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updated: 7/21/2014 7:53 PM

Enough already with cuddly Bears mascot

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Amid all the Bears' personnel changes, an important one wasn't made at a critical position.

With training camp scheduled to start this week, Staley remains the team mascot.

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(Stop snickering; this is serious business.)

A recent story out of Cleveland should have received more attention around here.

No, not that King James going-back-home thing. No, not something like Johnny Football belching on a bouncer.

The news was that the Browns might install a live mastiff dog named Swagger as mascot to complement fans in the infamous Dawg Pound at home games.

The Browns clearly want to project an image that better reflects that they want to play hard, aggressive, physical football.

Hard to believe, but the Bears could take a lesson from the Browns, of all teams.

Forgive me, PETA, forgive me for I have sinned: My cheap thrill, guilty pleasure and not-so-nice vice would be a live bear as the Bears' mascot.

Dangerous? Heck, during my restless and reckless days I went to the mat twice with Victor the Wrestling Bear and lived to tell about it.

If Vic is still around, the Bears might want to interview him for job of mascot.

Staley -- a dead bear, uh, live person in a hot, sweaty bear costume -- currently represents the Bears.

He, she or it stands for two things: first, the Decatur starch company that the franchise originally was named after; second, a mascot unworthy of wearing a Bears jersey.

Staley is a harmless lowercase bear unbecoming of a franchise whose tradition is as harmful Monsters of the Midway.

The McCaskey ownership sometimes seems intent on distancing the Bears from their history as a rough, tough football mob, uh, team.

Bookish head coaches are hired. One of them was even named Lovie. He had a defense that never reminded anyone of a Bearish system like the "46." They don't have guys with nicknames like Mongo, Danimal and Samurai anymore.

The Bears have gone soft in a brutal, barbaric, violent sport. Trying to turn game days into Sesame Street is like trying to turn a stripper into a librarian.

More than anything, the NFL is large men smacking larger men so hard that blood and guts come flying out of them.

If the Bears want this to be Six Flags, let your kids watch at their own risk. They might be concussed by osmosis.

Staley's purpose is to entertain children -- perhaps children of all ages -- as if Soldier Field were Medieval Times.

Colleges have more imposing mascots, like Ralphie the Buffalo at Colorado and UGA the Bulldog at Georgia.

If it were my call, the Bears' mascot would be a Monster or collection of Monsters of the Midway. You know, perhaps something called Godzillakong or Draculenstein.

Short of that, how about one real menacing bear running loose around the stadium? OK, maybe not loose, but on a long leash. OK, maybe not loose or on a leash, but in a steel cage.

If he scares little kids, so be it. They'll get over it and grow up to be hardened Bears fans, not a generation of wimps like has been cultivated lately.

Name the bear something more frightening than a box of starch. One suggestion would be to replace "Staley" with "Butka" in honor of two former Bears you might be familiar with.

(Stop it, folks. The Bears can't put Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka in a cage, wheel them around Soldier Field and encourage them taunt the current edition of alleged NFL tough guys.)

As much as Staley is a mascot peeve of mine, a compromise is possible.

Staley can stay if the McCaskeys revive the Honey Bears adult-entertainment cheerleader squad.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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