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.
Which former Bears player who is eligible for the Hall of Fame do you feel is most deserving of the honor?
You could certainly make a case for defensive end Ed Sprinkle, who terrorized opponents during 12 seasons with the Bears from 1944-55. But I'm going to go with center Jay Hilgenberg, who anchored one of the best offensive lines in NFL history for 11 seasons from 1981-91. Hilgenberg was a dominant player at his position, starting seven straight Pro Bowls from 1985-91 and helping the Bears win the Super Bowl in 1985 and lead the NFL in rushing for four straight years from 1983-86. There have been five true centers who played in the Super Bowl era inducted into the Hall of Fame and only Mike Webster was voted to more Pro Bowls than Hilgenberg with nine.
With Manny Ramirez retiring, do you think the Bears will sign another interior lineman?
Glyn Ellyn, Illinois
General manager Ryan Pace is always looking to upgrade the roster at every position. But even with Manny Ramirez's retirement, the Bears are still pretty deep at center and guard. Kyle Long looks to be locked in at right guard and his former Oregon teammate, Hroniss Grasu, will get the first opportunity to win the starting job at center. That leaves veteran Ted Larsen and rookie second-round pick Cody Whitehair to battle at left guard, with the loser of that competition likely serving as a competent backup inside. Plus it seems like there's always a young player or two who stands out in training camp once the pads come on and earns a roster spot as a reserve.
Have the Bears ever opened a season in Texas like they do this year against the Houston Texans?
No, this year will be the first time the Bears start a season in the Lone Star State. They've opened two seasons against a team from Texas, but both of those games were versus the Cowboys at Soldier Field. (The Bears lost 20-17 in 1973 and won 22-6 on Monday Night Football in 1996.)