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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: What is best trade in Bears history?

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

I thought the trade for Jakeem Grant was great, but then I wondered what do you think is the best Bears trade of all time?
Josh S.
Buffalo Grove, Illinois

I agree with you that the midseason acquisition of Jakeem Grant Sr. from the Dolphins was an excellent move. He ranks second in the NFL in punt returns with a 12.3-yard average and has contributed on offense as well. In my opinion, the best trade in Bears history occurred on the first day of the 1964 draft when they dealt their second- and fourth-round selections to the Steelers in exchange for Pittsburgh's first-round choice the following year. With the picks they acquired from the Bears, the Steelers chose Notre Dame receiver Jim Kelly at No. 28 and Jackson State tackle Ben McGee at No. 51. Kelly played just one season for the Steelers, catching 10 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown. McGee had a more successful career, being voted to two Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Steelers. But the Bears spent the No. 3 pick in the 1965 draft that they had acquired from Pittsburgh on Illinois linebacker Dick Butkus. The Chicago native was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first eight NFL seasons, was selected All-NFL seven times and is still considered, arguably, the most ferocious defensive player of all time. Butkus was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979 and had his No. 51 jersey retired by the Bears in 1994.

With Jakeem Grant in concussion protocol, do you think the Bears will stick with Damiere Byrd as their punt returner against the Seahawks after he muffed a punt Monday night versus the Vikings?
Michael P.
Illinois

Bears coach Matt Nagy expressed confidence this week in Damiere Byrd and cited his experience as a punt returner, which may lead you to believe that the Bears would stick with Byrd in that role if Jakeem Grant is unable to play. But Nagy also mentioned rookie Dazz Newsome as a possibility as well. At North Carolina, Newsome averaged 11.1 yards on 48 punt returns, including a 75-yard touchdown against Syracuse in 2018. Byrd, meanwhile, has returned punts and kickoffs throughout his six-year NFL career, previously with the Panthers (2016-18), Cardinals (2019) and Patriots (2020) before joining the Bears this year. Here's what Nagy said about Byrd's muffed punt and who would handle the return role against the Seahawks: "It's unfortunate what happened the other day and I know Damiere, more than anybody, wants that back, but I have a lot of confidence in Damiere. He's done it before. We also have some other players, too, whether it's a guy like Dazz Newsome, that have been back there. We'll look at everything, but it's too bad that that happened last weekend because what Damiere has done for us this year in so many different roles, I appreciate that."

With the NFL adding a 17th game and 18th week to the season this year, I'm assuming that the Bears' Jan. 9 finale in Minnesota will be their latest in team history. What was previously the latest season finale they've played?
Ross P.
Palatine, Illinois

You are correct that this season's Jan. 9 finale against the Vikings will be the latest finale the Bears have played. The previous one was on Jan. 6 to close the 2001 campaign, but that was only because Week 2 of the season was postponed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and tacked into the end of the schedule. In that finale on Jan. 6, by the way, the Bears clinched the NFC Central championship with a 33-13 win over the Jaguars at Soldier Field.

Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.

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