<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Sports]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago https://www.nbcchicago.com en-usSat, 19 Jan 2019 12:46:26 -0600Sat, 19 Jan 2019 12:46:26 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bears Add Coach Townsend to Pagano's Staff]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 18:23:46 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454956674.jpg

New Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has his first assistant coach, as Deshea Townsend has been named as the team’s defensive backs coach.

Townsend spent the 2018 season as an assistant DB’s coach for the New York Giants, and replaces Ed Donatell, who left the Bears to become Vic Fangio’s defensive coordinator in Denver.

Townsend has coached at both the professional and collegiate level, working with the Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans before arriving in New York with the Giants.

The Bears also announced that they have hired Ronell Williams as a defensive quality control coach. He spent the last two seasons as a defensive analyst at Temple.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant Gives Blunt Answer on 'Harper to Cubs' Rumors]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:34:26 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-693936694.jpg

Chicago Cubs fans hoping for a Bryce Harper contract with the team found their hopes further dashed on Friday by one of Harper’s best friends.

Kris Bryant, who grew up in Las Vegas with Harper and hangs out with the superstar free agent on a frequent basis, echoed comments made earlier in the week by Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“He’s not signing here,” Bryant said.

Bryant also said that he believes the Cubs have a “killer team,” but his comments on Harper will likely sadden many Cubs fans.

Numerous reports have surfaced throughout the offseason that the Cubs will not have the money to pursue high-priced free agents, and they have not done so this year, only signing infielder Daniel Descalso.

Earlier in the week, Maddon told media that a Harper signing in Chicago is “not going to happen,” but until the outfielder puts pen to paper, Cubs fans will likely continue clinging to hope.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Sign Pitcher Rob Scahill to Minor League Deal]]> Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:27:22 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1045141060.jpg

The Chicago Cubs made a minor league signing on Friday ahead of their annual fan convention, inking pitcher Rob Scahill to a deal.

Scahill, who graduated from Willowbrook High School in suburban Villa Park, last pitched for the Chicago White Sox during the 2018 season. In six appearances, Scahill posted a 5.40 ERA and struck out three batters in five innings of work.

In 124 total major league appearances, Scahill has a 5-7 record with a 3.85 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 149.2 innings.

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The Cubs will report to spring training in mid-February, and will begin playing games on Feb. 23.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maddon Not Concerned as Last Year of Contract Looms]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:07:57 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-944403256.jpg

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon is in town for the team’s annual Fan Convention this weekend, but he’s not letting his uncertain contract status distract him from the task at hand.

Speaking to the media at his annual Thanksmas event in Chicago, Maddon said that he’s not worried about entering the final year of his contract without the certainty of an extension, saying that he’s used to a certain amount of instability.

“We’re all lame ducks, aren’t we?” He asked with a chuckle. “I’ve been on many one-year contracts, but now I’m on the last year of a five-year contract, so I feel pretty fortunate. I don’t worry about it. I’m pretty self-confident, and I feel pretty good about what we’ve done and where we’re going in the future.”

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Maddon, who signed a five-year contract with the Cubs prior to the 2015 season, was told by team management that they would not negotiate a new contract with him during the offseason. He has led the Cubs to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons with the club, but despite the success, there is still a chance that he could head elsewhere after the 2019 campaign.

The skipper told reporters that he had meetings with team brass and players at Wrigley Field to discuss the upcoming season, and said that the long lay-off has made his team more focused than ever on trying to win another World Series title.

“We feel like we have all the ingredients in the bowl,” Maddon said. “I’m with the guys, Theo and Jed, regarding trying to extrapolate more out of the group we already have because there’s a lot more left.”

The annual Cubs Convention will get underway on Friday evening at the Sheraton in downtown Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Host Service Day Ahead of Convention]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 18:40:59 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ-71_ASI_HR_131922446597010000.jpg

The Cubs held their annual Community Service Day on Thursday as players and coaches made stops around the city. NBC 5's Mike Berman has all the latest on the team's activities. 

<![CDATA[Nagy, Fangio Honored by PFWA]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 14:09:06 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/usa_matt_nagy.jpg

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio each received unique honors on Thursday, as they were given awards by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Nagy, who led the Bears to a 12-4 record this season, was named as the PFWA’s Coach of the Year, according to a press release issued by the group.

Nagy is the first Bears head coach to win the award since Lovie Smith took home the prize during the 2005 season. He is the sixth Bears coach in history to win the prize, joining other notable coaches like Mike Ditka.

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Fangio, who recently took over as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, was given the group’s Assistant Coach of the Year Award for his work with the Bears, who had one of their best defensive seasons in team history.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they were unable to make a clean sweep of the PFWA Awards, as Indianapolis Colts G.M. Chris Ballard won Executive of the Year honors over Bears G.M. Ryan Pace.

Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Say Carter Jr. Suffered Thumb Injury]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 13:12:27 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1071567080.jpg

Chicago Bulls rookie center Wendell Carter Jr. won’t play on Thursday against the Denver Nuggets, but the youngster did get some good news from the team’s medical staff.

