Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 08/03/2008 - 21:15
First-round offensive tackle Chris Williams appears nowhere near close to returning to the practice field, let alone challenging for the starting job on the left side currently being occupied by John St. Clair, who has been a full-time starter in just two of his eight previous NFL seasons, the last time in 2004.
Starting left guard Terrence Metcalf, who still has to prove that he belongs with the first team permanently, has missed the last two days of practice with a bruised knee. That has given first-team reps to Josh Beekman and Anthony Oakley, neither of whom is qualified to start.
That scenario led a high-ranking member of the Bears' front office to admit, “We have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. This is definitely a work in progress.”
Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 08/02/2008 - 23:23
The Bears caught a break Saturday when the Carolina Panthers, their Week Two opponent, suspended Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith for the first two games of the season.
On Friday, during practice, Smith got into a sideline altercation with Panthers safety Ken Lucas and broke his nose. A day later the team announced the suspension, which is great news for the Bears, especially considering the way Smith torched their secondary in the Panthers' 29-21 upset victory over the Bears at Soldier Field in the second-round of the playoffs after the 2005 regular season.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 13:09
Offensive coordinator Ron Turner says he knows nothing about the possibility of Brett Favre being traded to the Bears, a scenario that the Packers are considering, according to a Thursday story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“I went back to my room after (Thursday morning) meetings, turned the TV on and heard it, saw it, and I just kind of chuckled because I, have no idea where it came from,” Turner said. “I don’t know what’s going on up there (in Green Bay), but I know what’s going on here, and we’ve got two quarterbacks that are competing, and they’re doing a good job and we’re getting ready for our season.”
The Journal Sentinel story also said Favre is interested in playing for the Vikings.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 07/30/2008 - 10:06
Contrary to what has become a case of mistaken identity, Tom Thayer was not the former NFL player and current member of the media who referred to the Bears' offensive line as “Garbage; total garbage,” in my story on July 29.
For the record, Thayer is a huge Olin Kreutz fan, and he doesn't believe that injured rookie Chris Williams has fallen too far behind – yet – because he's a smart enough player to absorb the playbook and take the mental reps necessary to know his assignments when he does get back on the field.
Thayer, who was a starting guard for the Bears for eight years, starting with the Super Bowl season of 1985, provides color commentary on the team's radio broadcasts on WBBM AM-780.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 21:56
Dusty Dvoracek, who won the starting nose tackle job last year in training camp but then suffered a season-ending knee injury, has not been able to practice yet in training camp because of a calf injury, but he said there's no way that will keep him off the field when the regular season starts Sept. 7.
“Obviously I want to be out there really bad, but it is what it is,” said Dvoracek, who expects to be cleared for a return to practice soon. “I'm looking forward to getting back out there with my teammates again, flying around having a good time playing football.”
Posted by Bob LeGere on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 21:07
Monday's performance wasn't an encouraging sign for what is currently a rag-tag offensive line.
Josh Beekman, last year's fourth-round pick who is starting at center until Olin Kreutz returns, was manhandled by backup defensive tackle Matt Toeaina in one-on-one pass-rush drills. Beekman has also been touted as a possible contender for the starting left guard spot currently held by Terrence Metcalf. Toeaina might not even make the final roster, considering he's behind Tommie Harris, Anthony Adams, Israel Idonije, Dusty Dvoracek and rookie Marcus Harrison on the depth chart.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 07/27/2008 - 13:14
A much richer and healthier Devin Hester is expected to join his teammates in today's 3 p.m. practice after agreeing to terms on a four-year contract extension that contains $15 million in guaranteed money and a total of $30 million minimum but could be worth up to $40 million if he reaches all the incentives.
According to ESPN.com, the final year of the deal, 2013, includes a $10 million roster bonus if Hester reaches performance levels of a No. 1 receiver over the course of the deal. Hester's base pay for this season is $445,000.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Sun, 07/27/2008 - 12:15
The Bears agreed to terms with Pro Bowl return specialist Devin Hester on a four-year contract extension just before noon today. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Hester’s new contract runs through the 2013 season.
After just two seasons, Hester is only 2 kick-return touchdowns away from tying the all-time NFL career record of 13 set by Brian Mitchell in 14 seasons. Hester has 89 punt returns for 1,251 yards, 7 touchdowns and a 14.1-yard average - the highest in NFL history. On 63 kickoff returns Hester has 1,462 yards, 4 touchdowns and a 23.2-yard average. He also has a 108-yard return touchdown on a missed field goal and a 92-yard kickoff return score on the opening play of Super Bowl XLI.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Sat, 07/26/2008 - 13:34
Devin Hester attended the Bears' Saturday morning practice that featured a heavy dose of special teams, but he did not participate, even though he did not appear to be hindered by the phantom hamstring injury that is likely to linger until his contract extension is finalized.
First-round pick Chris Williams was also just an observer, and the offensive tackle did not appear to be moving particularly well in the wake of the back spasms he suffered Thursday. Veteran backup John St. Clair remains the starting left tackle and could be there for quite a while, perhaps even into the regular season, if Williams misses significant practice time.
The Bears have a 7 p.m. practice this evening at ONU's Ward Field.
Posted by Bob LeGere on Fri, 07/25/2008 - 17:53
Devin Hester hopes to be back on the practice field by the end of the weekend, but it probably won't happen without a contract extension.
Hester ended his two-day holdout by arriving early Friday morning and attending team meetings, but he did not participate in the afternoon practice. Bears coach Lovie Smith blamed it on a tight hamstring, but as soon as the Bears' purse strings loosen up, Hester will be 100 percent.
Asked if he would return to practice without a contract extension, Hester said, “I have no comment on that.”
Ar first, Hester joked that he showed up at Olivet Nazarene University for a free meal.