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Will Kyle Long earn starting job in camp?

Posted Jun 25, 2013

Larry discusses if Kyle Long will win a starting position this summer, if the Bears have ever won a championship the same year as another Chicago sports team and Bears players who have worn the No. 89 jersey that will be retired to honor Mike Ditka.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Will Kyle Long earn a starting job in training camp?

Bob K.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Only time will tell. Rookie guard Kyle Long will definitely have an opportunity to earn a starting position this summer in training camp and the preseason, but it won't be easy. The first-round draft pick will have to make up for lost time after missing most of the offseason program due to a rule that prohibits rookies from participating until after their college class graduates. He'll also have to beat out either veteran free-agent acquisition Matt Slauson or promising second-year pro James Brown, both of whom impressed Marc Trestman during the offseason program. Here's what the Bears coach said about the two guards when minicamp concluded June 13: "I think they've progressed each and every day. Matt's been solid. He's played a lot of football in this league and has been solid. He's solid mentally with the offense. He's a great communicator on the field. He's a quiet communicator. He's in the right place and we feel very good about that. And James has ascended. He's locked in and he's grown as a player. He's got to face a heck of a defensive line every single day, and that's a good way to get better." Of course with all that being said, the Bears didn't draft Long in the first round to have him sit on the bench. So the plan is for him to start eventually. The only question is when that will be.

How many championships have the Bears won after another Chicago team won a championship in the same year?

From Donald E. on Twitter

In the years the Bears won their nine NFL championships (1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963 and 1985), no other Chicago pro sports team also won a title. The closest that came to happening was when the Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup championship to cap the 1933-34 season several months after the Bears had won their third NFL title. The Bears' 1963 championship did come the same year that Loyola University won the NCAA men's basketball tournament. To this day, Loyola remains the only school in Illinois to have accomplished that feat. Here's a depressing stat for Chicago baseball fans: Since the Bears were born 93 years ago, the White Sox have won one World Series and the Cubs have won none.

I know that Matt Spaeth wore Mike Ditka's No. 89 jersey, but I was wondering who else did.

Jared K.
Elmhurst, Illinois

The No. 89 jersey that the Bears will retire this season in honor of Hall of Famer Mike Ditka has also been worn by John Hoffman (1949-56), Les Cowan (1951), John Aveni (1959-60), Terry Stoepel (1967), Bob Wallace (1968-72), Mel Tom (1973-75), James Scott (1976-80, 82), Ken Margerum (1981), Mitch Krenk (1984), Keith Ortego (1985-87), Will Johnson (1987), Brent Novoselsky (1988), James Coley (1990), Ryan Wetnight (1993-99), Dustin Lyman (2000-04) and Spaeth (2011-12).

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