Bears-Packers Personnel Preview

Although the Bears are focused on what a win at Green Bay will mean for the franchise, there are other things to consider as the regular season comes to an end. Included are updates on the contract status of Lance Briggs and the future of two other veterans.

  • LB Lance Briggs maintained his narrow lead over Brian Urlacher in tackles 162-161. The fact that the third-year linebacker was named to his first career Pro Bowl means his contract demands just went up with one-year left on his rookie deal.

    The Bears will have nearly $20 million in cap room this off-season, with Drew Rosenhaus representing Briggs there is a good chance he will play out his contract and test the free agent market.

  • DE Michael Haynes has been inactive five times this season and three straight games before playing against Atlanta. The former first round pick is in Lovie Smith's doghouse and Haynes plans to discuss his future with the organization at the end of the season. There is a good chance he will be traded or released in the coming months.

  • Despite coming up with an interception against Atlanta, S Mike Green is still a long shot to be with the team when they report to training camp next year. He has three years left on a five-year $10 Million deal. His $1.385 million cap value for next season is too high for a reserve that has been passed by a sixth round draft pick for a starting job and an undrafted free agent for a backup role.

  • SS Mike Brown remains questionable after missing two games with a strained calf. He's yet to practice this week, but he said he is "highly likely" to play Sunday.

  • FS Chris Harris, who has missed two games with a sprained knee, practiced on consecutive days, which is first work since he was injured on Dec. 4 and looked good, according to coach Lovie Smith.

  • RB Cedric Benson, who has missed five games with a sprained knee but could be back this week, said he doesn't expect his conditioning to be a factor when he returns because he'll probably be No. 3 on the depth chart and revert to his early season role, when he was averaging just a handful of carries per game.

  • LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, who missed all of last week's practices and last Sunday's game because of a fractured thumb, practiced again on Thursday and might be back on the field Sunday, although he'll still be wearing a cast on the thumb.

  • C Olin Kreutz (back) missed a second straight day of practice but is probable and will play on Sunday. He's started in 52 consecutive games and 77 of the last 78.

  • G Ruben Brown (chest) missed practice Wednesday, but returned to work Thursday and was removed from the injury list.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad (back) was removed from the injury list after missing practice on Wednesday.

  • LB Brian Urlacher (finger) was removed from the injury list after he returned to practice Thursday.

  • Green Bay Packers
  • MLB Nick Barnett stands an excellent chance of ascending to No. 1 in the Packers record book for single-season tackles. Barnett has 176, four short of linebacker Mike Douglass' standard that has held up since 1981.

  • WR Donald Driver needs only 4 receiving yards to become just the fourth player in club history with three 1,000-yard seasons. James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe (five apiece) and Antonio Freeman (three) are the others.

  • P B.J. Sander was experiencing considerable soreness in his bruised left knee Wednesday, and he didn't practice. He was placed on injured reserve and it appears K Ryan Longwell will handle both kicking and punting duties.

  • WR Rod Gardner, claimed off waivers from Carolina on Tuesday, was on the practice field Wednesday and expects to be activated this weekend.

  • RB Samkon Gado said Wednesday he won't be able to run full speed for probably four weeks, thus ruling out the slimmest chance of his return before the end of the season. The rookie sustained a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in the first quarter of the 48-3 loss at Baltimore on Monday. He won't require surgery. The team has declared him out for Sunday's game against Chicago, though it may hold off on putting him on injured reserve. Third-down specialist Tony Fisher is slated to start in Gado's place.

  • QB Brett Favre will meet with Packers coach Mike Sherman shortly after the season finale to discuss Favre's plans for the future and whether he plans to return next season.

  • TE Bubba Franks returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he aggravated neck and back injuries in the last meeting against Chicago on Dec. 4. However, he was placed on injured reserve a day later.

  • WR Robert Ferguson is questionable to play this weekend, though he did practice after aggravating the torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee Monday. Ferguson missed three games after suffering the injury Oct. 23.

  • FS Nick Collins suffered an upper arm injury in the last game, but he practiced and is probable for Sunday.

  • LG Scott Wells took part in practice after he sustained a ruptured bursa sac in his knee Monday. The injury caused him to miss the last quarter of the game. Wells, though, is probable for Sunday.

  • RG Will Whitticker also managed to practice two days after having to miss the entire second half of the game because of a concussion. He's probable for Sunday.

  • OLB Robert Thomas is questionable for the next game because of a strained quadriceps that has kept him out of four of the last five games. Thomas took part in practice Wednesday.

  • OLB Roy Manning, who replaced Robert Thomas at the weakside spot Monday, practiced and is probable for Sunday despite coming out of the game with a sore shoulder.

  • CB Mike Hawkins is questionable for Sunday. The nickel back aggravated a bruised knee in the second quarter Monday and didn't play the rest of the game. He practiced Wednesday.

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