BEARS RELEASE FORMER FIRST-ROUND PICK WILLIAMS: The Bears have terminated offensive lineman Chris Williams' contract, ending a disappointing run for the former first-round draft pick.
Williams never lived up to his billing after being taken out of Vanderbilt with the 14th overall pick in 2008. He started 20 games at left guard, 11 at right tackle and seven at left tackle but never could settle into a position thanks to injuries and poor play.
He came into training camp this year competing with J'Marcus Webb for the starting spot at left tackle but was unable to beat him out. And when the Bears signed journeyman Jonathan Scott last month, Williams' days appeared to be numbered.
Besides letting Williams go on Tuesday, the Bears also signed cornerback Zack Bowman to a one-year contract.
JUDGE WANTS TO SEE NFL BOUNTY DOCUMENTS: A federal magistrate judge has ordered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to provide the court with documents related to the league's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints.
The order by Magistrate Daniel Knowles on Tuesday came in response to suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma's efforts to initiate the discovery process in his defamation case against the commissioner. Vilma has said the NFL has allowed him to review only a fraction of documents related to bounty matter.
Knowles issued a compromise order in which only the court, and not Vilma, may see the documents — including reports of interviews with witnesses — before a subsequent order is made on whether to allow discovery to proceed.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said league officials have already discussed the order with Knowles and have agreed to comply.
HAWKS' JIMMY HAYES AT BRIDGES: The Blackhawks' Jimmy Hayes will sign autographs and pose for photos with fans from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Bridges Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar in Griffith.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Call (219) 924-2206 for details.
BETTMAN, NHL MAKE NEW OFFER IN HOPE OF FULL SEASON: The stalled talks between the NHL and the players' association finally got a jumpstart.
After watching 34 days pass without a new proposal being offered from either side in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, Commissioner Gary Bettman made a new offer to the NHLPA that proposes a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue and a full 82-game season starting Nov. 2.
As talks resumed for the first time since last week between the league and the union, Bettman proudly announced the offer, which is crafted for — if nothing else — a quick response from the head of the players' association, Donald Fehr, followed by some serious negotiations either here or in New York.
"It was done," Bettman said, "in the spirit of getting a deal done."
Fehr told reporters that the proposal is for six years. Bettman did not confirm that number.
"Our hope," he said, "after we review this is that there will be a feeling on the players' side that this will be a proposal from which we can negotiate and try and reach a conclusion."
When asked if the new proposal was an improvement over previous offers made by the NHL, Fehr said: "In some respects I think it is. In other respects, I'm not sure. We have to look at it."
ROBINSON, HAMILTON LEAD BULLS PAST BUCKS: Nate Robinson scored 24 points, and Richard Hamilton added 23 to lead the Bulls in a 100-94 preseason victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
Joakim Noah scored 16 points for the Bulls (2-2). Robinson started in place of Kirk Hinrich, who sat out with a sore right thumb.
GEORGE LIFTS PACERS TO WIN OVER HAWKS: Paul George had 20 points and eight reounds to lead the Pacers to a 102-98 preseason win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Roy Hibbert had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana (2-1) and David West scored 11 points while playing just one quarter.
Around the horn
All the single ladies will be watching the upcoming Super Bowl along with football lovers — that's because Beyonce is the halftime show performer. The NFL confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon after Beyonce posted a photo of herself sporting eye black, where "Feb. 3" is written on one and "2013" on the other, on her Tumblr page. ... Consecutive blown fourth-quarter leads have cost Juan Castillo his job as the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator. Castillo was fired Tuesday and replaced by secondary coach Todd Bowles.