Carter, who revealed the injury after the Bulls’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, is dealing with a sprained left thumb, according to head coach Jim Boylen, but avoided another injury as his knee is improving.

“My heart would be broken for him if he’s out for some time,” Boylen said. “That’s the first thing I think about because it’s your life and a big part of who you are. To be away from it is difficult.”

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Carter said that his thumb swelled up after the game, but called himself “day-to-day” with the injury.

The Bulls and Nuggets will square off on Thursday night in Denver as the team wraps up a road trip. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ricketts Dismisses Concerns About Cubs' Budget]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:48:01 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ricketts.png

Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts fired back at critics who say that the team has closed its pocketbook this offseason.

In a radio interview on Thursday morning, Ricketts discussed the team’s budget, and said that signing players like Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish have already added plenty of money to the club’s payroll.

“First of all, we have spent this offseason,” he said. “Obviously we signed Cole Hamels and we picked up Daniel Descalso, and I’m sure Theo (Epstein) has a few moves left in him. But frankly, we have one of the largest budgets in all of baseball, (and) we’re among the very top spenders, so I just think all that stuff is kind of misguided.”

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Ricketts also discussed the extra taxes the Cubs have to pay, between $20 and $30 million a year, and the fact that the team has to cover all of the expenses of Wrigley Field, which is in contrast to the sweetheart deals that most teams have with the cities and counties in which they play.

Reports throughout the offseason have indicated that the Cubs will not have the money to spend on big ticket free agents, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Other teams in the Central Division have made some moves, but the Cubs have mostly stood pat, with the exception of signing Descalso to an inexpensive deal.

Ricketts also elaborated on why the team's ownership group decided not to hold an annual question-and-answer session with fans at Cubs Convention, saying that the panel was poorly rated by fans who attend the annual event

<![CDATA[White Sox Announce Spring Training Broadcast Schedule]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 12:26:13 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-9260501261.jpg

Chicago White Sox fans who are craving baseball action will get their wish in March, as the team will air and stream numerous spring training games from Arizona.

The White Sox, who will kick off their spring schedule on Feb. 23 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, will televise a total of six spring games this year, and will make 11 more available as livestreams on the team website.

A total of five games will air on NBC Sports Chicago, and one other game between the Cubs and White Sox will air on WGN.

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Here is the team’s broadcast schedule for the spring:

Feb. 23: White Sox vs. Dodgers (WGN Radio, whitesox.com)

Feb. 25: White Sox at Giants (WGN Radio)

Feb. 26: Royals vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

Feb. 27: Reds vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

March 2: Rockies vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

March 3: White Sox at Cubs (WGN Radio)

March 4: Angels vs. White Sox (WGN Radio, whitesox.com)

March 5: Padres vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

March 7: Brewers vs. White Sox (WGN Radio, whitesox.com)

March 10: A’s vs. White Sox (WGN Radio, whitesox.com)

March 12: Mariners vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

March 15: Cubs vs. White Sox (WGN-TV, WGN Radio)

March 16: Dodgers vs. White Sox (NBC Sports Chicago)

March 17: White Sox at Diamondbacks (WGN Radio)

March 18: Giants vs. White Sox (WGN Radio, whitesox.com)

March 19: White Sox at Reds (NBC Sports Chicago, WGN Radio)

March 20: Diamondbacks vs. White Sox (NBC Sports Chicago)

March 21: Rangers vs. White Sox (whitesox.com)

March 22: White Sox at Angels (NBC Sports Chicago)

March 24: Indians vs. White Sox (NBC Sports Chicago, WGN Radio)

*Televised games in bold

The White Sox will kick off the regular season on March 28 when they take on the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ricketts Explains Decision to Axe Q&A Panel]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 08:04:56 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-618897940.jpg

The Ricketts family made waves on Wednesday when it was revealed that they wouldn’t host their annual Q-and-A panel at Cubs Convention, and team Chairman Tom Ricketts explained the family’s reasoning in a radio interview Thursday.

Ricketts, who purchased the team along with his family prior to the 2011 season, said that the family worried that the questions in the annual panel were getting “repetitive” during an interview with the Mully and Haugh Show on 670 the Score.

“We had the lowest rated panel last year, so they cut us,” he said. “We just thought we are boring people. I think I’m the most accessible owner in sports. People ascribe some agenda to it, but people want more time with players and coaches.”

The Ricketts family has been stirring up quite a bit of buzz this offseason, as rumors have swirled that the Cubs are working with budgetary limitations that have prevented them from going after players like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The team has also ginned up tons of discussion because of the likelihood of a new team-owned television network, as well as the handling of the situation with embattled shortstop Addison Russell, who was suspended over domestic violence allegations.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Convention: Bryant, Baez to Appear at Event]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:00:09 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-833178992.jpg The Chicago Cubs are getting set for their annual fan convention this weekend, and here are the players who will be attending.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ozzie Guillen, Frank Thomas Added to SoxFest Lineup]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 18:28:44 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ozzie_finale_1.jpg

For the first time since he left the team after the 2011 season, former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen will be at the team’s annual Fan Festival later this month, the club announced this week.

