2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Question marks for Bears as 2012 prep begins

    2012-04-10 17:25

DES PLAINES, Ill. (AP) - It might be a while before the Chicago Bears get a look at all the pieces general manager Phil Emery has assembled in free agency for next season.

The Bears begin their voluntary offseason program with players Monday and it's possible they won't have running back Matt Forte, linebacker Brian Urlacher or running back Kahlil Bell available. Forte can't participate unless he signs his franchise free-agent tender of $7.74 million, and the same is true of Bell, who has received a tender offer as a restricted free agent.

``In the offseason, I tell the guys if you have an issue with your contract, out of season is the time to work on those things,'' coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday before the team's Ed Block courage award was presented to Urlacher. ``That's what Matt is going through right now. I'm on record of how we feel about Matt Forte. We start up Monday. Hopefully he'll be there. If he's not, then we're going to go to work with the players that we have there. We have a lot of time.''

Urlacher's participation will likely be spotty. He suffered a sprained left knee in the regular-season finale and did not need surgery, but he is not going to rush his recovery.

``I've still got 3 1/2 months, four months,'' Urlacher said. ``So I'm definitely not in a big hurry. I've done everything up to this point that I've been asked to do. I'm going to keep doing what I've been told to do. Like I've said ... when the time is right I'll be ready to play. I'm not worried about it. It's not an issue. I'll be good to go.''

The Bears do not have minicamp for the full team until the end of their offseason program, in late June. The late minicamp could also benefit tackle Gabe Carimi, who is coming off knee surgery, and guard Chris Williams, whose 2011 season ended due to a dislocated wrist.

It's less certain when wide receiver Johnny Knox will be available after December back surgery following an injury against Seattle.

``He's making a lot of progress,'' Smith said. ``From the time we saw him on the field lying on the field to where he is right now, you know, making the same type of progress throughout. Things should be OK for him. As far as when he'll be back 100 percent and ready to go, I don't know that.''

Urlacher is ecstatic over the moves the team has made in Emery's first free agency signing period. The Bears acquired eight new players including wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and signing five of their own free agents.

``It's exciting to see us making moves like that because we haven't done that a lot in the past,'' Urlacher said. ``We needed a receiver, we got a receiver. We still have the draft. All the pressure has been taken off of our draft with what he's done so far.''

Urlacher isn't worried about Marshall's off-field problems or his battle with borderline personality disorder. Urlacher thinks Marshall's close relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler will help.

``I'm not worried about him,'' Urlacher said. ``Jay is a straightforward guy. He's been around Brandon. So I don't think there will be an issue.

When the season does start, Urlacher said game officials could be scrutinizing defensive players' hits even more as a result of the New Orleans Saints bounty case.

``It's always touchy,'' Urlacher said. ``It's going be even more so after all this stuff went down.''

Notes: The award given to Urlacher is for inspiration, sportsmanship and courage in difficult situations. Urlacher's mother, Lavoyda Lenard, died unexpectedly early last season. The award is voted on by Bears players. ``Any time your teammates give you an award, that's a big deal,'' Urlacher said.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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