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Chalk Talk

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Chalk Talk: Which Bears players to watch in camp?

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.

Other than Justin Fields (the obvious answer), which player or players will you most closely be watching in training camp?
Neal P.
Elmhurst, Illinois

My main focus in training camp and the preseason will be on the offensive line, for multiple reasons. It's obviously a key component of the team, but it was impossible to evaluate during non-contact offseason practices and there are several players in contention for starting jobs. I'll especially be interested in monitoring the tackle position, where the Bears will have three young players vying for two spots. In the final six offseason practices, rookie fifth-round pick Braxton Jones lined up at left tackle and 2021 fifth-round choice Larry Borom played right tackle. 2021 second-round selection Teven Jenkins is also in the mix. I've heard radio analyst Tom Thayer suggest that Jenkins could be moved to right guard if he isn't projected to land one of the tackle jobs (and no one knows more about playing right guard than Thayer). Could Lucas Patrick, who has worked at center, and Sam Mustipher, who has lined up at right guard, swap spots? The Bears intend to start their best five offensive linemen, so all options seem to be on the table—which should create some intense competition this summer.

Is it true that when Gale Sayers scored six touchdowns against the 49ers in 1965 he had a chance for a seventh? Can you please share those details?
George P.
Homewood, Illinois

As a Bears rookie, Gale Sayers tied an NFL record by scoring six touchdowns in a 61-20 rout of the 49ers on Dec. 12, 1965, at muddy Wrigley Field. Late in the game, the Bears reached the San Francisco 2. But backup Jon Arnett got the ball and scored on a two-yard run. Here's what Sayers wrote about the scenario in his autobiography "My Life and Times:" "[George] Halas had already taken me out of the game with such a big lead. I had no problem with that, even though the Wrigley Fans began chanting, 'We want Sayers! We want Sayers!" Halas actually gave Sayers a final opportunity to add a seventh touchdown, inserting him to return a punt late in the contest. Sayers wrote that he caught the punt "on our 19 and saw a bit of daylight. My blockers had opened up a lane to the left, then I cut back and slipped a little bit before they dragged me down. Just think, if I hadn't slipped, and if I had just another 18 inches of daylight … maybe I could have scored my seventh touchdown." In what Halas described as "the greatest performance ever by one man on a football field," Sayers produced TDs on an 80-yard screen pass; runs of 21, 7, 50 and 1 yards; and an 85-yard punt return.

What is the most memorable field goal you've ever seen the Bears make?
Ross P.
Libertyville, Illinois

My first memories of watching the Bears as a kid go back to the 1970s, so I've seen a lot of significant field goals. The most memorable one to me remains Bob Thomas' 28-yarder with :09 left in overtime in the 1977 season finale on an ice-covered field at the Meadowlands. It gave the Bears a thrilling 12-9 win over the Giants, putting them in the playoffs for the first time since they won the 1963 NFL championship. A close second is Robbie Gould's 48-yarder in overtime that gave the 2006 Bears a divisional playoff victory over the Seahawks at Soldier Field, sending them to the NFC title game, which they won to advance to Super Bowl XLI. Another one of my favorite all-time field goals was Kevin Butler's 52-yarder as time expired in a 1987 game in Green Bay that erased a 24-23 deficit and gave the Bears an exhilarating 26-24 victory over the Packers.

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

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