Chicago Sun-Times

Idonije says there were better ways for Tommie to retaliate

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If the story I wrote on Tommie Harris' ejection from Sunday's game made it to the World Wide Web, it's either since been swallowed up, or I cannot find it. So I'll post the utterly unedited edition of the story here because I think there are some nuggets worth considering in the story.

For instance, get what fellow defensive lineman Israel Idonije said about retaliating vs. dirty play: "Of course, there are other ways to get people back. There have got to be other options.''

Here's the story:

By Brad Biggs
Staff Reporter

The best thing you can say for Tommie Harris is he should be ready to practice this week and ought to be able to go all night Thursday against San Francisco.

That is because the Bears' troubled defensive tackle couldn't break a sweat Sunday afternoon after he was ejected on the fourth play of the game for punching Arizona right guard Deuce Lutui in the facemask as he lay on top of him just feet from referee Ed Hochuli after a 13-yard run by Tim Hightower.

It's yet another bizarre chapter for Harris, who in the last 20 regular-season games has been suspended once for conduct detrimental to the team, benched for performance and now sent to the showers by the officials for a flagrant act sure to cost him in the wallet.

``That kind of play is unacceptable for you to get ejected from the game,'' defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. ``I don't care what happens, you can't do it.''

As Harris made his way off the field he seemed to signal to coach Lovie Smith that he had been kneed by Lutui, and Harris is sensitive about his left knee that has caused him so many issues over the last few seasons, but throwing a punch is always a way to make a quick exit.

``[Lutui's] got a reputation for that, we know some guys that have played with him, he's one of those guys, that virus, that cancer,'' defensive tackle Israel Idonije said. ``It looked like [he kneed Harris] or something. I thought there was something going on. It's disappointing. I know they don't see all of that stuff but even the play before they've got to be able to see both sides and see what is really going on.

``Of course, there are other ways to get people back. There have got to be other options.''

Harris split the locker room before media was allowed in and was seen enjoying a visit with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, his buddy, afterward. He wasn't there to explain his actions, however.

``Tommie has to be smarter than that,'' coach Lovie Smith said.

Lutui wouldn't talk about what had set Harris off.

``Everybody's trying to get a feel for each other,'' Lutui said. ``We just kind of got caught up with each other. Stuff like that happens all the time. That's what happens in the trenches.''

The Bears have paid Harris a $6.67 million roster bonus for this season, and general manager Jerry Angelo has to be assessing what to do with the 26-year-old moving forward. Harris is due a $2.5 million roster bonus for 2010, but it's not earned until June 1 and Harris isn't doing anything to make that an easy check for the Bears to cut. Worse for Harris, he has a de-escalating $8 million roster bonus in 2012 that is tied to playing time and Pro Bowl appearances. Forget about the all-star game for right now, getting benched for one game and kicked out of another just about seals him not hitting the playing time 74 percent threshold for the second consecutive season, ensuring that bonus will now drop to $5 million. Of course, getting to 2012 with the club might be a challenge at this point.

Harris has missed significant portions of practice this season and complained about knee pain, one of the factors in Smith sitting him down going into the previous blowout, the Cincinnati loss. He's practiced every day the last two weeks, and turned in a decent performance vs. a woeful Cleveland team. Counting the bye last month, Harris has effectively had three of the last five weeks off.

``I'm sure he's not in a good space,'' Idonije said. ``We needed him. Our focus has just got to be winning. He's got to be a part of that.''

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9 Comments

Like, play well, get a sack. The fact is the Bears have to get smarter as an organization and clean house from the top down. The defense has not been good since Ron Rivera was fired in such a strange, obviously spiteful way.

Hey, I like the punch!- We needed some emotion from ALOT of the players, fight someone! anyone! A !@# teammate! ANYONE! Do something that tells me you at least give a da..!

Harris is not a focus of anything and should not be, The focus should be on the entire and I even repeat THE ENTIRE WORTHLESS TEAM!.

This team is so !@# messed up, Angelo does not know how to draft people, can we PLEASE hire a GM that understands how to draft? I find it hard to blame any of the Coaches when they have players that other teams don't even want, and we get other teams rejects.


I am sick of thw Bears, I do NOT CARE ABOUT THE STUPID, WORTHELESS BEARS AFTER 47 YEARS of watching, puking over a worthless, stinky smelly bunch of looooosers!!

I am the F out of here!~!!
The McCaskeys/ and ANGELOOSER need to go!

This guy has "RAIDERS" written all over him ! Jerry, get Al Davis on the phone TODAY, maybe the Bears can get a second roun pick for him. Oh ya, I forgot, we don't draft that high. Well maybe you can trade the pick for ANOTHER player who can't get on the field.

