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Bears staff motivates its players with book

Shortly after the Bears clinched a playoff spot in Week 13, coach Lovie Smith and his staff handed out copies of the book 212: The Extra Degree to every player in an effort to keep the team motivated.

By JOANNE KORTH
Published January 28, 2007


Shortly after the Bears clinched a playoff spot in Week 13, coach Lovie Smith and his staff handed out copies of the book 212: The Extra Degree to every player in an effort to keep the team motivated.

Smith also showed a movie version.

Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera had T-shirts made.

The book's message became the team's mantra. Written by S.L. Parker, the book explains how one extra degree of effort can make the difference in people the way it changes hot water at 211 degrees Fahrenheit to boiling water at 212 degrees.

"The extra degree is so huge in your life," cornerback Charles Tillman said.

Tillman introduced his teammates to the book, and word quickly spread. Tillman was given the book by former NFL player John Wright, who since 2003 has hosted Bears rookies at his 80-acre estate in Champaign, Ill., with the intention of helping them develop character and a strong value system.

Coincidentally, Wright does the same each year for Colts rookies.

When Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner called Wright to ask for copies of the book for players and coaches, Wright arranged it. The Colts were given the same opportunity but declined.

FAVRE STILL THINKING: News flash: Quarterback Brett Favre has yet to decide whether he will return to the Packers next season. So much for that self-imposed two-week deadline.

"There's not really" a timetable, Favre said early last week after his daughter's basketball game in Hattiesburg, Miss. "I said after the last game that I'd decide within two weeks, but I probably jumped the gun when I said that."

Favre said he did not want to drag out a decision as long as he did last year, when he waited until April to announce he would return for a 16th season.

Favre had expected 2006 to be his final season, but the Packers rebounded from a poor start to finish 8-8. In the mediocre NFC, Green Bay was in the playoff hunt heading into the final week. The strong finish has many, including team officials, believing Favre will come back for at least one more season.

"I don't know why," Packers chairman and CEO Bob Harlan said. "I have no other answer than that he's just such a competitor and wants to battle people."

Favre clearly has not made up his mind.

"I'm just trying to get as far away from it as I can right now," Favre said. "I don't know if I'll ever know for sure."

SAME OLD STORY: Receiver Terrell Owens cannot wait to meet the next Cowboys coach to discuss the cause for his league-high 18 dropped passes. Apparently, Bill Parcells was unsympathetic.

"I was underutilized in the offense," Owens said. "A new coach can be good for the Cowboys. It's not just me. But my teammates know I could have done more. I wasn't used as a No. 1 receiver."

Information from other news organizations was used in this report. Joanne Korth can be reached at korth@sptimes.com or 727 893-8818.