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Bears fans find value to game

Chicago Bears quarterback Trent Edwards (18) scrambles during the Bears' 18-16 loss to the Browns on Thursday in Chicago.
Chicago Bears quarterback Trent Edwards (18) scrambles during the Bears' 18-16 loss to the Browns on Thursday in Chicago.

CHICAGO – Blame Marc Trestman.

He didn’t have to hype the Bears’ preseason finale Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. He didn’t have to speak as if a backup-laden snoozer of a game carried major implications.

He did, anyway.

“There’s great value in this game on multiple levels,” Trestman said.


Multiple levels, you say?

Let’s see about that.

In the basement of Soldier Field’s north parking garage, brothers Mike Kasper of McHenry and John Kasper of Arlington Heights sipped on Miller Lites before the game. The right to park there cost $40, if you average the $400 season pass that includes 10 games.

“You’re not going to see any starters,” John Kasper said. “You’re not getting value. Let’s get real.

“But on the other hand, when you do come to a preseason game, what do you expect? You want to see the second and third team perform.”

They did, more or less, in an 18-16 loss.

If not for the preseason finale, Mike Kasper would have hopped on his Harley-Davidson and traveled north from his McHenry home into Wisconsin.

But instead of passing through places such as Richmond and Genoa City and Pell Lake, he watched Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards pass to receivers such as Terrence Toliver and Brittan Golden and Josh Lenz.

No regrets. The Harley could wait.

“We’re Bears fans,” Mike Kasper said. “When the Bears are playing, we’re here.”

Time to go to the next level.

At a concession stand on the ground floor, Slovakian tourists Jan Rudy and Dasa Horkova stood in line to buy an $11 beer and a $4.75 bottled water. The price was not a big deal considering that their tickets were free – a gift from Horkova’s mother’s boss, who lives in Chicago.

“It’s awesome,” Rudy said.

“It’s the best,” Horkova said.

Thanks to the magic of Madden, Rudy recognized at least one of the players on the Bears’ roster.

“I remember Jay Cutler from my PlayStation games,” Rudy said.

Well, Cutler didn’t play. Neither did Brandon Marshall (who was excused for personal reasons, opening the door for speculation) or Matt Forte or Lance Briggs or Charles Tillman or Julius Peppers or almost everyone else who will matter when the regular season kicks off Sept. 8.

But to two tourists who never had seen an NFL game, there was value on this night.

Time to go to the next level.

Justin Belt of Joliet wore a Blackhawks T-shirt and sipped beer out of a plastic cup as he found his seat in Section 216, Row 17. Belt is a big Bears fan who can name players on the bubble, but if not for the fact that his company gave him free tickets and parking, he would not have come.

“When I was younger, it was, ‘Hey, we’re going to a game,’ ” said Belt, who works in sales in the construction industry. “It took me a long to realize, ‘Wow, the fourth preseason game.’

“That’s why it’s tough to even give away to customers. They’re kind of like, ‘Ehh.’ ”

But Belt was in a good mood as he watched Joe Anderson & Co. compete for a few roster spots. Like everyone else, Belt is curious to see how the Bears will fare in Trestman’s first season.

“I think they’re either going to be really good, or it’s going to go bad,” Belt said. “I don’t think there’s any middle.

“I think the bad is if there’s a major injury or if things aren’t working. But I think things are working, you know?”

I’m guessing here, but yes, I think things are working.

Time to go to the next level.

On a platform near the colonnades on the east side of the stadium, Morris couple Sehat and Beyhan Dzelil admired the view of the sailboats on Lake Michigan.

“It’s beautiful out here,” Beyhan Dzelil said.

The Dzelils thought that their view of the game was great, too. It was the first of four games that Sehat split with his brother, with each game costing $255 for a pair of tickets.

“It’s worth it,” Sehat Dzelil said. “Instead of going out drinking, going to a restaurant, having dinner, you can come here, watch a game, have a few drinks, grab a bite. Have a good time.”

They did.

Trestman was right, after all.

There was great value in this game. On multiple levels.


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