A bump in Chicken Dinner Road

The Chicago Bears don’t have future plans for former Boise State star Shea McClellin. If the Chicago Bears draft a middle linebacker, or an outside linebacker, or a defensive end in the first two rounds of the draft, it won’t affect Shea McClellin. The Bears don’t have future plans for the former Boise State star regardless, announcing yesterday that they have declined the fifth-year option on McClellin’s contract in 2016. Chicago tried its 2012 first-round pick at end and outside ‘backer over his first three NFL seasons, and the result has been only 7.5 sacks in 40 games. The club plans to move him to middle linebacker this year. The fifth-year option for McClellin was for $7.715 million, too much for the Bears to bear considering the one-time Marsing Husky’s production. He’s scheduled to earn $1,516,827 this season.

What’s ahead now for McClellin? He hopes to stick with the Bears. “It’s tough just because I’ve been moved around and a lot of different things have happened,” McClellin said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times after minicamp practice yesterday. “I still think I got a lot left in the tank, and I’ll definitely show what I can be.” He was part of Boise State history on draft night in 2012, when he and Doug Martin became the first Broncos to go in the first round the same year. McClellin was the 19th overall pick, and his old home on Chicken Dinner Road got a lot of sudden publicity.

There are other peripheral NFL Draft notes as they pertain to Boise State alums. Is Denver trying to set the table for a future without Ryan Clady? NFL.com has four different panelists projecting tonight’s first round, and two of them have Denver taking offensive tackles. One prospect is Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings and the other is Oregon’s Jake Fisher. Then again, the concern in the Mile High City is more with the right side of the offensive line than the left, as Chris Clark isn’t cutting it at right tackle. Clady is already entering his eighth NFL season—he turns 29 years old in September.

Boise State’s Jay Ajayi is poised to go tomorrow night—in the second or third round—to someone. The popular notion is that Dallas will grab him the second, but two of NFL.com’s pundits see the Cowboys grabbing Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon in the first round. That would shuffle the deck for Ajayi. In Miami, the feeling is that former Bronco Jamar Taylor will be a consistent contributor if he can stay healthy. Cornerback is a position of priority for the Dolphins anyway. Half of the NFL.com panel sees Miami going after a corner in the first round. One expert says it would be Washington’s Marcus Peters and the other Michigan State’s Trae Waynes. Peters is the guy who was booted off the Huskies’ squad by Chris Petersen last fall for, in effect, insubordination.

The three rivals from the West Division of the Mountain West that Boise State won’t be facing the next two regular seasons all have to identify new starting quarterbacks (like so many others). If the Broncos are fortunate enough to make the Mountain West championship game again this December, they’ll likely see one of these guys. Redshirt freshman Hunter Fralick appears to have a leg up in the race to replace Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo. Fralick was 8-of-9 for 62 yards in the Wolf Pack’s spring game last Saturday.

San Diego State wrapped up spring ball more than a month ago. The Aztecs had a cupboard full of QBs in spring drills and appear to have narrowed it down to Maxwell Smith, Christian Chapman and Jake Rodrigues for a fall camp battle. Smith is a fifth-year transfer from Kentucky, where he was an SEC All-Freshman team pick in 2012. Rodrigues is a transfer from Oregon. And at Fresno State, Zach Greenlee has shown massive improvement and has the edge for the Bulldogs. Greenlee had one start last fall and went just 7-of-16 for 55 yards in a 45-17 home loss to Wyoming.

The College of Idaho is prepping for Saturday’s wrapup of spring football, the Purple & Gold Game in Simplot Stadium. Coach Mike Moroski talked about his team yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. He’s excited about quarterback Teejay Gordon’s senior year. Moroski indicates fans will be able to see him Saturday. “He had a little stiffness in his back, and we held him out this past week,” said Moroski. “But he’ll be fine Saturday.” The coach also identified sophomore defensive back Cory Brady as “arguably our most improved player.” Moroski salutes the former Bishop Kelly standout for achieving that status, considering he snagged six interceptions for 188 yards last season.

Gary Stevens and Firing Line have an interesting draw in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Firing Line will start in the No. 10 post, right in the middle of the 20-horse field, and early odds have him at 12-1. That’s not the longest shot in the world. American Pharoah is the favorite at 5-2. Stevens, the former Boisean, has been game-planning Firing Line for the 141st Run For The Roses for months. If you’re counting, Stevens turned 52 in March. He’s easily the oldest jockey in the Derby.

Big crowds sometimes rattle big league pitchers. That hasn’t been the case with Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox during his career. But an empty stadium may have gotten to the former Boise Hawk yesterday. On an unfortunately historic day, Camden Yards was off-limits to fans for the Orioles-White Sox game due to the rioting in Baltimore, and Samardzija yielded six runs in the first inning after allowing nary a run in his previous 10 frames. Samardzija made it through five innings but was responsible for all of Baltimore’s scoring in an 8-2 loss, the first game in Major League history with a zero for attendance. O’s manager Buck Showalter said it was like a day in the instructional league.

This Day In Sports…April 30, 1990, 25 years ago today:

David Cone of the New York Mets forgets the basics of baseball and pays for it in a game against the Atlanta Braves. While arguing a call with umpire Charlie Williams at first base, ball still in glove, two runners scored to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Cone didn’t ask for time out after Mark Lemke was called safe on what would have been a third-out grounder. Teammates desperately tried to get Cone’s attention while Dale Murphy and Ernie Whitt crossed the plate, and the Mets went on to lose, 7-4.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)