Bring the fan buses

BOURBONNAIS -- It's not the A-Train, but the Bears will be seeing more than just Anthony Thomas at home games in Champaign this season.

Since Soldier Field is under renovation, and the Bears will be playing all their home games in Champaign at Memorial Stadium this season, 400 buses have been locked down as ways for fans to still get a chance to see their team play. Talks are also heating up about Amtrak shuttling fans from Homewood to Champaign for games this season.

Sounds like a good plan to defensive end Phillip Daniels.

"I think that's a fantastic idea. Fans need a way to get down there," said Daniels, who had nine sacks and set a career high for tackles last season. "The streets are going to be crowded, no matter which way you go. I think it would help out with that situation, because this is the season we need them.

"We're coming off a 13-4 season, and this is the time we need them the most. We need them to get down there, pack the place and have 80,000 screaming Bears fans helping us out. Believe me, when you're out there playing, it helps. It really hurts the other team."

Timothy Pearson, an entrepreneur who runs Pearson Transportation based in Champaign, was picked to be the "official motor coach" carrier for the Bears over the 2002-03 season. Pearson worked with Chicago-based motor coach companies to get 400 buses, which seat from 49 to 56 passengers, with a restroom, that will take fans to games for a round-trip cost of $36, ticket not included. A discount is offered for 10-game packages.

"It just shows that everybody's supporting us, and it's great to see the city of Chicago -- even though we're in Champaign -- coming out to meet us," Bears linebacker Rosevelt Colvin said. "Being part of Chicago is being a Chicago Bear fan and I guess the city and the surrounding areas are getting behind us."

Buses will go to five locations in the Chicagoland area.

"Hey, the more the merrier. We need them all in Champaign," Daniels said. "It's going to be a great year for us. Our fans have supported us in the past and they supported us big-time last year -- well, except for the few that left the games early when we went to overtime against Cleveland and San Fran. Our fans have been great. We love the fans. We just hope they'll be there."

More information on the fan bus trips can be found through a link on the official Web site of the Chicago Bears, or on the Pearson Transportation Web site at

Reservations can be made by calling, 1-(866)-842-3277.

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