Guillen, who led the White Sox to the 2005 World Series championship, was one of several new guests that the White Sox have added to the lineup for SoxFest, which will take place Jan. 25-27 at the Hilton Chicago.

Hall of Fame first baseman Frank Thomas, White Sox ambassadors Jon Cangelosi, Michael Huff, Ron Kille, and Dan Pasqua will all be in attendance, according to the team.

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Newly acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Seby Zavala are among the current players who will also be at the event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gould Discusses Possibility of Returning to Bears]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:36:55 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/GouldGameWinner.PNG

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould still has plenty of connections to the Chicago Bears, but with free agency looming, could a reunion with the team be in the cards?

This week, Gould was a guest on the podcast of former Bears teammate Earl Bennett, and he was asked whether or not he could consider coming back to the Bears when he hits the open market this spring.

“Chicago will always be home. I love Bears fans, and I love the city. I’ll always be a Bear, no matter what team I’m on or where I’m going or whatever happens,” he said. “One day, I’ll probably retire a Bear.”

The team has allowed former players like Devin Hester and Charles Tillman the opportunity to sign one-day contracts with the team to allow them to retire as Bears, and while Gould isn’t ready to hang up his spikes yet, he could opt to do the same thing when his career is over.

That being said, the Bears could very well bring in Gould, as the team seems to be ready to move on from kicker Cody Parkey after he missed a 43-yard field goal that would have won a playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Machado's Agent Shoots Down White Sox Rumors]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 16:04:02 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1054062150.jpg

The baseball world is on pins and needles waiting for Manny Machado to pick his free agency destination, but the superstar’s agent launched an all-out blitz against rumors surrounding the offers his client has been getting.

On Wednesday, Machado’s agent Dan Lozano called reports that the White Sox had offered a seven or eight-year deal to his client “completely wrong,” and said that several rumors put out by reporters, including USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and ESPN’s Buster Olney, have been “inaccurate and reckless.”

“I am well aware that the entire baseball universe is starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny,” he said. “But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipulated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players’ livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason.”

Reports this week have swirled that the White Sox have offered Machado a contract of seven or eight years, with a reported annual value of $25 million per season.

It is unclear when Machado will sign with a team, but spring training is looming just around a month away.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maddon Gives Blunt Answer About Cubs' Harper Chances]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:53:41 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1044918470.jpg

The Chicago Cubs have long been viewed as a team tailor-made for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, but according to at least one high-profile member of the club’s leadership team, fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

During an event on Tuesday, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked by a fan whether the team is going to have a chance to sign Harper, who is one of the most highly-touted free agents of all time. Maddon did not mince words in his response.

“Not going to happen,” the manager said.

Countless reports this offseason have indicated that the Cubs are operating with budgetary constraints that could prevent them from going out and signing a high-profile free agent like Harper, but there have still been reports indicating that the team is at least kicking the tires on bringing him in.

There is of course still plenty of offseason to go through, but at this point, it still seems like a long shot that the Cubs will get in on the Harper sweepstakes in any meaningful way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Donatell Leaves Bears, Joins Fangio's Staff]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:44:15 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-113580112.jpg

The Chicago Bears will be looking for a new defensive backs coach next season, as Ed Donatell has joined Vic Fangio with the Denver Broncos.

Donatell, who was a defensive coordinator candidate for the Bears before the team hired Chuck Pagano to the position, will take over as the coordinator for Denver’s defense next season.

“Having worked very closely with him for a number of years, Ed has a strong understanding of the entire defense from the front end to the back end,” Fangio said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to add Ed to our coaching staff and welcome him back to the Broncos.”

The Bears are going to have to replace nearly their entire defensive staff this offseason, as interior linebackers coach Glenn Pires, safeties coach Roy Anderson, and outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley are all out at Halas Hall.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Reports: Ricketts Won't Hold Q&A Panel at Convention]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2019 13:37:34 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-859443102.jpg

The Chicago Cubs will host their annual Convention at the Sheraton this weekend, but during an offseason with plenty of storylines, fans will not get to hear from the team’s ownership.

According to multiple reports, the Ricketts family will not hold a question-and-answer panel at the annual Convention. The family has come under criticism recently for their political donations, the decision to likely create a Cubs television network, and for the team’s lack of willingness this offseason to spend money on free agents.

While big-name players like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez will be at the Convention, other stars like Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester will not be in Chicago for the weekend event.

For a full list of players that will be at the convention, fans can visit the Cubs’ website.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Yankees MVP Closer Accused of Child Sex Abuse]]> Tue, 15 Jan 2019 22:12:37 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/john-wetteland-mug-blur.jpg

World Series MVP pitcher John Wetteland is out on bond, accused in North Texas of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14.

Wetteland, 52, who now lives in Trophy Club, was booked into the Denton County Jail Monday and posted a $25,000 bond the same day.

In a probable cause affidavit filed Jan. 15, the victim alleged that while between the ages of 4 and 6, from October 2004 to October 2006, three separate assaults took place. NBC 5 has a policy of protecting the identities of sexual assault victims, so the affidavit and further details about the allegations are not included in this article.

