Fox: Bears’ anthem approach works best
Bears coach John Fox said he’s “very impressed and proud” with the way his players have linked arms during the national anthem the last three games.
“I think all of us are better off when we’re united in whatever we do, regardless of what the issues are,” Fox said Thursday. “When things gets divided, you know, both sides throw gas on it. I don’t think that helps anything. Love goes way further than hate, at least in my experience.”
An NFL memo distributed to teams this week stated commissioner Roger Goodell’s preference that players stand for the anthem. Asked whether any of his players asked him to kneel, Fox was vague: “We have conversations. I don’t know that we really directed them one way or the other.”
The protests began last year as a statement against racial and social inequality. The issue was further politicized before the third game of this season when President Donald Trump first began bemoaning players protesting during the anthem.
“I think we’re football coaches and football players and football staff people — I don’t think anyone is running for office anywhere,” Fox said. “We’re here to play football. I’d rather all of our focus be on that.”
Long sits, Cooper returns
Guard Kyle Long missed practice Thursday, but Fox characterized it as a maintenance day for Long’s right ankle, which he had surgery on last November.
“We’re just trying to make sure he gets to Sunday, you know,” Fox said. “It’s not a new injury or anything.”
There was one piece of good news: Cornerback Marcus Cooper practiced for the first time since Friday after recovering from back spasms. He was limited, as was wide receiver Markus Wheaton ( groin), center Hroniss Grasu ( hand) and inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski ( pectoral).
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio didn’t sound optimistic that Kwiatkoski would play Sunday.
“He’s only partaken in some scout- team work this week,” Fangio said.
Punter Pat O’Donnell has a perfect passer rating after his 38yard touchdown throw to Benny Cunningham on a fake Monday night against the Vikings.
“We can’t improve his passer rating, I guess,” special- teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. “But hopefully we don’t hurt it at some point.”
The fake gave the Ravens one more thing to scout, although their special- teams coordinator, Jerry Rosburg told reporters he doesn’t anticipate that play because “they shot one of their bullets.”
“Pat can throw the ball, though,” Rodgers said. “There’s certain things that return teams do, that defenses do, that when you have a guy who can throw, it certainly opens up the book on how you’re able to react to those.”
This and that
Christian Jones, who might have to start at inside linebacker again Sunday, looked good against the Vikings, Fangio said.
“He wasn’t perfect by any means, but I think he’s growing and improving,” Fangio said.
A baseball nut, Fangio had advice for the Cubs in advance of Thursday night’s game: “[ Anthony] Rizzo and [ Kris] Bryant need to get the termites out of their bats.”
Follow me on Twitter @ patrickfinley.
“Love goes way further than hate,” says John Fox ( center), linking arms with his players in Green Bay.