, Tommy is just a kid wanting to have fun playing the sport that he loves.

“He does like to hit the ball in the water, but that’s ‘cause he’s 3,” Joe said. “He doesn’t understand that’s bad yet.”

<![CDATA[Clausen Seizes Control of Back-Up Quarterback Battle]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 14:29:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/453989948+%281%29.jpg

If a fan of the Chicago Bears were to base their opinions of where the team’s back-up quarterback battle sits after Friday night’s blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks, then they would probably think that the dynamic remained largely unchanged.

After all, Jordan Palmer, who completed 7-of-10 passes for 48 yards, and Jimmy Clausen, who went 6-for-9 for 36 yards, didn’t look all that different statistically. In fact, the duo really hasn’t been separated by much on the stat sheet in the preseason, but as has been the case in the two earlier games, Clausen completely dominated the battle in the intangibles department.

Even with the stadium slowly emptying out after the Seahawks took a big lead, the crowd was still noisy during the Bears’ opening few drives of the third quarter, and to be blunt, Palmer seemed to have trouble adapting. He had trouble communicating audibles in a few instances, and his throws weren’t much better, with a throw to Santonio Holmes along the sidelines standing out. On the play, Palmer should have put some zip on the ball and fired it to Holmes’ right shoulder, but instead he threw a lofted pass to the left shoulder, and Holmes was nearly drilled into oblivion as a result.

Palmer’s worst sequence came at the end of one of those drives. Coming out of a timeout, Palmer was whistled for a delay of game penalty, and just two plays later, Palmer ended up getting flagged for the same infraction, leaving the Bears well outside of conversion distance and costing them a punt.

In the fourth quarter of the game however, Clausen looked much more composed than his counterpart did. He audibled in and out of plays seamlessly, made a couple of great throws to Armanti Edwards, and even threw the ball away instead of trying to force touchdown passes to make an impact on the coaching staff.

That level of maturity and assertiveness definitely stood out in Clausen’s game, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the quarterback has likely earned the back-up job with the Bears. Palmer is a nice guy who has worked well with Marc Trestman and company, but the fact of the matter is that Clausen is a motivated player hellbent on showing that he is capable of holding down an NFL job, and he’s got the skillset to back up that confidence.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[JRW Wins U.S. Title Game at Little League World Series]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 09:56:15 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/245*120/jrw+win+us+title.jpg

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West All-Stars took the U.S. title in the Little League World Series with a 7-5 win over Las Vegas' Mountain Ridge Saturday.

The team started off strong, matching Nevada's three-run start and taking the lead in the second inning. The team maintained their one-point lead, keeping Nevada from scoring in the second, third, and fourth innings.

Nevada regained their lead following a home run in the fifth inning, but Jackie Robinson West tied the score with a hit from Joshua Houston. Chicago then scored again later in the fifth inning, bringing the score to 7-5, which ultimately brought them to victory.

“Throughout the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West has played with enthusiasm, energy and a whole lot of heart," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. "While they have already won the hearts of fans across the country now they are officially the U.S. Champions."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauded the players for becoming only the third team ever from Illinois to reach the championship game of the Little League World Series.

"The City of Chicago could not be prouder of them," Emanuel said in a statement. "Their positive attitude and success on the field has rallied people from every neighborhood to support these kids and they continue to demonstrate why they are the pride of Chicago. What a comeback. What a win!"

Supporters, including Emanuel and Quinn, gathered Saturday at an official watch party for the team, held at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 1250 W. 119th St.

Chicago's Chance the Rapper also came to cheer on the team.

Despite rain, fans also gathered on State Street, in front of the Chicago Theater, between Randolph and Lake Streets, to watch the game live on a big screen.

Two more watch parties are scheduled for 2 p.m. at both locations for Sunday's game.

The little league team from the South Side faced off against Philadelphia Thursday, winning 6-5 against the team that made national headlines for their star female pitcher Mo'ne Davis.

The team continued its historic run with Saturday's rematch against Las Vegas. The West champions beat JRW in four innings in a mercy-rule game last Sunday behind five homers.

Chicago now moves on to the World Series Championship game against South Korea Sunday. Saturday's losing teams will play in a consolation game Sunday morning.

The success of Jackie Robinson West, comprised of all black players, marks the team's first appearance in the Little League World Series in 31 years.

Their popularity has continued to grow throughout their journey, sparking support from Major League Baseball players and even Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

After Thursday's game, Emanuel said win or lose, the city will hold a parade for the team.