The former major leaguer has not issued a statement and it's not clear if he's obtained an attorney.

Wetteland played 12 seasons in the majors for the Rangers, Yankees, Expos and Dodgers before retiring in 2000. After winning a World Series in New York in 1996, where he was named the series MVP, he landed in Arlington where he spent the final four years of his career setting a team record of 150 saves.

His final game was on Sept. 20, 2000; at age 33, after his Rangers contract expired during the offseason, he retired from baseball. Wetteland was later inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2005.

According to a biography published by the Seattle Mariners, Wetteland spent three seasons as a roving pitching coordinator for the Texas Rangers beginning in 2002. In 2006 he worked as a bullpen coach for the Washington Nationals before heading to Seattle for two seasons in 2009 and 2010.

Wetteland was hospitalized in 2009 after reportedly considering suicide, though he later said his hospitalization was due to his elevated blood pressure and heart rate and that it had been addressed.

In between MLB coaching gigs, Wetteland, a longtime born-again Christian, coached baseball and taught Bible studies at Liberty Christian School, in Argyle, from 2007 to 2008, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News. A vice president with the school told the paper Wetteland has had no association with the school since his departure.

Before joining the Rangers as a closer, Wetteland spent two seasons with the New York Yankees and three each with the Expos and Dodgers. The All-Star closed out his career with a record of 48-45, 330 saves, 804 strike-outs and a 2.93 ERA from 1989-2000.

Wetteland and his wife divorced in 2015. They have four children.

Photo Credit: Denton County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Cubs Release Full List of Players Attending Convention]]> Tue, 15 Jan 2019 12:37:28 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-835610790.png

The Chicago Cubs released the full list of players and alumni who will appear at the team's annual convention Monday, announcing a stacked list of appearances in the the weekend full of festivities.

The 34th Annual Cubs Convention will take place from Jan. 18 through 20 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago in Streeterville, according to the team's website.

The current players slated to appear include, in alphabetical order: Albert Almora Jr., Adbert Alzolay, Javier Báez, David Bote, Kris Bryant, Victor Caratini, Steve Cishek, Willson Contreras, Yu Darvish, Taylor Davis, Daniel Descalso, Brian Duensing, Carl Edwards Jr., Kendall Graveman, Cole Hamels, Ian Happ, Kyle Hendricks, Jason Heyward, Brandon Kintzler, Dillon Maples, Alec Mills, Mike Montgomery, James Norwood, José Quintana, Randy Rosario, Kyle Schwarber, Justin Steele, Pedro Strop, Rowan Wick, Mark Zagunis and Ben Zobrist.

Coaching staff appearances will include Joe Maddon, Mike Borzello, Tim Buss, Brian Butterfield, Tommy Hottovy, Anthony Iapoce, Mark Loretta, Will Venable and more.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, as well as Laura Ricketts and Todd Ricketts, plus President of Business Operations Crane Kenney will also be on hand.

President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and EVP Jed Hoyer will also appear, as well as plenty of notable alumni like Kerry Wood, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg and Ryan Dempster, among others. Legendary Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Pat Hughes will also be on hand.

A full list of players, staff and alumni appearing at the convention can be found on the Cubs' website.

Each pass costs $125 plus taxes and fees, and will be valid for all three days of the convention, according to the team. Passes, limited at four per household, are available for purchase on the Cubs' site or by calling 1-800-THE-CUBS.

Photo Credit: David Banks/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Execs Didn't Know Parkey Would Appear on 'Today']]> Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:56:25 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/BEARS+PRESSER+MONDAY+-+12420227_35236559.jpg

It appears the Bears didn't know Cody Parkey would be making an appearance on the "Today Show" just days after his now-infamous double doink that marked the end of the team's season this month.

"You know, I found out -- I don't even know the exact time that it was," Nagy said Monday, noting that Parkey hadn't mentioned the interview when he did his exit interview last week. "But you know, for me, and you understand that we always talk about, you know, a 'we' and not a 'me' thing. We always talk as a team. We win as a team. We lose as a team. You know, I just -- I didn't necessarily think that that much too much of a 'we' thing." 

When asked if he thought the interview last week was appropriate, Nagy repeated he didn't think it was a "we" thing. 

Parkey appeared on "Today" Friday, detailing the missed field goal that ended the Bears' loss to the Eagles in the playoffs. 

"I just went down and I thought I hit a pretty good kick, it felt good off my foot," he told Today in an interview Friday. "Looking up and then I saw it hit the upright and hit the crossbar, I'm like, 'Surely it'll go in.' Unfortunately, it bounced toward me."

The NFL has changed its ruling on the 43-yard field goal attempt now known as the "double doink," changing the play to a blocked attempt. The change was made Monday via a stat correction, with officials stating the field goal was blocked by Eagles player Treyvon Hester. 

But Nagy said that doesn't matter. 

"There's just so many variables that go into it. You see it and I don't know, I mean, if -- there's so many different ways of how hard is a ball kicked, where when it gets tipped, it affects the way it goes," Nagy said. "What's the trajectory of a 43-yard field goal when you're kicking that, the blocking. Everything was -- and then there's also the element of the other team trying to make a good play, too. So there's just so many variables. The end result is we didn't make it."

