If you're putting the finishing touches on your plans to visit training camp starting Wednesday, go ahead and start thinking about your travel plans for 2009.
The Bears recently came to agreement with Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., on a two-year agreement to extend the team's stay there through next summer. This will be the team's seventh year at ONU. Because of state law, the school and sign only two-year contracts with the organization. They've had mutual options for a third year in the past and it's unknown if there is one in place now.
"It was never in doubt," Gary Griffin, the school's public relations chief, told the Kankakee Daily Journal.
Players report to ONU on Tuesday and the first practice is at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Thanks to a reader for a tip on finding this news nugget.
*** There will be a two-page spread advancing training camp in Sunday's edition. We take a look at 10 storylines to follow in camp topped by, what else, the quarterback competition.
One thing we didn't get into was advancement by tight end Greg Olsen in his second season. Olsen, the first-round pick in 2007, was fifth on the team with 39 receptions for 391 yards and two touchdowns. They're not numbers that blow you away but compared against tight ends drafted over the last two decades in the first round, Olsen was a fair bit ahead of the average. It's a difficult position to come in and put up big numbers right away because it's essentially two positions. The tight end is a sixth (or seventh offensive lineman) on some downs and a receiver on others.
So, keep an eye on Olsen in camp and how he's utilized.
*** First-round draft pick Chris Williams remains unsigned. I'd expect a deal to be forged in advance of Wednesday. The percentage of actual holdouts is very small every summer. The percentage of holdouts drafted after the top five or so is even smaller.
Yes, cornerback Darrelle Revis, the 14th pick in '07, missed 20 days of Jets' camp last summer. But the Jets and Revis were involved in a haggle over years that will not bog down Williams' negotiations. He'll sign a five-year contract.