"No matter what happens these kids are champs," Emanuel said. "We will have a parade respectful of them because they are winners whatever the score is."

<![CDATA[Conte Suffers Concussion Against Seahawks ]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:52:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/167*120/452803569.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Seahawks Blow Out Bears 34-6 ]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 00:17:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/4539831281.jpg

Russell Wilson threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and Jermaine Kearse hauled in four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown as the Seattle Seahawks throttled the Chicago Bears by a score of 34-6 on Friday night. 

The Bears deferred on the coin toss, and the Seahawks came out before a raucous crowd and immediately went to work. The Seattle offense quickly got to work, finding soft spots in the Bears’ defense and converting on two key third down plays. On a shotgun draw play, Russell Wilson handed the ball off to Marshawn Lynch, and when Shea McClellin overpursued to the middle of the field, the star running back cut to the outside and scored easily to make it 7-0 Seattle.

When the first team offense came out for the Bears to start their first drive of the contest, Jay Cutler looked like he was in sync with his receivers early. He found Brandon Marshall on an excellent inside slant pattern, and then found Alshon Jeffery on a curl route for another first down. Matt Forte also had his first big run of the preseason for another first down, but after Jeffery dropped a 3rd-and-15 pass from Cutler, the Bears were forced to kick the ball away.

On the Seahawks’ second drive, they were the beneficiaries of a couple of silly penalties that extended the drive. First it was Jeremiah Ratliff getting drawn offside on a third-and-short, and then it was Lance Briggs doing the honors as he was flagged for a late hit on Wilson. Finally, the Seahawks put the Bears out of their misery on a third-and-goal play, as Wilson beat Briggs around the edge to the pylon to put his team in front by a score of 14-0 with a minute to go in the first quarter.

As the second quarter got underway, the Seahawks took over on offense after a failed drive by the Bears, and they marched right back down the field. Percy Harvin had a huge catch over the middle, and gained even more after the catch when Tim Jennings tried to cut off the area outside of the hash marks. Finally, Jermaine Kearse snared a 12-yard touchdown catch from Wilson, and with about eight minutes to go in the half, Seattle led 21-0.

After another failed drive by the Bears, the Seahawks got great field position as Earl Thomas returned a punt 60 yards thanks to some poor coverage by the Bears. After just a few plays, Wilson found running back Christine Michael on a screen pass, and he waltzed into the end zone to give the Seahawks a 28-0 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the half.

The Bears did finally get some good progress on offense in the last moments of the quarter, but they were denied a touchdown on two occasions. On the first one, Martellus Bennett hauled in a pass from Cutler near the goal line, but was stopped just a half-yard shy of the end zone. On the second, Marshall was whistled for offensive pass interference after Dante Rosario caught a touchdown, negating the play. On the next play, Cutler threw an interception, and after a Steven Hauschka field goal from 59-yards out, the Seahawks led 31-0 at the half.

In the third quarter of the game, the Seahawks continued to maintain a stranglehold on the game, as Jordan Palmer and the second string offense struggled out of the gate. Santonio Holmes did get his first reception of the preseason, but a couple of stalled out drives allowed the Seahawks to tack on another Hauschka field goal and lead after three quarters by a score of 34-0. 

With Jimmy Clausen stepping into the huddle for the fourth quarter, the Bears' offense seemed to find another gear, and they began to move down the field. Armanti Edwards made a couple of nice plays on the drive, as did running back Shaun Draughn, but ultimately they weren't able to get the ball into the end zone as Edwards couldn't haul in a third-and-goal pass. Robbie Gould did boot home a field goal however, and the Bears got on the board. 

After a C.J. Wilson interception along the sidelines, the Bears' offense went back to work in an attempt to get a few more reps before the end of the game. Clausen made a brilliant play to dive for a first down on a fourth-down conversion, but the play was negated by a holding penalty in the backfield. Gould kicked another field goal, but the Bears couldn't tack on anything else as they ultimately fell by 28 points. 

The Bears will have to cut their roster down to 75 players by Tuesday, and then on Thursday they will play their final game of the preseason on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What Jackie Robinson West Did on Their Day Off]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:36:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008512202_1200x675_321180739875.jpg 8/22/2014: Chicago's Jackie Robinson West will play in the U.S. title game at the Little League World Series. On Friday they took a break from the game that’s put the team on the national stage. NBC5’s Christian Farr Reports.]]>