Parkey has been the subject of much criticism throughout the season and even more since the team was eliminated from the playoffs.

"Obviously I’m disappointed that I let the fans, my teammates and the whole organization down, but I’ll continue to keep my head held high because football is what I do, it’s not who I am," he told "Today," noting that he has not been on social media since the end of the game. 

"I feel worse than anybody about missing that kick," he added. 

And the Bears GM said he knows that, but it appears the kicker's future is still in question. 

"I know Cody wishes he had a better season," said General Manager Ryan Pace. "We wish he had a better season, too. You know, we've just got to evaluate that now and you've got be to honest with yourselves in these. When we go forward, that's when we have to be real and say, that's an important position for us, it's a position of emphasis."

Parkey signed a four-year contract with the Bears before the season, but his future will now be one of many questions that Pace and company will have to answer as the offseason begins.

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<![CDATA[UCLA Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi's Perfect-10 Floor Routine Goes Viral]]> Tue, 15 Jan 2019 07:58:52 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/UCLA_Gymnast_1200x675_1425201731522.jpg

UCLA Bruin Katelyn Ohashi put together a show-stopping gymnastics floor routine Saturday in Anaheim, and video of the performance was viewed over 9 million times within 24 hours of being posted, with even Sen. Kamala Harris posting the performance on her Twitter.

"This is fantastic. Congratulations," Harris said to the 20-year-old on the social media platform, with the gymnast responding by telling the California senator, "I got you with tickets too any time!!"

Ohashi, the 2018 NCAA floor champion, earned a perfect score from the judges for her energetic and crowd-energizing routine. The Bruin danced, jumped, tumbled and split to sounds heavily influenced by Michael Jackson, but the soundtrack of the routine was probably best described as the constant cheers from the crowd on hand.

Ohashi appeared to be having fun, and her teammates, coaches and crowd celebrated her perfect 10 score.

With video of the floor routine having been viewed more than 9 million times in the first 24 hours since UCLA gymnastics posted the performance to its Twitter account, one would imagine millions of people agree with the judges' scoring.

<![CDATA[Bears Letting Go of Multiple Defensive Coaches, Reports Say]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:01:10 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454956674.jpg

The Chicago Bears have already made a big hire this offseason in Chuck Pagano, but the rest of their defensive coaching staff could get a bit of a shake-up. 

According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears are prepared to let outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley go after two seasons with the team. 

Staley was hired before the 2017 season, but the Bears could let him go to the Denver Broncos to join Vic Fangio, who was hired as the team's new head coach last week. 

The Bears have also decided to let assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson go, according to Biggs' report. 

The one big question still facing the coaching staff is the fate of defensive backs coach Ed Donatell, who has been rumored to be a candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the Broncos. He also interviewed with the Bears prior to the hire of Pagano, but it's unclear whether he will remain with the team or seek employment elsewhere. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: White Sox Make Big Offer to Machado]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 21:49:54 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1054062150.jpg

The Chicago White Sox have been one of the biggest pursuers of highly-prized free agent Manny Machado, and according to a new report, they’ve made him a very substantial offer.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the White Sox have made an eight-year contract offer to Machado, who along with Bryce Harper is one of the most highly sought after free agents in recent memory.

There is no dollar figure assigned to Passan’s story, but he does say that Chicago’s willingness to push their offer up to 10 years has been questioned.

Machado has been linked to several teams, including the New York Yankees, but the White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies have emerged as the two most likely landing spot for the infielder’s services.

The Phillies are still aggressively courting Harper as well, meeting with him this weekend in Las Vegas according to multiple reports, so if they end up signing him, that could signal a Machado contract with the South Siders.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Foles Interception Dooms Eagles in Game vs. Saints]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:58:38 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1093748282.jpg

The Chicago Bears had their season ended at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but this week a possible victory slipped through the fingers of the defending Super Bowl champions.

In the fourth quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints, the Eagles were driving into Saints territory when Nick Foles threw a pass to former Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. The pass ended up going through Jeffery’s hands, and into the waiting arms of Saints defender Marshon Lattimore:

After that play, the Saints killed the rest of the clock, and advanced to the NFC Championship game, where they will face a rematch against the Los Angeles Rams in the Superdome next weekend.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Pats Honor Daughter of Chargers’ Brandon Mebane]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:16:25 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_02_13.Still003.jpg

The New England Patriots honored the daughter of Los Angeles Chargers player Brandon Mebane before Sunday’s game. Makenna Mebane died on Jan. 3 at the age of 7 weeks.

<![CDATA[Blackhawks Assign Davidson to Rockford]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 15:07:56 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1045138512.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks made a roster move on Sunday morning, assigning defenseman Brandon Davidson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

Davidson, who has one assist in 10 games with the Blackhawks, has been dealing with injuries at times this season and has struggled to get into the lineup as well. He will head down to Rockford, where he will be able to get more regular playing time with the IceHogs.

