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The Chicago Bears held their fourth practice in full pads Saturday morning at Halas Hall, and for the first time this summer they went live with tackling, leading to an injury on the first snap.

Wide receiver N’Keal Harry had to be helped off the field, unable to put weight on his left leg after linebacker Nicholas Morrow and free safety Eddie Jackson tackled him on a wide receiver screen that was stopped near the line of scrimmage.

The team ran one more live play and that was it for tackling on the day during a practice in high heat and humidity that lasted about 1 hour, 50 minutes. Here is more about Harry, the depth at wide receiver and three more things we learned.

1. The Bears suddenly were short on wide receivers after N’Keal Harry suffered what could be a left ankle or foot injury.

Byron Pringle, signed to a one-year, $4.125 million contract, was sidelined for the first time this summer. Coach Matt Eberflus revealed Pringle has a quad injury and will be out for some time. As has been the case, Eberflus declined to put a timetable on a potential return but indicated there is hope Pringle’s absence will not bleed into the regular season.

Because Harry’s injury was so recent, Eberflus didn’t have anything to share. It’s not a good sign when a player cannot put weight on a leg. The Bears last month traded a 2024 seventh-round draft pick to the New England Patriots to acquire Harry, thinking the 2019 first-round draft pick from Arizona State could benefit from a new environment with an opportunity to compete on a wide-open depth chart.

If Harry misses considerable time, he’s going to be hard-pressed to push for a job. Rookie Velus Jones and Dante Pettis also sat out Saturday, leaving Darnell Mooney and Equanimeous St. Brown to get the majority of reps with the starters. Eberflus said Jones, who has impressed with versatility and his ability to absorb information, should not be out long. Stepping up with an opportunity was Tajae Sharpe, who made a nice catch over the middle after Justin Fields identified the blitz in a period when the offense was driving for a field goal with time running down.

2. Matt Eberflus said the tempo of practice and application of his ‘HITS’ principle would be the biggest challenges for players.

After the last two practices, both in full pads and both lasting just shy of two hours , Eberflus has believers, with some saying they were stretched out in the locker room afterward.

“We used to practice in the morning (in Las Vegas), so (the heat) was a little different,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “It’s so humid here. You walk outside and you just want it to rain because it is so humid. That’s one thing. But the intensity going from period to period, having to run to the ball and like the way we go about things, it’s a lot harder than what I have usually done for sure.

“He said it here — it’s going to be the hardest thing you have ever done, right? He’s keeping his promise, that’s for one, and then two, he wants to make it hard enough that when you get to the game it is not as hard or maybe you’ve had that intensity before than you can adapt to it.”

Eberflus said this is an element of training camp he believes is required each summer, not just in his initial phase when he and the staff are putting protocols in place.

“Every year you come in, you have to build that mental and physical stamina,” he said. “You’ve got to reset it and it’s going to (happen) because your team changes every year. You get new free agents, you get new rookies. It’s a big flip every year. Not as big as this year, but it will be new every single year. We’ve got to reteach it and redo it.”

3. Eberflus isn’t in a rush to make decisions regarding the depth chart.

The Bears will play their first preseason game Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field, and as they get deeper into the month, they will want a better idea of who the starters and backups are across the board. But it’s not an issue the coaching staff is pressing to find answers for because of so many openings across the board and so many players to evaluate.

“When it comes to light, it’ll be there,” Eberflus said. “Yep, this guy’s making a move. He’s made the move. He’s been consistent. This guy is clearly the starter now and let’s let it play out. If you let that happen, then it happens naturally. You have situations like that. And a lot of times, coaches force the issue a little bit and anoint certain players, ‘Hey, he’s the starter here and he’s the starter here.’ And the other guys goes, ‘Oh, I’m just a backup.’ We don’t want to put ceilings on guys. We want to be able to complete — leave it open, let ‘em compete and a guy might rise up at the end to take the job. We’ve got to let that happen.”

