Briggs, Urlacher pull out of Pro Bowl

The Sports Xchange

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs pulled out of the 2012 Pro Bowl because of an undisclosed injury and has been replaced by Vikings' linebacker Chad Greenway.

Greenway will be playing in his first Pro Bowl after leading the Vikings in tackles. He's led the team in tackles from 2008-2011.

London Fletcher of the Redskins was named as an injury replacement for the Bears' Brian Urlacher. Urlacher injured his knee in the regular-season finale at Minnesota.

--What now for quarterback Josh McCown, who helped the Bears snap a five-game losing streak with a serviceable performance in the 17-13 victory over the Vikings?

McCown was coaching high school football when the Bears called on him in late November after Jay Cutler's season-ending thumb injury.

"I don't know," McCown said. "My plan will be to go back with those kids and go to work. Those boys know that we're going to work this spring and get after it and get them ready to go. We'll see what happens. If God wants me to be on the team, I'll be on the team. If not, then I'll be happy to be back coaching and helping those young men."

McCown clearly outplayed Caleb Hanie, who was a disappointment as Cutler's backup, going 0-4 with nine interceptions and three touchdown passes while being sacked 19 times. McCown was 1-1 as a starter with two touchdowns and three interceptions in his starts and a fourth pick when he relieved Hanie against the Seahawks. Hanie finished with a 41.8 passer rating, while McCown was at 68.3.

"I definitely think he can hold his head up," coach Lovie Smith said of McCown. "He came here and helped our football team. He gave us a spark, energy, and he did not hurt his chances at all by what he has done during his brief time with us."

--The Bears promoted offensive line coach Mike Tice to offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Martz, who mutually agreed to part ways with the team.

Tice interviewed with coach Lovie Smith for the position Thursday, and will be the play-caller while continuing to work hands-on with the offensive line. Tice was credited with a significant improvement by Chicago's offensive line in 2011 despite injuries and mediocre talent.

"I'm excited to have Mike move into our offensive coordinator role," Smith said of Tice. "He has been a valuable member of our staff over the past two years and has an excellent track record in the NFL. He was very impressive in his job interview yesterday and shares the same vision I have for our offense moving forward. We want to be a strong running team with a big-play pass attack. Mike will call plays for us and continue to have an active role with our offensive line. To complete our staff we will be hiring a passing coordinator who will work with our quarterbacks and an offensive line coach."

Tice has been with the franchise since 2010 after four years as a position coach in Jacksonville. That followed 10 season with Minnesota, including serving as head coach from 2001-05. While with the Vikings, the team set an NFL record with 36 consecutive games with at least 300 yards of offense from 2002-04.

"Lovie and I share a similar mindset of what the Bears offense should look and feel like," Tice said. "There will be a toughness about us. We are going to be a powerful run team and we're going to be able to mix in explosive pass plays. It will be important for us to utilize the talents of our players and exploit match-ups each Sunday. We have athletes we can build with. I feel fortunate Lovie has placed the trust in me to help move us forward to a championship."

"Obviously we want to do better in the early parts of the draft." -- Ted Phillips on the day he announced the firing of general manager Jerry Angelo. Only two of Angelo's nine first-round picks are on the roster, offensive linemen Chris Williams (2008) and Gabe Carimi (2010). Both ended the season on injured reserve.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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