A-Train makes a temporary stop

<!--Default NodeId For Anthony Thomas is 741795,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:741795]>Anthony Thomas</A> is looking to bounce back from injury and a poor 2002 season, but his comeback hit a small bump Tuesday. The running back sat out of practice due to back spasms.

I woke up a little sore today," Thomas said. "I took the day off and will come back tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure that everything was right. I don't want to go out there and pull anything real early and hurt myself.

Thomas partook in the team's May and June practices, but hasn't been in hit since he suffered a broken hand against Green Bay last year (12/1).

"We did a lot of pounding on the first day and we haven't done that in a while," Thomas said.

At this point the injury isn't a major concern for a team trying to rejuvenate a running game that finished the season with the fewest yards rushing per game.

"Just muscular is what I've been told," Jauron said. "Hopefully he'll be back on the field quickly. I don't know if he'll practice this afternoon-we have a walkthrough and a hard lift. Maybe (Wednesday) morning, maybe not, but they don't think it's very serious."

News and Notes
Justin Gage made his training camp debut Tuesday. The receiver had been sidelined because of hamstring pull.

Tyree Foreman was carted off the field with a right ankle sprain.

The Bears waived tight end Patrick Hughes, who was a college free agent signed by the Bears following the 2003 NFL Draft.

The move was made to make room for Casey Urlacher. The brother of the Bears star middle linebacker signed a three-year deal with the team Tuesday night. He partook in the team's June practice sessions after trying out with the club as a fullback during the post-draft mini-camp.

Soldier Field on target
After the media got done chasing players around practice Monday, there was only one guy left standing. And he wasn't wearing a helmet or shoulder pads.

Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips told reporters that "new" Soldier Field is taking shape and that the home of the Bears should be ready for the Sept. 29 debut -- a Monday Night game against the Green Bay Packers.

"Right now they're working -- I can't say 'round the clock -- but they're putting in the hours right now to get it done," Phillips said. "Probably one of the last areas to be completed will be the upper suite level. Other than that, every week I go down there and the place is looking phenomenal.

"It's getting real exciting."

Phillips said the lights at Soldier Field were getting "burned for 100-hours straight," which began Monday. The estimated cost of the new stadium project is $632 million.

The new stadium, which has a seating capacity of 61,500, is being financed with the sale of $432 million in bonds backed by hotel-motel taxes. There's also a $200 million contribution from the Bears -- including a $100 million loan from the NFL -- in part from the sale of stadium seat licenses.

The Bears last played at Soldier Field on Jan. 19, 2002 when they lost in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Eagles. Last season the Bears played all their home games at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. They'll play two preseason games in Champaign before returning to their regular home since 1971 to play the Packers.

* Back to Bourbonnais? The Bears and Olivet Nazarene University are hoping to extend their original two-year contract for training camp soon.

"ONU and the Bears want to do an extension. It's just taking the time to get it done," Phillips said. "It won't take long once we get into it."


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