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« Rose Defers to LeBron, Wade on All-Star Night Cubs Preview: Part Six -- Carlos Pena »

Bears Mon Feb 21 2011

Short Hops: Ex-Bears Safety Worried About Brain Damage Before Suicide

dave duerson.jpg

Dave Duerson - Tribune file photo

It looks for all the world that Dave Duerson, the former Bears safety who killed himself Thursday, might have been among the growing number of American football players bludgeoned into brain damage. At the very least, he worried he might be, telling his family to donate his brain to ongoing research about football players and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

***

Joakim Noah will be back in the lineup when the Bulls return from the all-star break Wednesday at Toronto, coach Tom Thibodeau said today. If you had any doubt how important that is, ESPN.com had a great piece over the weekend about Chicago's team defense, as explained by Taj Gibson:

So much of what Thibodeau runs is predicated on big men directing the defense, because they're the ones who have to make tough decisions. A guard has to run through a screen -- and that's no picnic when the guy setting that screen is 6-foot-10, 285 pounds. But big men have infinitely more choices to consider.

"[Thibodeau] says, 'The big man is never wrong,'" Gibson said. "We negotiate with the guards to go over screens, go under, sag back. And he lets us play free ball with it. We just go out there and make play calls."

***

As White Sox spring training kicks into high gear in Glendale, Ariz., Rob Neyer highlights one of the secrets to their success in recent years: preventing injuries. It's not dumb luck.

***

Just on the other side of the Phoenix metro area, the Cubs have a new Opening Day starter, Ryan Dempster, replacing six straight years of Carlos Zambrano; and a new radio color analyst, Keith Moreland, replacing the late Ron Santo. And if Michael Wilbon has his way, they'll be breaking in Albert Pujols as the new face of the franchise this time next year.

 
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