On that note, today's post will be a relative quickie. Football season may be over, but the off-season madness is in full swing: free agents are signing left and right as draft preparation is reaching a fever pitch. Players are signing on the dotted line with new teams as other guys are being shown the door.
However, one guy that won't be going anywhere in the foreseeable future is the appropriately rushing Bears running back, Jordan Howard:
Howard burst onto the scene as a rookie out of Indiana University last season, quickly seizing the starting job after Jeremy Langford injured his ankle. All Jordan did from there was set the Bears' newbie record for rushing yards - 1,313 yds - which was good for second in the NFL in 2016. In total, Howard averaged 5.2 yards per carry and ran for six touchdowns over the course of the season. It appears as though the Monsters of the Midway have found their next great running back, which might be the saving grace of an otherwise dismal year.
The card you see above came to me from this month's Sports Illustrated for Kids, by way of their monthly panel of perforated oddballs. This marks the first "true" Bears card of the promising youngster to reach my Bears All-Time Roster Collection. I have to say, I absolutely love how the running back is literally leaping out of the frame on this card. It feels symbolic, seeing as Jordan burst out onto the scene in such a large way.
Now, I say "true" Bears card because of this super-shiny gem that Trevor from Bump and Run Football Cards sent my way a few months back:
Here we have one of Jordan Howard's true rookie cards, courtesy of Panini Prestige. This foil board Extra Points parallel is quite easy on the eyes; but, while it lists the blossoming star with the Chicago Bears, it pictures him with the Indiana Hoosiers. Of course, this discrepancy is to be expected, seeing as he was only drafted shortly before these cards went to press. However, I still prefer my BATRC representatives to dress the part, as well.
With that in mind, the SI for Kids will supplant the Prestige, but I'm still very much happy to have both in hand.
While this running back won't be leaving Chicago any time soon, plenty of other fresh faces have been brought into the Windy City since the end of the backyard tire fire that was the 2016 season. For example:
Markus Wheaton and Prince Amukamara represent a pair of veteran upgrades brought in to stabilize a roster that will otherwise slant rather young... or at least SHOULD be young. After all, the franchise is supposedly working on a rebuild. We'll see how that goes.
At any rate, Wheaton is a nice reclamation project, wide receiver who was hurt for most of 2016, but was quite effective for Pittsburgh previously. With Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal departing in free agency and Kevin White's health being anything but guaranteed, look for Markus to see a lot of action. On the other side of the ball, Prince was a Super Bowl champ with the Giants in 2014 and looks to slot in as a starter at the cornerback position. This lucky repack pull will get the job done for my Bears binder.
Other big names to come to town include QB Mike Glennon, DB Quintin Demps, TE Dion Sims, DL John Jenkins, among others. At the same time, several other players are moving the opposite way, like the ever-divisive Jay Cutler and, on a much less significant note, Joique Bell:
Okay, actually, Joique had his "bell" rung by the Bears back in October, but I needed some kind of segue. Otherwise, anarchy wins.
Bell was supposed to serve as depth at the running back position when Langford was lost. It quickly became apparent that the former Lions starter was not needed (thanks again, Howard), after four games with just three rushing yards. Accordingly, he was cut right around Halloween time and eventually returned to the team with which he's pictured on this 2014 Strata single. Nevertheless, I was enthused to find this scrapheap signing nestled within the same thrift store repack which produced all of this fun stuff.
A Bear is a Bear, no matter how brief or unproductive.
You tell 'em, Horton
In the meantime, I've got some more chores to get done and I've got to go meet someone in order to tell some gold-painted wine bottles. I will not miss ANY of this wedding decor that been stacked in the back corner of our basement for months, that's for certain.
See ya next time!