The move is seen as a precursor to the Blackhawks potentially activating defenseman Gustav Forsling from injured reserve. Forsling has been out since early January with an upper torso injury, but head coach Jeremy Colliton said that the injury wasn’t a significant one.

If Forsling is brought up by the Blackhawks, they will be carrying eight defensemen again, as Slater Koekkoek could potentially make his team debut this week after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Blackhawks will next be in action on Monday night when they head to New Jersey to take on the Devils. Coverage starts at 6 p.m. and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphins Legend, Super Bowl Champion Bob Kuechenberg Dies]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2019 11:42:10 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_071216035015.jpg

The Miami Dolphins on Sunday said that former player Bob Kuechenberg has died.

Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl player, was drafted in 1969 by the Philadelphia Eagles but would quit, play semi-pro football briefly and then spend the rest of his career with the Dolphins – where he helped the team win two Super Bowl NFL championships under head coach Don Shula.

The 71-year-old former NFL guard attended the University of Notre Dame. He played nearly 200 games in the NFL.

The Dolphins confirmed Kuechenberg died Saturday morning. A cause of death has not yet been released.

Kuechenberg started in every game in the 1972 undefeated season for the Dolphins.

Shula released a statement on Sunday in which he called on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's selection committee to immortalize Kuechenberg in Canton.

"I was sorry to learn of the passing of Bob Kuechenberg, who was not only one of the best players I ever coached, but one of the toughest as well. He was one of the key performers on our championship teams, leading by example every time he stepped on the field," Shula wrote. "That was especially true in Super Bowl VIII, when he dominated Alan Page the entire game despite playing with a broken arm, a performance that was one of the keys to our victory over the Vikings."

Shula said that Kuechenberg was only called for holding 15 times over his 14-year career.

"You could count on Kooch to play well and to play hard," Shula added. "He gave you everything he had every single snap, and that dependability extended throughout his career, missing only a few games during that time."

"I've coached a lot of Hall of Fame players, including a number of offensive linemen, and Kooch was as good as any of them," Shula wrote. "I hope one day he gets that ultimate recognition by being enshrined in Canton – it's an honor long overdue and one he certainly deserves."

Miami Dolphins columnist Andy Cohen wrote that Kuechenberg was "a combination of toughness and resolve, smarts and tenacity, passion and grit."

"There’s a reason he was one of Don Shula’s all-time favorites. They just didn’t make them any tougher than Robert John Kuechenberg," Cohen wrote.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Reports: Bulls Agree to Re-Worked Deal With Boylen]]> Sat, 12 Jan 2019 18:23:06 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1082611784.jpg

In a move sure to stir strong feelings among Chicago Bulls fans, the team has reportedly agreed to a reworked deal with head coach Jim Boylen.

Boylen, who currently has a 5-13 record with the team since taking over for Fred Hoiberg earlier this season, will get a pay bump on his contract, and the deal will still keep him in Chicago through the end of the 2019-20 season, according to the Chicago Sun-Times and the Athletic.

Boylen’s tenure has been marked by several big controversies, including the decision to take Jabari Parker out of the rotation, and well-publicized pushback from players over the way the coach conducted practices.

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The Bulls will continue their road trip on Saturday night when they take on the Utah Jazz.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[We're All Cody Parkey: No Winners at Field Goal Challenge]]> Sat, 12 Jan 2019 16:31:45 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Field+Goal+Posts+1-12_35212832.jpg

A large group of Chicago Bears fans braved the cold and headed to the Goose Island Brewery on Saturday to see if they could do what Cody Parkey was unable to do: hit a 43-yard field goal.

After countless attempts and some truly hilarious screw-ups, no one was able to knock through the field goal that would have won them a truly remarkable prize.

“Thank you all so much for braving the cold and snow for today’s event. We had a blast and hope you did too,” the brewery tweeted. “Also, not a single field goal kick attempt actually went in.”

If anyone had been able to make the kick, they would have won airfare, a hotel room, and free tickets to any NFL game they wanted to attend next season.

Originally, the prize was going to be a year’s supply of beer, but that idea ended up getting nixed, as it would have violated an Illinois law that prohibits breweries from giving away beer for free.

<![CDATA[Adrian Amos Gets Big Fine for Hit on Ertz]]> Sat, 12 Jan 2019 16:07:24 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1076000302.jpg

Chicago Bears safety Adrian Amos has received a significant fine for his hit on Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz during last week’s NFC Wild Card Game at Soldier Field.

Amos, who was flagged for 15 yards on the play, was fined $26,739 for the hit, according to the NFL Network.

The fine was the first levied against Amos during the 2018 season, and was the second-largest fine issued to a Bears player this season, following the $33,425 fine that Akiem Hicks got for making contact with an official during a Week 4 game against the Buccaneers.

Another fine was issued for an incident stemming from the game, as Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett was fined $10,026 for punching Bears lineman Kyle Long during a fracas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pagano Hired as Bears New Defensive Coordinator]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 19:46:33 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-900094948.jpg

After just one day, the Chicago Bears have already found their new defensive coordinator, as former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has been hired by the team.

