"Bobby will get work definitely and we've been very pleased," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He's a very trustworthy guy, a very hard-working guy. We missed him last year as a rookie when he got out of the lineup and off our special teams units.
The 6-foot, 212-pound Gray was a fifth-round draft pick out of Louisiana Tech, who impressed coaches as a rookie before dislocating his in Week 3. The injury ended his season.
"I'm really happy to have him back, He's got an opportunity to be out there working a lot more than he normally does, getting more reps."
Green moved into the starting lineup last year and started all 16 games, ranking second on the Bears with 138 tackles one year after posting 68 as Chicago's top nickel back. Although sticking out in practice is a step in the right direction, to overtake Green as the starter Gray is going to need a solid exhibition season.
"I'm looking forward to getting the chance to prove myself to the coaches and the fans," Gray said.
"Last season was difficult for everybody. There were an unbelievable amount of injuries and it got pretty discouraging. Everybody is back now and I think that this year is going to be a very positive thing."
Time for a breather
While the Bears have avoided major injuries during the first two weeks of training camp there have a few bumps and bruises along the way.
With the preseason opener Saturday, Jauron decided to give his players a break.
"I thought they were a little leg-heavy the last couple days and just wanted to get them to a point where they have their legs on Saturday night," he said. "I want to make sure that they're as fresh as they can be."
Mike Green wasn't the only player that watched practice Thursday.
Chris Villarrial sat out a second straight day also because of groin pull. The guard will be reevaluated Friday before the medical staff makes a determination on his playing status for Saturday.
"Chris Villarrial said he feels pretty good, but we'll have to wait and see," said head coach Dick Jauron. "He's confident he'll play. The great thing about most of our guys, and particularly a guy like Chris, he wants to play badly. So he'd probably say that regardless of how he felt. But we'll see on that."