10 Bears questions: On John Fox’s ties, Tar Heels, Steph Curry & more

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Bears head coach John Fox reacts to a call. (AP)

John Fox called Marty Hurney when Hurney was named the Panthers’ interim general manager in July.

In Hurney’s first stint as the Panthers’ GM, the team decided not to retain Fox after nine years following the 2010 season. The two have been friends since 1992, when Fox coached for the Chargers and Hurney was the team’s assistant GM.

While we wonder if Fox holds Hurney’s former job against him — he was a sportswriter — here are 10 more Bears questions as they prepare for the Panthers:

1. Time for a Tar Heels meet-up?

Mitch Trubisky was the No. 2 overall pick out of North Carolina 15 years after Julius Peppers was.

The two have never met, but the Bears quarterback hopes to.

“I’m looking forward to saying hi to him at the game and talking a little bit,” Trubisky said.

The Tar Heels have had four players drafted second overall. Their most famous one: Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

2. Seen him before?

When Fox coached the Broncos, he’d attend football games for Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, to watch two of his friends’ sons — Luke Del Rio and Christian McCaffrey.

Del Rio, son of Raiders coach Jack, played quarterback at Florida this year before an injury -ended his season.

McCaffrey, the running back whom the Panthers drafted eighth overall in April, looms Sunday. He has 293 receiving yards on a team-high 37 receptions. Fox said the Heisman Trophy finalist was high on the Bears’ draft board.

3. Seen him, too?

At his previous job, Fox would attend basketball games at Charlotte Christian School, where his kids went to high school. Their best player: Steph Curry.

“You could kind of see it,” Fox said.

4. What’s a winning streak?

The Bears haven’t won back-to-back games since November 2015, when they beat the Rams and Chargers on the road. The Bears lost the next week to the Broncos by two points.

Since then, the Bears have followed each of their six wins with losses. Four losses were by fewer than seven points. They lost by 26 at Tampa Bay last year and by 21 at Green Bay in Week 4.

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5. What’s the Super Bowl like?

Cam Newton will be the fifth starting quarterback the Bears have faced in seven weeks who has played in a Super Bowl — with a sixth, Drew Brees, due up next week. No other NFL team will be able to say the same through eight weeks.

The two outliers among Bears opponents thus far: the Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston and the Vikings’ Sam Bradford, both No. 1 picks.

6. Want a free beer?

Win a bar bet with this one: Since Newton was drafted in 2011, one player has more touchdown runs: Marshawn Lynch. Newton has 51, more than the next three quarterbacks on the list combined — Andy Dalton (18), Andrew Luck (14) and Russell Wilson (14).

7. Who’s the winner?

The Bears voted guard Kyle Long the winner of their Ed Block Courage award Friday. Fox said Long “matured as a teammate, matured as a team member, matured as a player” the last three years, particularly when recovering from ankle surgery last year.

“It was a pretty serious injury, and it takes a special guy to weather that and do all the things necessary,” Fox said.

8. Wanna bet?

The Bears are three-point underdogs Sunday. They’ve covered the spread once in their last six games against the Panthers.

9. Do you even recognize this team?

Only four Bears players who faced the Panthers on Oct. 5, 2014, are still on the 53-man roster: Long, cornerback Kyle Fuller, linebacker Christian Jones and punter Pat O’Donnell. The Panthers have a whopping 17 still around from that game.

10. Who’s next?

The Bears have had four players throw their last four touchdown passes: quarterback Mike Glennon, O’Donnell, Trubisky and running back Tarik Cohen. Now you can bet on whether they run another trick play.

Bovada.lv is offering 10-1 odds that anyone other than a quarterback throws a touchdown pass for the Bears on Sunday. Wanna bet against it? Odds are 1-50.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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