Like scores of others on social media and the Internet, Marc Trestman recently did the "Ice Bucket Challenge" to help raise awareness and money in the fight against ALS. But the cause has special meaning to the Bears coach.
Tony Proudfoot, who Trestman described as a "very close mentor" during the coach's tenure in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes, passed away from ALS in 2010 at the age of 61.
"I saw what that disease can do and whatever little we can do to help hopefully will go a long way in finding a cure and research to help those who are in need," Trestman said.
Proudfoot played in the CFL from 1971-82, winning two Grey Cup championships with the Alouettes and being selected to two all-star teams.
"He was a great player up there and when I got into the league he became a friend and really did help me," Trestman said. "He used to write me notes on the league and the rules and how to learn the league. He became a close friend and I saw him pass while I was up there, so the disease does resonate."
Room for improvement: When the Bears waived Chad Rempel Monday, it left Brandon Hartson as the only long-snapper on the roster. But that doesn't mean the first-year pro is taking his foot off the accelerator.
"I'm not even close to where I need to be," Hartson said. "I've got to keep working hard, keep on grinding and doing what I do best. I can always improve on something, so I've got to stay hungry. Even though the job looks like it's mine, it's definitely not mine yet."
Hartson originally signed with the Bears last August and participated in three preseason games. But he knew his days were numbered, given that long-snapper Patrick Mannelly had returned for a team-record 16th season, and Hartson was waived before the regular-season opener.
A year later, Hartson is the leading candidate to replace Mannelly, who appeared in a Bears record 245 games after arriving in the sixth round of the 1998 draft.
"I respect him 100 percent," Hartson said. "He's a great guy. He's helped me out a lot. He's just been there. He's talked to me and showed me some techniques."
Ready to roll: After signing with the Bears Monday, Darius Reynaud is eager to begin competing with Micheal Spurlock, Chris Williams and others for a return specialist position.
Reynaud has appeared in 48 NFL games over five seasons with the Vikings (2008-09), Giants (2010), Titans (2012-13) and Jets (2013). The 5-9, 208-pounder has averaged 9.7 yards with two touchdowns on 102 punt returns and 22.6 yards with one TD on 104 kickoff returns.
"I've still got a lot to show," Reynaud said. "God has blessed me; I've never had a serious injury. So I still have a lot left in the tank. I still feel like my high school days."
Two more spots: The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to expand practice squads for the 2014 and 2015 seasons from a maximum of eight players to 10 players.
In addition, players must spend at least six games—up from the current three—on a practice squad for that season to count as one of the player's three eligible seasons of practice squad service.