Bears/Seahawks game snapshot

The Chicago Bears will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in the team's last home game of 2011. We go over everything you need to know to prepare yourself for this weekend's matchup.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 12/18/11
SURFACE: Natural grass

TV: FOX, Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jaime Maggio

KEYS TO THE GAME: RB Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 100-plus yards in five of the past six games despite a constantly changing offensive line that is down three starters. The Bears are 10th in the league in run defense and if they can shut Lynch down early, QB Tarvaris Jackson has been inconsistent and lacks the receivers to stretch the defense with Sidney Rice injured. Bears RB Marion Barber will be eager to atone for last week's game-costing blunders. QB Caleb Hanie won't face an elite pass rush but Seattle's young cornerbacks are aggressive.

FAST FACTS: Seattle has at least nine penalties in eight games this season. ... Chicago is 2-of-26 converting third downs the past two games.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Seahawks

Former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chris Spencer will face his old team for the first time this weekend when they travel to Chicago to face the Bears.

Spencer was selected No. 25 overall by the Seahawks in the 2005 draft as the team's center of the future to replace Robbie Tobeck, who retired two years later.

But after six years of so-so play in Seattle, Spencer moved on in free agency during the offseason and signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Bears, where former Seattle head personal man Tim Ruskell is now head of the scouting department.

"It was my home for six years and I really enjoyed Seattle," Spencer told the Chicago Tribune. "The fans were awesome to me. Unfortunately, I didn't end up staying there. But here I am on another team, getting a chance to play them. I'm pretty excited about it."

Spencer always considered himself a center, but new Seattle offensive line and assistant head coach Tom Cable liked Max Unger coming out of college when he was with Oakland. So once Cable arrived in Seattle, he determined that the Oregon product would be the team's starting center moving forward.

Spencer bristled at the idea of playing guard in Seattle, but now finds himself starting at right guard for the Bears.

Seahawks defensive lineman Red Bryant faced Spencer daily in practice in pass protection and run drills, but now will be lining up against his former teammate for the first time in a game situation.

"It's definitely going to be weird seeing him over there," Bryant said. "Me and Chris, we became friends while we were here, so it's going to be awkward a little bit."

So Will Bryant have a few words to say to his former teammate in between whistles, or let his play do the talking?

"We're going to play," Bryant said. "But every now and then I might give him a shove after the whistle, just to say 'Hey, we're up,' - just to let him know. But it's going to be good."

Added Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane: "We're used to seeing him at center, and now we're seeing him at guard. So it's a little different, but we've watched film and we're ready for the challenge."

Bears

To say Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is the last person who would be suspected of involvement in a major drug scandal that involves federal charges sounds like a cliche, but it's not far from the truth.

He was one of the most outgoing, personable members of the team starting from Day One of training camp. That was the day after he agreed to terms on a three-year, $4.15 million contract as an unrestricted free agent that included a $1.35 million signing bonus.

"I'm just shocked about the situation," said Bears wide receiver Roy Williams, who was also Hurd's teammate for three years with the Dallas Cowboys. "It's a situation that I don't want anybody to be in, especially a close friend, a teammate that I've been playing with for four or five years now, especially a guy from Texas with a wife and daughter. I know it has to be tough for him because he has a family. It's a choice that he made and there are consequences with the choices that you make."

It would be an understatement to say the Wednesday night arrest of Hurd was a shock.

The magnitude of the charges against Hurd is beyond shocking.

Hurd is alleged to have told an undercover investigator that he was seeking to purchase a half-ton of marijuana and 5-10 kilograms of cocaine per week.

Per week.

Hurd reportedly told the undercover agent that he and an accomplice currently distributed four kilograms of cocaine each week, but that his current supplier couldn't meet their demand. He said he would pay $25,000 per kilogram of cocaine and $450 per pound of marijuana.

Hurd was arrested outside a Chicago restaurant Wednesday night after he accepted a kilogram of cocaine from a confidential informant and an undercover federal agent posing as a drug supplier, according to federal charges filed Thursday in Dallas.

No one in the Bears' organization was aware that anything was amiss until Hurd failed to show for meetings Thursday morning.

"Sam wasn't in meetings this morning and from there we start searching and trying to find out why a player wouldn't be here," coach Lovie Smith said. "There was no tip-off. We didn't know it was coming, (it was a) total surprise.

"I'm in shock over it; never saw it coming. My dealings with Sam have all been good. He's a guy that showed up every day ready to go to work."

Hurd had a team-best 40 special teams tackles in his final two years with the Cowboys, which is why he was targeted in the offseason by Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who seemed most upset over the allegations.

"He's been very valuable," Toub said. "He's been a four-phase starter for us. Solid. He's been our (personal protector) on punt team. He's been the captain of our punt team.

"So it's going to take a little bit to replace him," Toub said, his voice cracking. "We're all shocked. I'll just leave it at that."

The bigger concern for the Bears' organization is any possible involvement of Hurd's current teammates, a question that must be asked, given the level of the operation.

"You guys know most of our players around here," Smith said after Thursday's practice. "But with our group -- I'm surprised right now - I really would be shocked if ... I just know that no one else would be involved."

While the situation could become a lot messier for the Bears' organization if others are involved, it has already created a major distraction at an inopportune time with the 7-6 team clinging to tenuous playoff possibilities.

PERSONNEL NEWS

Seahawks

--LB David Hawthorne (knee) returned to practice on Thursday and he should be ready to go on Sunday against Chicago.

--DE Raheem Brock has a strained calf and did not practice for a second straight day.

--OG Robert Gallery (hip) missed practice for a second straight day.

--CB Kennard Cox (hamstring) was a full participant in practice on Thursday.

--QB Tarvaris Jackson (strained pectoral muscle) was a full participant in practice on Thursday and will play on Sunday at Chicago.

--WR Doug Baldwin (ankle) returned to practice on Thursday and was a full participant.

--LB Leroy Hill (neck) was a full participant in practice on Thursday.

--OT Jarriel King (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday after fully participating in practice on Wednesday.

--CB Richard Sherman (knee) did not practice on Thursday after full participated in practice on Wednesday.

Bears

--QB Jay Cutler (right thumb) hasn't practiced yet since he was injured Nov. 20 and isn't close to being able to play.

--RB Matt Forte has yet to practice since suffering a sprained knee on Dec. 4 and he won't play this week.

--DT Henry Melton (shin) missed a second straight day of practice, but he is expected to play on Sunday.

--CB Charles Tillman (knee) missed a second straight day of practice, but he is expected to play Sunday.

--OG Edwin Williams (calf) was limited for a second straight day but the injury isn't expected to keep him out Sunday.

--SS Major Wright (shoulder) was limited for a second straight day, and he could miss his second straight game.


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