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Local Sports

Yes, I am careful what I wish for

Outside of a few songs by Alabama and Patsy Cline, and maybe a John Denver tune thrown in from time to time, I have never been a big fan of country music, unlike several members of my family. I'm more a Beach Boys/Beatles/'50s Motown kind of guy. You know, the moldy-oldie stuff befitting a surly-mannered man of my advanced age.

But there is one country twanger that even the sports writer in me can identify with, a 2017 ditty recorded by the bearded Luke Combs by the name of "Be Careful What You Wish For," and I like it because it had not only that title, but also the first line of the chorus is "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

My apologies to Joni Mitchell for going there, but his had both lyrics, yours had only one.

My recent attraction to that song was spurred by my minor disappointment that rumors projecting Pittsburgh Steelers disgruntled running back Le'Veon Bell would sign with my beloved Chicago Bears ("Da Bearsssss, my friend), proved untrue. Stories of how GM Ryan Pace was clearing cap space for a big signing had me thinking of what the NFL's all-time career leader in yards from scrimmage (129 per, more than Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, even the great Walter Payton) could do for the Mitch Trubisky-led attack on a cold November day in Chicago or Green Bay. Very appealing, indeed.

However, that feeling was tempered by a few unfortunate facts, which brings to my mind the "be careful what you wish for" line comes in. Not the least of those facts is the cost. For a franchise once led by George Halas, the man who according to Dick Butkus "throws nickels around like manhole covers," the purse strings have loosened up. However, I still can't see the Bears coming across the four-year, $52 million deal the Jets gave him on Wednesday.

Also, a reminder was pointed out by several sources that as fantastic as Bell is, he's already a two-time loser under the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs rules, and a third strike would have him sitting an entire season. I don't think I'm ready to see him do that, much like the Steelers fans weren't prepared to see him hold out for all of the 2018 season.

And finally, I don't think there's a thing wrong with Jordan Howard. In fact, I like him and I know there's gotta be a way to play to his strengths and to Tarik Cohen's. Howard may still get dealt, but why do that when you don't have a full-time successor? Believe me, my fantasy dealings lead me to think that the recently-signed Mike Davis is not a step up.

Don't get me wrong. I love what the Bears are and where they're going, Bell or no Bell, but I have to admit I'm somewhat admiring of what's going on in Cleveland.

First, after last year drafting who is now an up-and-coming quarterback in Baker Mayfield and trade for standout wide receiver Jarvis Landry, they get a new head coach in Freddie Kitchens, sign disgraced Chiefs all-Pro Kareem Hunt and trade for the second-best receiver in the game in Odell Beckham. They also added all-Pro defensive end Olivier Vernon for the defense ... and they still have eight picks in the draft, starting at No. 49.

Regardless of your feelings about Hunt and who knows when or if he'll ever play for the Browns, you have to feel the Cleveland franchise has turned the page.

Does anyone else feel like we're watching the 2019 version of "Draft Day" or is it me? All that's missing is Kevin Costner.

Maybe I'm feeling a little nostalgic about what the Cubs did a few years ago before falling relatively silent in the free agent market this last off-season. Maybe the Bears are planning on using that cap space to give extensions to their up-and-comers. I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm ready for a little action and hopefully my Cubs will provide it starting in exactly two weeks from today ... but maybe I should be careful what I'm wishing for.

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