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NFL 2016: Bears WR Kevin White Returns and Other Thoughts

A healthy Kevin White is music to the ears of Chicago Bears fans and management who are hoping the wide receiver can add to the offensive game plan and post a winning record in 2016. It will be a bit different for the Bears, who open the 2016 without Matt Forte in the backfield as he signed with the New York Jets in the offseason. Jeremy Langford takes over the full-time running back duties. Quarterback Jay Cutler has to be pleased with the idea of White catching passes and challenging opposing defensive backs.

Chris Wesseling reported on NFL.com the announcement of White’s health was made during the owners’ meetings in Florida this week. General manager Ryan Pace made it clear he is “100 percent healthy.” White underwent surgery in August and was lost for the season.

“Now, it’s just him, that mental confidence to go full speed,” Pace said. “I think he’s there. Like I told you before, he’s got the biggest smile on his face because I think he’s eager to show everybody what he can do. So we’re fired up about that.”

Cutler will not only have White to throw to, but also Alshon Jeffrey, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson.

EVERYONE GETS SHOT AT STEELERS’ NO. 2 SLOT

While Mike Tomlin was quick to say everyone on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster will have a chance to claim the No.2 wide receiver role, the head coach had a message for Martavis Bryant.

“I want to see him get better as a man,” Tomlin said. “Football and all the things associated with that are secondary.”

Bryant was suspended for the season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

While Bryant’s 17 touchdowns over the past two seasons will be missed, there are opportunities for other wideouts to step up and show they can contribute, as reported by Marc Sessler of NFL.com.

Per Tomlin, the Steelers are preparing for an open competition between Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates for the role of Pittsburgh’s No. 2 receiver across from All-Pro Antonio Brown.

“Everybody’s got a chance to compete for that job,” Tomlin said.

Wheaton feels like the clear-cut front-runner, but Pittsburgh’s coach wasn’t shy about suggesting that second-year wideout Sammie Coates was a candidate to break out in 2016.

The Steelers will also have a healthy Ben Roethlisberger back in the lineup after a 2015 season that saw the signal caller deal with injuries yet again.

HARBAUGH TO SING KAEPERNICK’S PRAISES

If Colin Kaepernick needs a letter of recommendation or a cheerleader when it comes to a possible trade, he has to look no further than his former head coach, Jim Harbaugh.

While ESPN.com’s John Clayton stated online the San Francisco 49ers signal caller is “warming up to the idea of staying” with the team, there is still a chance he will be traded in the offseason. Should that happen and a team wants to know more about the player and the person, Harbaugh will tell them what they want to know.

“Anybody that talks to me is going to get a great recommendation that’s going to knock their socks off,” Harbaugh told the newspaper in a telephone interview.

Kaepernick’s agents requested permission from the 49ers on Feb. 26 to seek a trade for their client. The 49ers are expected to keep Kaepernick on their roster past April 1, the date his $11.9 million base salary for 2016 becomes guaranteed, but will still look to trade the quarterback before or during the April 28-30 draft, sources have told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kaepernick has been linked to the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos and possibly the New York Jets.

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