4. Rookie Braxton Jones, who spent most of the week with the starters at left tackle, exited practice early.

Eberflus said Jones would be fine seemed to indicate he would be back in the mix soon. Riley Reiff and Cody Whitehair were in uniform but did not participate in team drills. Eberflus said coaches wanted to rest the veterans, which of course allowed them to evaluate some younger players like Larry Borom at right tackle and Ja’Tyre Carter at left guard. Rookie center Doug Kramer continued to have occasional issues snapping the ball.

  • The team was thin at cornerback again with Kyler Gordon, Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley and Thomas Graham (hamstring) sidelined. It was the second straight practice Gordon and Vildor missed. Greg Stroman got more opportunities to run with the first unit and made a nice breakup of a pass deep down the sideline intended for Equanimeous St. Brown.
  • Linebacker Joe Thomas made a nice breakup over the middle on a pass to tight end Rysen John. Thomas has been working with the first and second teams as Roquan Smith remains out of practice.

()

News Source: mercurynews.com

Tags: mr roadshow opinion columnists cartoons pac 12 hotline celebrities he’s the starter it’s going n’keal harry we’ve got it’s not with an opportunity things we learned across the board round draft pick at wide receiver let that happen over the middle with the first put weight chicago bears matt eberflus byron pringle you get new you get new depth chart going to be practice to evaluate

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Biden gives schools $280 million boost in funding for mental health issues


Funds for mental health assistance come from the recently signed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act following mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo

The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday that it is opening applications for two grant programs totaling $280 million to support mental health services for students and young people in the United States.

One grant program will send money to schools to fund the hiring of more mental health professionals, while the other will provide for an increase in the number of mental health professionals in schools by investing in partnerships between school districts and colleges and universities.

In a statement, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the funding "will help schools raise the bar for student mental health by recruiting, preparing, hiring, and training highly qualified school-based mental health providers, including in underserved communities and for students such as multilingual learners and those from low-income backgrounds and in rural communities, where access to such services can be limited."

The White House announced that HHS will also be awarding $27 million for a program designed to train pediatricians working in emergency departments to provide mental health services.

The announcements come in the midst of what experts have described as a mental health crisis in the country, particularly among young people.

In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children's Hospital Association issued a joint statement calling the situation "a national emergency in children's mental health." The American Academy of Pediatrics' president, Lee Savio Beers, said: "Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients. Today's declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is."

The organizations noted rising rates of suicide and other mental health issues among children both before the COVID-19 pandemic and since it began, with disruptions in social life and education as well as "physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear and grief" as contributing causes.

The groups said: "Children and families across our country have experienced enormous adversity and disruption. The inequities that result from structural racism have contributed to disproportionate impacts on children from communities of color."

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a public advisory in December 2021 that noted, "Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable."

The funds for the new grants will come from appropriations passed by Congress in March and signed into law by President Joe Biden, as well as from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Biden signed on June 25.

While some Republicans in Congress voted for the law, a majority of them opposed its passage in the House and in the Senate.

Lawmakers pursued the Safer Communities Act in the wake of the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in May, in which 10 people were killed, and the mass shooting that same month at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people were killed, 19 of them children.

The legislation also increased funding for "red flag" laws that bar individuals determined to be dangerous to themselves or others from purchasing firearms; added a federal statute against gun trafficking and purchases of firearms on behalf of other people; and closed the "boyfriend loophole" by extending bans on the purchase of firearms by people convicted of domestic abuse to include those whose victims who are not just spouses but also other types of intimate partners.

In a July 11 speech marking the passage of the act, Biden said, "This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done." Discussing the mental health aspects of the legislation, he noted: "And this law also provides funding vital … to address the youth mental health crisis in this country including the trauma experienced by the survivors of gun violence. It will not save every life from the epidemic of gun violence, but if this law had been in place years ago, even this last year, lives would have been saved."

Gun safety groups supported passage of the law. Everytown for Gun Safety described it as "a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill," while Brady United Against Gun Violence called the bill "historic."

The National Rifle Association, which has repeatedly opposed legislation on gun safety while insisting that mental health issues are a major contributor to gun violence, said in a statement in June, "We will oppose this gun control legislation because it falls short at every level."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


  • TAGS
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • gun violence
  • HHS
  • Joe Biden
  • mental health
  • Miguel Cardona
  • Safer Communities Act
  • schools
  • student mental health
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