Anticipation is growing for fans to get their first look at Jay Cutler on the training camp practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University next month.
The quarterback will not be the only newcomer on display. Left tackle Orlando Pace looks to be in terrific shape. Frank Omiyale has gotten first-team reps at left guard. New linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa plans to be flying around making plays. And the Bears could have some new threads, too.
Team spokesman Scott Hagel said the Bears are exploring the possibility of adding a sponsorship patch to practice jerseys, a move first made by the Tennessee Titans at least a year ago. The NFL tackled the issue at the owners meetings in March and the league granted approval for teams to use patches measuring 3.5 inches by 4.5 inches on practice jerseys only. The Bears will likely approach companies they already partner with to explore the issue before then considering outside opportunities.
Hagel also said there is a possibility the team would look into a partnership with the Illinois Lottery. Last month, the NFL allowed its teams to make deals with state lotteries where in essence a team's logo would be put on scratch-off tickets. The New England Patriots and Washington Redskins have already signed up in Massachusetts and Virginia. It's a fine line for the league because it remains staunchly opposed to gambling on the outcome of NFL games.
The Bears are seeking new revenue streams while also looking for ways to streamline its operation. Employees who are not involved in football operations will no longer be served lunch at Halas Hall. One Bears employee said a hiring freeze for some areas of the organization is in place. However, while some NFL clubs made layoffs over the offseason, the Bears did not.