Pagano, who coached the Colts for six seasons, will take over for former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who accepted a new job as head coach of the Denver Broncos earlier this week.

“We are excited to add Chuck to our staff as defensive coordinator,” Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said. “He has successful experience at many different levels in this league and he is a great teacher with an aggressive mentality that fits our style of football. He is a man of high character and has a passion for the game that will no doubt add to the culture we have already started building at Halas Hall.”

Pagano led the Colts to a 53-43 record during his tenure, but was fired at the end of the 2017 season. 

He will be taking over a Bears defense that was one of the league's best, largely thanks to the efforts of Fangio. 

Pagano has served as an NFL coach for several teams, including as a position coach and a defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens before accepting a job as Colts head coach. 

The coach became a national inspiration after battling leukemia during the 2012 season. After a leave of absence, he returned to the team for the final game of the regular season, and then coached the team in the NFL playoffs. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Avoid Arbitration With Abreu, Rodon]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 19:00:48 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-942057496.jpg

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms with four arbitration-eligible players on contracts, including first baseman Jose Abreu.

The team announced the signings on Friday afternoon, and the squad will not have to go to arbitration with any of their players this offseason.

Abreu agreed to a one-year deal that will pay him $16 million in the coming season. The first baseman hit 22 home runs and drove in 78 RBI last season, and was named to the MLB All-Star Game for the second time in his career.

The White Sox also agreed to a one-year, $7.325 million deal with relief pitcher Alex Colome, a $4.2 million pact with pitcher Carlos Rodon, and a $4.625 million deal with infielder Yolmer Sanchez.

The team had previously agreed to a contract with outfielder Leury Garcia.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Trade Jan Rutta to Lightning]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:16:28 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-900605778.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Jan Rutta to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a swap of depth blue liners Friday.

The Blackhawks will also send a seventh round pick to the Lightning as part of the deal. In exchange, the Blackhawks will receive defenseman Slater Koekkoek and a fifth round pick in the 2019 draft, the team announced.

Rutta scored two goals and registered four assists in 23 games with the Blackhawks this season. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Meanwhile, Koekkoek has five goals and nine assists in 85 career NHL games since being drafted in 2012. He is owed a cap hit of $865,000 this season, and will become a free agent at season’s end.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Bryant, Baez Agree to Deals With Cubs]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:02:27 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-833178992.jpg

Chicago Cubs infielders Kris Bryant and Javier Baez will both get significant raises for next season after both players reportedly agreed to new contracts with the team.

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Baez will make $5.2 million next season after reaching a settlement prior to Friday’s arbitration filing deadline. That amount will represent a raise of $4.6 million for the infielder, who was the runner-up in National League MVP voting last season.

As for Bryant, the third baseman will make just under $13 million next season, getting a pay raise of $2 million. Bryant is still under Cubs control through the end of the 2021 season, but will be hoping to bounce back after an injury-plagued 2018 campaign.

Earlier Friday, five other Cubs players received settlements from the team, meaning that no Cubs players will have to exchange arbitration numbers with the club.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Bears Interview Pagano for D.C. Job]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 14:29:50 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-900094948.jpg

The Chicago Bears have moved quickly to interview candidates to replace former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and they went outside the organization for at least one of those interviews.

According to a report from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears have interviewed former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano as they seek to replace Fangio.

Pagano, who was fired by the Colts after the 2017 season, posted a 53-43 record in six seasons at the helm, but is now looking to get back into the coaching game, having been linked to several different openings.

Pagano served as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens for a season before being hired by the Colts in 2012. He has also coached position groups with the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns during his NFL career.

The Bears also interviewed defensive backs coach Ed Donatell for the position on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Other candidates, including Todd Bowles and Vance Joseph, have already agreed to deals with other teams, as Bowles will serve as defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay and Joseph will head to Arizona to work with Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: White Sox Avoid Arbitration With Colome]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 14:17:23 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1005368364.jpg

The Chicago White Sox have reportedly avoided arbitration with relief pitcher Alex Colome, signing him to a one-year contract.

Colome, whom the White Sox acquired in November in a trade that sent Omar Narvaez to the Seattle Mariners, will be paid just over $7.3 million next season, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

In a total of 70 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners, Colome registered a 3.04 ERA, striking out 72 batters in 68 innings of work.

The White Sox have yet to reach deals with starting pitcher Carlos Rodon and infielders Jose Abreu and Yolmer Sanchez. They agreed to a one-year deal with Leury Garcia earlier this offseason to avoid arbitration.

The MLB deadline for players to agree to deals with teams before exchanging arbitration figures was at noon on Friday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Agree to Deals With Arbitration-Eligible Players]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 14:03:16 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1003947266.jpg

The Chicago Cubs have reportedly avoided arbitration with a quartet of players at Friday’s deadline, signing them all to one-year contracts.  

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Addison Russell inked a one-year pact with the Cubs that will pay him $3.4 million for the 2019 season, and the infielder can earn an additional $600,000 worth of bonuses if he remains on the team’s roster for 150 days.

