Football

Football

Ex-Comet, Redbird Lee lands contract with Saints

OAKWOOD — Cameron Lee has never been to New Orleans. He is on the way now.

The former Oakwood Comet and Illinois State offensive lineman signed a contract with the NFL’s Saints on Saturday. He was awaiting word on when he will report to the team.

UPDATED: Lunt among former Illini to sign with NFL teams

ROCHESTER — In the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft's seventh round Saturday, Wes Lunt’s phone started “blowing up.”

Multiple teams wanted to sign for the former Illinois quarterback to a free-agent contract. Ultimately,

Lunt and his California-based agent, Carter Chow, decided to go with the Minnesota Vikings.

PODCAST: Saturday SportsTalk 04-29-17

PODCAST: Saturday SportsTalk 04-29-17: Play now!

Michael Kiser and Loren Tate host the Saturday edition of Sports Talk. They talk with Brad Sturdy. 

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Jaguars nab Illini lineman Smoot

PHILADELPHIA — The guy signing Dawuane Smoot's NFL paychecks knows all about the Illinois defensive lineman.

Smoot was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round Friday at the NFL draft. He was the 68th overall selection.

The Jaguars are owned by Champaign billionaire Shad Khan.

Former Comet, Redbird Lee lifting his football profile

OAKWOOD — The Lee residence sits out in the country of Vermilion County, near Oakwood Junior High School.

It's unassuming and modest. With acres of farmland in each direction, it doesn't evoke much of a second glance when drivers pass by.

For Lovie Smith, late coach was major influence

CHAMPAIGN — Jim Norman had a profound impact on the life of Illinois football coach Lovie Smith.

Being compared to Norman would be the ultimate compliment for Smith.

Norman, Smith's coach at Big Sandy (Texas) High School, died Sunday. He was 81.

May 1 Bob Asmussen chat

Monday, May 1, 2017 - 10:00am

How did the NFL draft go for the former Illinois players? Who was in town for the annual alumni event? When will Lovie Smith get his next commitment?

For the answers to these questions, and anything else on your mind, check in with our longtime colege football writer.

Illini's Spencer hoping for NFL shot

CHAMPAIGN — If Joe Spencer’s phone rings during Friday night’s Garth Brooks concert, he might need to leave early. Even if the country legend is singing “Friends in Low Places.”

The former Illinois center is waiting on a call from the NFL. Most likely, it will come Saturday or Sunday, after the seven-round NFL draft.

Bob Asmussen's 2017 NFL mock draft

Staff writer Bob Asmussen has watched the NFL draft every year since it was first televised by ESPN in 1980 (Billy Sims was the first choice, going to the Lions). Here are Asmussen’s first-round predictions for all 32 picks:

April 27 Ask the Sports Editor chat

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 2:00pm

How did Mark Smith come to his college decision? What does it mean for Brad Underwood and the Illini? How is Lovie Smith's program faring? When will the number of football commits pick up? Can any area high school team win a state title this spring? Sports editor Matt Daniels is chatting at 2 p.m. on Thursday, so feel free to pepper him with questions beforehand.