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.
When do the Bears report to training camp?
The Bears will report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais for training camp on Thursday, July 24, with the first practice slated for Friday, July 25. The practice schedule with exact dates and times will be released at a later date, but I can tell you that workouts in Bourbonnais are free and open to the public. This will be the Bears' 13th summer conducting camp at ONU.
I was under the impression that the Lions had to host the Bills or Dolphins on Thanksgiving and the Bears weren't a candidate to play in that game. Can you explain how that changed?
The Lions' traditional Thanksgiving home game has alternated between CBS and FOX every year with CBS televising Detroit's contests against AFC opponents and FOX broadcasting games versus NFC squads. It's CBS' turn this year, which led to the belief that the Lions' opponent would be either the Bills or Dolphins, the two AFC opponents they're playing in 2014. But for the first time this year, the NFL has introduced a concept known as "crossflexing," which enables the league to move up to seven FOX games to CBS and up to seven CBS contests to FOX annually. So that's how it's possible for the Lions to host an NFC team in the Bears on Thanksgiving this year.
I don't think it's fair that the Bears have to play on the road six times in an eight-game span from Weeks 2-10 this year. Why did the NFL do that to them?
There was a very interesting article in Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on SportsIllustrated.com about the challenges facing the NFL schedule-makers. Looking at the Bears, they said that they couldn't schedule home games for Week 2 due to a NASCAR race and PGA golf tournament in town, Week 6 because of the Chicago Marathon which starts and ends at Soldier Field, and Week 9 because there's a rugby game at Soldier Field on Saturday night. It's definitely going to be a tough stretch, but the good news is that the Bears will play three straight and five of six at home late in the season.