World

Palatine’s Schwantz is high on ‘24 Bears, tempered about Arlington Park



WHILE WARREN’S FOLLY plays out on Chicago’s lakefront, there are some mayoral changes in the weather in two of the three charmed suburbs surrounding the Bears’ 326 acres of Arlington Dark.

Tom Hayes, the three-term village president of Arlington Heights, told Chris Placek of the Daily Herald that he will not run for reelection next spring.

And Jim Schwantz, the former Bear and Super Bowl champ (Cowboys, SB XXX), has yet to declare whether he will seek a fifth four years as mayor of Palatine next spring.

Lara Sanoica, the young and vibrant first-term mayor of Rolling Meadows, is not up for reelection until April 2027.

While it’s not quite enough to make an NFL team move to Aurora, it’s fresh fodder for the speculative swirl to continue about the ghostly remains of the leveled local oval.

SCHWANTZ HAS FINELY TUNED PERSPECTIVES on both a new Bears stadium and the team’s upcoming 2024 campaign.

That’s what happens when a political Purdue grad follows a resolute NFL career with 21 seasons (2002-22) as a game-day wraparound analyst for WBBM-AM (780).

He did not move with the Bears radio package last season. That’s when George McCaskey, Kevin Warren and all signed off on a desperation crawl to no-rated WMVP-AM (1000), Chicago’s squeaky answer to a 7-inch box fan.

ABOUT THE BEARS STADIUM CHAOS, Schwantz said:

“Nothing has really changed from my thoughts following their announcement of the Chicago preference. I think either location has a lot of hurdles to cross from financing to infrastructure.

“All along, I have been excited about the prospect of the Arlington Park location as long as there is a plan to address all of the infrastructure upgrades that will be required to eliminate the impact on our community.”

AND ON CALEB WILLIAMS AND THE NEW BURNABLE ORANGE, Schwantz said:

“I’m excited. It’s been a long time since the Bears have had a team president, general manager, head coach and offensive coordinator all in alignment on a quarterback. In years past, the new ‘quarterback of the future’ always had someone from that list that wasn’t part of the selection.

“I think the new alignment brings a lot of excitement and anticipation. There really seems to be a plan in place with all of the personnel moves through the draft and strategic free-agent signings.

“This should be a fun season.”

From his Super Bowl ring to the spirits still beckoning at the corner of Euclid and Wilke in Arlington Heights.

STREET-BEATIN’:

Conspicuously absent from that recent 1984 Cubs reunion in Lake in the Hills was John McDonough. The former president and CEO of the Blackhawks has maintained a zero public profile since his firing in 2020. The Notre Dame High grad (’71) was movin’ on up in the marketing department with the Cubs during those happier times. …

Also on the list of missing persons this week was Joel Quenneville. The former Blackhawks head coach — who was another discard amid the team’s scarring sex scandal three years ago — was the man who reignited the Stanley Cup-bound Florida Panthers. His brief tenure near Fort Lauderdale (2019-21) quickly ended when the sordid back pages broke. He has been unofficially blacklisted by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman ever since, a status that should be reviewed. …

Game 7 of the Florida-Edmonton Stanley Cup Final drew an average of 7.6M viewers on ABC, the biggest American TV audience ever for an NHL game not featuring an Original Six team. And, it says here, Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky should have won the Conn Smythe (playoffs MVP). He was a sterling 16-8 in the postseason and positively Gump Worsley in the decisive third period. …

Management at Hawthorne Race Course tried to show that the listing southwest suburban oval still has a hoofbeat by honoring former Arlington riding staple Chris Emigh with a “day.” That’s like getting Employee of the Decade at a Dog ‘n Suds. Tim Carey and family continue to baffle by not getting their casino up and gobbling on HRC property. …

The Bulls barely buzzed their more demanding fan base with recent draft and trade add-ons for a very simple reason: No one in the front office has yet been held accountable for the disastrous maxi-pact extended to the draining Zach LaVine. How do Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley still have their jobs? (Only in a Jerry Reinsdorf organization.) …

Former Daily Herald Sports Editor Mike Smith reports that Marlon Brooks — the first Black athlete in the Mid-Suburban League — has died. Brooks, 68, was a three-sport star at Glenbard North (Class of ’73) when the school was the interim 10th member of the MSL. He later had a distinguished coaching career with the Panthers. …

LeBron James exercised an icon’s essential called “leverage” in getting both puppet head coach JJ Redick and son Bronny James on the Lakers’ 2024-25 payroll. Redick will be the one in postgame media sessions mouthing LeBron’s words while the superstar sips water. (It’ll be an update of an old Willie Tyler & Lester routine.) …

And Bruce Wolf, noting that Shohei Ohtani and Los Angeles sold out Guaranteed Rot Field Wednesday while hammering the hapless host White Sox: “Does Caitlin Clark play for the Dodgers?”

Jim O’Donnell’s Sports and Media column appears each week on Sunday and Wednesday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com. All communications may be considered for publication.



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