Humid, Hot, Hazy. Yep, today actually felt like training camp in Bourbonnais. But the last practice before the first game became the day Kelvin Hayden's season ended. The 9-year veteran tore his hamstring during practice at Soldier Field last weekend, an injury that will require surgery and 6-8 months of rehab. Disappointing because playing nickel is one of the more difficult positions on defense. And while the Bears have players with some experience at the position- Tim Jennings, Zac Bowman, Sherrick Mcmannis-- its 2nd year cornerback Isaiah Frey who is being called the next man up.
Frey appeared in all 4 preseason games last season but spent 2012 on the practice squad. He arrived at camp this year hoping to turn some heads and compete for a spot. He's done that and says he wants to prove he's reliable, that he can do his job and most importantly show they veterans he can be counted on the help them win, because in his words, "they deserve it".
Frey is certainly not going to be alone when it comes to players trying to prove their worth in the first preseason game in Carolina. Head Coach Marc Trestman made it clear the starters won't be playing long, if at all. Those that do will be pulled in the first quarter, and who can blame them. With the injury to Hayden, the number of NFL players out for the season is already in double digits. And Trestman - from the "play it safe" mentality, won't be pushing it with anybody. If someone feels tightness, they usually leave practice. Chris Conte & Corey Wootten did just that today.
Earl Bennett was on the sidelines watching, exactly how he'll see the first preseason game on Friday because of a concussion. Julius Peppers was out for personal reasons again- his status is unknown. DJ Williams is still limping around in a walking boot. We've had little info on his status other than day to day. Same was said for Jonathon Scott with knee soreness. (day to day)
As for Jermon Bushrod- his calf is still wrapped but its feeling better. He did not say whether he would play in the game, other than to say it depends on how he feels after doing more today than he has since the injury. Bushrod wants to play, but he's going to be very cautious until the games count.
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