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Trubisky ranks sixth in NFL jersey sales


Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has the sixth best-selling jersey in the NFL this week, according to Dick's Sporting Goods.

The top five are Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.

Expectations are high for Trubisky in his second season after the Bears hired offensive-minded head coach Matt Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich and added several key weapons in free agency and the draft.

Running men: On, former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew ranks the Bears' Jordan Howard as the league's seventh-best running back.

"Even with a plethora of offensive weapons thanks to some offseason additions, the Bears offense still must run through Howard," Jones-Drew wrote. "After rushing for at least 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons, Howard will be a key piece for first-year head coach Matt Nagy and will have to carry Chicago late in the season if the squad is going to make a playoff push."

Howard is the only player in Bears history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. He ranked second in the league with 1,313 in 2016 and was sixth with 1,122 in 2017.

Running backs Jones-Drew ranks ahead of Howard are the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell, the Rams' Todd Gurley, the Cardinals' David Johnson, the Bills' LeSean McCoy, the Cowboys' Elliott and the Saints' Alvin Kamara.

Just a kid: Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports ranks Howard as the 25th best player in the NFL under the age of 25. The Bears running back is just 23 years old.

"He's been a productive player for two straight seasons," Wagner-McGough wrote. "Drafted in the fifth round in 2016, he's rushed for the third-most rushing yards since entering the league. Only Ezekiel Elliott and Le'Veon Bell have more rushing yards in that span. Howard is also averaging 4.6 yards per carry in his career. For the sake of comparison, LeSean McCoy has averaged 4.6 yards per carry over the past two seasons. Also consider that Howard has managed to piece together two good seasons even though he's operated within John Fox's "basic" offense. Howard should thrive in Matt Nagy's system that's designed for the modern era.

"Really, the only knock against Howard is his inability to serve as a capable pass catcher, which is why he ranks so low on this list. It's almost why I left him off entirely. But in the end, Howard's contributions as a bruising runner were too much for me to ignore. He's a damn good player, if not a perfect one."

Joining forces: The Chicago Sports Alliance—comprised of the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox—will host youth and mentors from "Choose 2 Change" along with police officers from the Strategic Decision Support Centers Monday at Malcolm X College to celebrate the start of summer and congratulate the youth for their work.

Last December, the five Chicago pro sports teams joined forces to lend their broad reach and resources in support of solutions to decrease violence in the city.

Working collectively as the Chicago Sports Alliance, $1 million total in one-time grants was donated to support three programs addressing this critical issue: Choose 2 Change, a high-intensity mentoring and trauma therapy program proven to reduce violent behavior among youth in the Greater Englewood community who are at-risk for violence involvement; analyst training by the Crime Lab for the Chicago Police Department's Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs), which are rooms in the city's highest violence police districts in which district leadership and civilian analysts work together to develop localized crime reduction strategies using a suite of technology, data analysis and human intelligence; and the University of Chicago Crime Lab to support efforts to measure and assess the impact of the teams' initial investments to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable Chicagoans.