Russell will serve a 40-game suspension to start the 2019 season, meaning that if he were to miss any additional time due to disciplinary issues, he would not qualify for the bonuses in his contract.

According to multiple reports, Kyle Schwarber settled with the Cubs on a one-year contract that will pay him $3.39 million for the upcoming season. The outfielder hit 26 home runs and drove in 61 RBI for the Cubs in 510 plate appearances last season, and will hope to boost his power numbers even more as he enters his arbitration-eligible seasons.

Pitcher Mike Montgomery settled with the Cubs at $2.44 million for next season, according to The Athletic and the Chicago Sun-Times. Montgomery appeared in 38 games and started 19 for the Cubs in 2018, posting a 5-6 record and a 3.99 ERA for the team.

Montgomery likely won’t start the season in the team’s rotation, as the Cubs opted to keep Cole Hamels and will get back Yu Darvish for the upcoming year.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the Cubs agreed to a $1.5 million contract with relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. The hurler posted a 3-2 record and a 2.60 ERA in 58 appearances for the Cubs, striking out 67 batters.

Earlier Friday the Cubs had reportedly settled on a contract with pitcher Kyle Hendricks, as the hurler will make nearly $7.5 million next season.

The Cubs still have not reached contract agreements with third baseman Kris Bryant or infielder Javier Baez, leaving open the possibility that the sides could go to arbitration as spring training nears.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parkey Shares What He's Done Since Infamous Kick]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 08:57:39 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1090674158.jpg

Cody Parkey says he went into his now-infamous kick in the Bears' final game of the season with "a lot of confidence."

After all, he was three-for-three in field goals by that point in the playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

"I just went down and I thought I hit a pretty good kick, it felt good off my foot," he told Today in an interview Friday. "Looking up and then I saw it hit the upright and hit the crossbar, I'm like, 'Surely it'll go in.' Unfortunately, it bounced toward me."

The NFL has changed its ruling on the 43-yard field goal attempt now known as the "double doink," changing the play to a blocked attempt. The change was made Monday via a stat correction, with officials stating the field goal was blocked by Eagles player Treyvon Hester. 

Parkey has been the subject of much criticism throughout the season and even more since the team was eliminated from the playoffs.

The kick prompted a flurry of social media reaction, both supportive and negative, and Eagles fans began sending Parkey money on Venmo thanking him for missing the kick. 

"Obviously I’m disappointed that I let the fans, my teammates and the whole organization down, but I’ll continue to keep my head held high because football is what I do, it’s not who I am," he said, noting that he has not been on social media since the end of the game. 

"I feel worse than anybody about missing that kick," he added. 

Despite criticism for the kick, Parkey has been praised for his postgame reaction as he prayed with players on the field and addressed the media following what was undoubtedly a challenging moment. 

"One of the coolest things in my opinion is just the prayer that we do cause you get done battling the other team for 60 minutes and we all join in prayer," he told Today. "We’re just praying for safety and health and that the team gets home safely on the plane and stuff." 

Parkey's teammates quickly came to his defense against critics.

"A lot of teammates stood up for me from what I heard and that just shows you what kind of team we have," he said.

He also had some major athletes in his corner defending him, including former Chicago Bull Dwyane Wade and Eagles kicker Jake Elliott, who is also from suburban Chicago. 

So what did he do once he left the field that day? Parkey continued his postgame tradition with his wife Colleen as the pair drove to Florida, where he is from. 

"Just gave us time to reflect and realize how blessed we are for the life that we live," he said, noting that the pair didn't discuss the kick on their hours-long drive.

"The kick didn’t go in and we’re getting through that, but just watching his character and everything shine through, which obviously stands above football in my eyes, so, super proud of him," Colleen Parkey told Today.  

Parkey signed a four-year contract with the Bears before the season, but his future with the team could be up in the air after the missed kick. It will be one of many questions that General Manager Ryan Pace and company will have to answer as the offseason begins.

Still, it appears Parkey's allegiance lies with his team. When asked if he's rooting for either the Saints or the Eagles this weekend, he said he is "neutral." 

"I’m a Bears fan through and through regardless," he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Report: Cubs, Hendricks Avoid Salary Arbitration]]> Fri, 11 Jan 2019 00:32:28 -0600 https://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubsAP_18266677009670.jpg

The Chicago Cubs are going to have to make deals with numerous arbitration-eligible players this offseason, but they reportedly got one deal done to get that process started.

According to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, the Cubs and pitcher Kyle Hendricks have agreed to a one-year deal that will pay the pitcher just over $7.4 million for the 2019 season, thereby avoiding salary arbitration.

Hendricks, who is eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season, will make $7.405 million in the coming year.

In 33 starts last season, Hendricks posted a 3.44 ERA and a 14-11 record for the Cubs, striking out 161 batters in 199 innings of work.

Hendricks’ new salary marks a pay raise of over $3 million for the coming season.

The Cubs still have several players they will need to agree to terms with, including third baseman Kris Bryant and shortstop Javier Baez. Outfielder Kyle Schwarber and infielder Addison Russell are among the six Cubs players that are arbitration eligible.

Photo Credit: Nam Y. Huh/AP]]>