Sports

Chicago precincts come in heavily for Da Bears

It's not a presidential proclamation, but it is a prediction.

Barack Obama weighed in Thursday on Sunday’s clash between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers for the NFC title – and he’s going with his hometown Bears.

Obama’s guessing the Bears win, 20-17, according to White House spokesman Matt Lehrich.

Why?

“The difference in the game: the crowd and venue of Soldier Field,” Lehrich quoted Obama as saying.

Bears legend Mike Ditka, who earlier had picked the Packers to go to the Super Bowl, has changed his tune.

“Right now, I’m taking the Bears to win the game,” the 71-year-old Ditka said. “I think the Bears are a lot better football team. I think they are doing things better in every area right now. The only thing they can’t do is turn the football over. If they don’t turn the football over, and protect the quarterback, they’ll be fine.”

BRADY HAS SURGERY

A person with knowledge of the operation says Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has undergone surgery on his right foot.

Brady was listed on the Patriots’ injury report with a foot injury for the last eight regular-season games and their playoff game, a 28-21 loss to the New York Jets, but played in all of them. He also was listed with a right shoulder injury in those games, as he has been for several years.

WANNSTEDT SIGHTING

The Cleveland Browns have interviewed former NFL and Pitt college coach Dave Wannstedt to be their defensive coordinator.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur met Thursday with Wannstedt, who spent six seasons coaching Chicago and four-plus in Miami. Wannstedt was forced to resign after going 7-5 this season, his sixth at the school. Wannstedt also has drawn interest from Buffalo.

Shurmur talked with Dick Jauron about running his defense on Wednesday.

EXTRA POINTS

Ted Mondale, the new head of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, said that replacing the snow-damaged roof of the Metrodome would likely take five to six months, raising the possibility of affecting next season’s schedule for the Minnesota Vikings. Chuck Cecil says that Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher has decided not to keep him as the Titans defensive coordinator after two seasons in which the team ranked among the NFL’s worst in yards allowed. John Fox is bringing his special teams coordinator with him from Carolina to the Denver Broncos. Fox announced the hiring of Jeff Rodgers, who was his special teams coordinator with the Panthers last year, and Adam Gase, who goes from coaching Denver’s wide receivers to coaching the Broncos’ quarterbacks. The Carolina Panthers have hired John Matsko as offensive line coach a day after he was fired by Baltimore. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel will replace the injured Brady in the Pro Bowl, and Packers cornerback Tramon Williams will replace the Philadelphia Eagles’ Asante Samuel.

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