By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Martellus Bennett having a chance to win a Super Bowl title with the New England Patriots on Sunday doesn’t bother me. There’s nothing about his ex-Chicago Bear status that conjures up anything visceral. He was a good player here, was always colorful with a mic in front of him and probably needed a change from the John Fox humorless regime. That sting of seeing an ex doing well while you wade through sludge that is the Bears experience isn’t much there. Good luck to the Black Unicorn.
But Shea McClellin? First-round-freakin’-bust Shea McClellin? “I didn’t think a 4-3 team would take him” Shea McClellin?
That, I have a problem with. This isn’t about an ex doing well. It’s seeing one of the worst decisions you ever made before finally cutting ties then end up winning the lottery.
On draft night, then-general manager-ish person Phil Emery said of McClellin:
“This helped fill a need for us as a pass-rusher. We’re very excited about Shea in terms of his all-downs ability. This is an all-downs football player, including special teams … If there’s one area that stands out for me as an evaluator along with our coaches and our scouts, it’s that we all came away from looking at him as having a high level of football instincts. This is a very natural player. He plays with a very low pad level. He finds the ball quickly.”
The general manager of an NFL team mentioned that his 19th overall pick might have value on special teams. It was quite the omen. Well, that and Bears fans having no idea who the player was.
McClellin was always a very decent person here whose worst crime as a Bear was being overdrafted by a bad general manager and then never quite having a proper position under three head coaches. His aw shucksiness lost its shine when he too often looked as lost on the field as a kid from Marsling, Idaho, would be navigating Chicago streets for the first time. Now that extra nice guy is on a Patriots team that most fans outside of New England or who don’t also root for Duke basketball can’t stand.
“I watch them (the Bears) all the time,” McClellin told Bear Goggles On during Media Day or Opening Night or whatever stupid fixing of something that wasn’t broken the NFL did. “I have a lot of friends on the team still and talk to them here or there. They had a lot of injuries and that’s unfortunate. Sometimes that happens, they had a lot of guys go down and that’s unfortunate.”
Gosh, shut up, you hayseed gentleman. Be normal and vindictive.
It’s so damn Bears that the schizophrenic handling of a guy they shouldn’t have drafted in the first place ended up making them look like as per usual idiots while then making the Evil Empire in New England attracted to him as a free agent with versatility, as Brad Biggs noted this week. Even when I thought I was finished with the Bears kicking me in the groin for a while, they find a way to do it from the grave of their month-old offseason.
“He’s very intelligent and he’s a great player and his biggest thing was correlating what he already knew to the terminology we use,” defensive coordinator Matt Patricia told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s really worked to find himself a good role in our defense. We’ve got a lot of pieces.”
Oh, good for you, Patriots, ya mother-. This is why you shouldn’t be talking trade with them, Cleveland Browns. THEY’RE WITCHES. (But, seriously, if it keeps the Bears from overpaying for Jimmy Garoppolo, fine.)
McClellin has the Patriots’ record for longest fumble return touchdown, 69-yarder against Miami this regular season. That’s nice and all, but a player who couldn’t hack it one of the worst eras in Bears history should by now be banished to the land of wind and ghosts. What makes it all the worse is that McClellin doesn’t suck. It’s not exactly like the Patriots have a habit of putting underperformers on the field, let alone keeping them around.
Why must my Super Bowl be tainted like this? I had my little personal narrative of fun Atlanta Falcons versus Satan’s team, but seeing a reminder of Bears organizational ineptitude out there takes all the fun out of hoping Bill Belichick is struck by lightning indoors.
I won’t root against Shea McClellin individually because that would be petty, and maybe him making the Bears look even dumber on sports’ biggest stage could even be gratifying. (Also, there is such a better reason to root against the Patriots collectively anyway). Still, I don’t feel good about the potential of my own bitter supernatural powers proving true Sunday.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.