Rams help Bears in relief effort

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It’s no secret the St. Louis Rams want to beat the daylights out of the Chicago Bears on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

But the Rams organization showed how competition often takes a backseat to compassion after devastating events. The Rams reached out to the Bears this week and donated a 16-person suite for Sunday’s game, complete with free food and beverage in addition to pregame passes, for the Bears to place on their online auction coordinated with the American Red Cross to help raise money for families that suffered losses Sunday during a series of tornados that swept through Illinois and the Midwest.

During the online auction conducted by the Bears and Bears Care, fans can bid on game-worn and game-used equipment from the club’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, and the organization will match dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000 all proceeds from the auction, which will be given to the American Red Cross to help families in Illinois affected by the tornados.

In addition to the suite donated by the Rams, the auction will feature the jerseys of defensive ends Julius Peppers and David Bass and receiver Alshon Jeffery. The auction also features the game-worn pants of running back Matt Forte, quarterback Josh McCown and receiver Brandon Marshall, as well as a game ball signed by coach Marc Trestman, plus the coin used Sunday in the pregame coin toss and prior to overtime.

The NFL won't allow the Bears to put anything on their jerseys or uniforms to show support for the people in Illinois affected by the storms. But on Wednesday, Trestman and rookie guard Kyle Long wore the T-shirts of the Washington Community High School football team in Washington, Ill.

“Everybody knows the damage that was done in Washington, and the Washington Panthers football team is playing in a semifinal game on Saturday,” Trestman said. “As an organization we just wanted to do something to let them know we support them, and that we wish them well.”

An EF4 tornado swept through Washington, Ill., on Sunday, leaving one dead and thousands without homes, according to reports.

“This shirt is from the Washington Panthers from Washington, Ill., one of many places that experienced some traumatic stuff with the tornado and the inclement weather,” Long said. “As a team, we send our wishes out and our thoughts and prayers out to the people of Illinois and everybody who’s been affected by the storms. Just want to wear the shirt because I just want to support the local football team. I think they’re in contention for the state title right now. So that’s pretty cool.”

On Monday, a day after the tornadoes hit, several Chicago Bears visited Coal City, Ill., in an American Red Cross emergency response vehicle to deliver supplies to families affected there. Kicker Robbie Gould was among the group, along with cornerbacks Zack Bowman and Sherrick McManis and linebacker Blake Costanzo.

Former Bears Rashied Davis, Anthony Adams and Tom Zbikowski also made the trip.