These current Bears deserve everything they are getting!! They sold their sole for a "Franchise QB", now look what is happening! I just hope they keep on losing and clean house!!..sad to say but true!!

Smoke Screen.

This ejection isn't the problem; the ENTIRE ownership and MGMT structure is, and Bradd, I think its time you addressed that. during the last 40 years this franchise has performed incredibly poorly.

Yes, its time for wholesale changes; the higher up in the organization the better.

1. The prognosis for the 2010 draft isn't good (lacking a 1st or a 2nd round pick) and a 2009 class thats mostly not represented, its time to "Burn it Down" and rebuild. The organizations that are willing to do these types of things come out better because of it.

2. Brad, its time for a story about the percentage representation of McCaskeys family and friends throughout the organization. Winning teams have winning front office's and while JA has been an upgrade over Michael McCaskey; JA and Lovie remain married to an outdated defense and an unimaginative offensive coordinator. R.Marinelli can't do much with an injured underperforming version of the Forest Gump of Defensive tackles.

3. It's time to address the cover-2 / T. Harris and the R. Turner / G. Wolfe love fest. This is the Bears version of swine flu. A hybrid virus thats sick and in need of immediate and extensive treatment. Isolated 'patches' are only going to prolong the mediocrity of this team. At this point, the future of the Detroit Lion's looks more promising

4. This team needs to trade away the 'older' value it has and start over. It sucks to write that but its the truth of the situation. Unfortunately, the only places of value, true value, on this team reside in the following short list

a. Urlacher
b. Briggs
c. Hester

""The defense has not been good since Ron Rivera was fired in such a strange, obviously spiteful way.""

If you do your research you would know that the Bears defense fell from #1 to #5 in 2006 when Mike Brown was lost in week #7 vs Arizona. The Bears then were surrendering a mere (7) points a game. After Browns lose they surrendered (14) points a game up to the point they lost Tommie Harris. After that they went on to surrender an average of (21) points a game through the playoff's and SB loss to the Colts.

Under Bob Babbich in 2007 and 2008 they kept that average and now in 2009 they seem to be even worse under Lovie's play calling, at least in the Bengals and Cardinal's games anyway.... The common theme here is Rivera enjoyed a healthy Brown and Harris, once they got injured his Defense looked the same as Babbich's and now Lovies. Mike Brown and Tommie Harris never remained healthy since they were lost during the 2006 season and never regained thier dominant forms.

By Tripper on November 9, 2009 9:46 AM
"These current Bears deserve everything they are getting!! They sold their sole for a "Franchise QB", now look what is happening! I just hope they keep on losing and clean house!!..sad to say but true!!"

Yeah cause they are so great at drafting, moron. They are only missing 2 picks from last year and got one player in exchange. So they are out 1 pick. Yeah I am sure that one pick would save this team. You really know jack about football or the Bears.

By they way its soul not sole, buyt then again you probably need to have one to know how to spell it. Hahahahaha, I finally corrected someone elses spelling.

News flash idiot, Cutler wasn't on the team in 07 or 08, and sucked then too. You blaming him for the the Bears sucking. He is the only legit player on offense.

You know every top football person is talking about the Bears poor drafting and coaching and all of them are saying the Cutler trade was a good one, but he is basically all they have. Angelo and Lovie ruined this team.

Here try and learn something or maybe you think you know more about football that Troy Aikman.

http://www.670thescore.com/mully-and-hanley-interviews/3596918

Maybe you should change your name again, nut job. Even Brad makes fun of you.

First and foremost, you don't do 'JACK' by punching a guy in the side of his helmet. HELLO!!! How dumb.

It's not easy not getting caught up in the moment of a 'supposed' dirty play, but if you are going to cost your team a player, make it count. It's easy for us to say 'he should plan these things ahead of time, remain controlled and get him on a play' but that's easier said than done. I'm just disappointed because this guy has yet to earn a fraction of his paycheck. On the brighter side, Adams got a little more playing time and seeing as he's the only tackle, to date, that collapses the line, let Tommy rot!

I agree that JA and crew have no idea how to change with the times. Bring in bill the chin cower or mike shanahan. bring in a ryan brother, or a 3 4 defense coach. shawn i do alot of roids will be free next year. Oh and creighton but not spelled buyt! (in your face)

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 9, 2009 8:45 AM.

Same players, same scheme, better coaches, bad defense was the previous entry in this blog.

Source: Garrett Wolfe hospitalized with lacerated kidney is the next entry in this blog.

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