Christmas in the navy and orange

Despite the recent late-season collapse, Chicago's players are still in good cheer for the holidays. Food and gifts are on everyone's mind, yet so are the Green Bay Packers.

In the midst of mounting injuries and overall skepticism as to whether or not the Bears can keep up with the Packers on Sunday, there is some happiness coming out of Halas Hall. It's the holiday season after all, a time to set aside the worries of real life for a few days.

For Earl Bennett, after seeing friends and family, it's all about shoes. Bennett was sporting a pair of shiny neon green and orange Nikes – a custom combination created just for the wide receiver, who is, no doubt, one of Nike's best customers.

"I probably shouldn't let the folks at the NFL regulations bureau see these," Bennett laughed, referring to his fines for wearing orange footwear on game days earlier in the season. "They are definitely my look. I haven't checked yet as they are new, but I'm sure they also glow in the dark. If they don't then perhaps they should."

Bennett has, yes, shoes, at the top of his Christmas list. A yellow pair would be nice.

"My wife just sighs," he said. "She feels I'm taking over all of the closets at our house and she could be right about that. I'm a quiet, responsible guy who really likes fashion. Shoes have always been my thing. Nothing wrong with that. Hopefully she's passed my wish list on to Santa and he'll be coming down my chimney with some new footwear. I'd be thrilled. You can never have enough of that."

Tyler Clutts recently transported his wife and infant daughter to O'Hare Airport so they could be with family in California during the holidays while he's at work.

"I'll miss them for sure," Clutts said "But I have to admit that this could be my big chance to catch up on some sleep. Don't get me wrong, for a newborn my daughter is a sleeping champ, but if you aren't used to accommodating to a baby's schedule, well it can get somewhat tiring. I want to be at my best physically for the last two games."

Levi Horn sees big meals ahead.

"I'm a sizable guy," the 6-7, 315-pound Horn said. "Just look at me. Of course I like to eat. We'll catch holiday meals when and where we can. I'm sure that is the situation for all of us on the team as we play both Christmas and New Years days. Trust me, there is absolutely no chance that I'll miss any of the treats that come at this time of year."

Armando Allen is concentrating more on football than on celebrations at the moment.

"I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of my job," said Allen, who was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster this week. "I haven't been on the active roster that long. Once the season is done, then I can celebrate. I will keep in contact with my family and my friends as I am able to for now, then see everybody as time permits. But that doesn't mean at all that I am ignoring the holidays. I feel them in my heart always, no matter where I am or what I am doing."

Any wishes for the fans?

"Peace and happiness to all of you and the best in the coming year," Allen said. "We'll hope to see you in Green Bay."


Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.

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