Tommie Boy gets on board

BOURBONNAIS -- Tommie Harris promised new Bears coach Lovie Smith he wouldn't miss any training camp. <P> He didn't keep his word.

The defensive tackle from Oklahoma and first-round draft pick was absent from the first day of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University Wednesday.

However, he agreed to terms with the team on a five-year contract late in the day. Even though that was good news to Bears coaches and personnel, Harris wasn't able to make it to Bourbonnais for practice Wednesday afternoon.

"Tommie's on his way, so we're off and running," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said.

The total worth of the deal Harris' deal is $9.5 million. Still the Bears compromised because they were seeking a six-year contract with the 14th overall pick.

"It's what we felt that's what that middle ground was," Angelo said. "There's wins for a team with a 6-year deal for a player and there's wins for us with a 5 and obviously him too. No big deal. It's something that we felt was in the best interest of both of us."

Third-round pick Bernard Berrian, a wide receiver from Fresno State, also came to terms with the team on a four-year deal worth $2.1 million. The Bears will have all their draft picks in camp starting Thursday.

Harris, the 14th overall pick, was the 2003 Lombardi Trophy winner as the nation's top interior lineman. Harris started for Oklahoma in 37 of 38 career games and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors each of his three seasons with the Sooners. Harris was a consensus first-team All-American as a sophomore and junior, and had nine sacks and 33 tackles for loss during his career.

"(Tommie's) a first-round pick and a big part of what we're going to do this year," Smith said. "He said, 'He would be here, (you) can count on me, and I'm coming to help you win this year, Coach.' We're very excited about getting him here."

* Train wreck: Anthony Thomas, otherwise known as A-Train, has been derailed by the Bears coaching staff. The team brought in Thomas Jones, a former first round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, and said he's going to be the starter.

Jones has been a disappointment so far during his career, while Thomas was the 2001 NFC Rookie of the Year and rushed for over 1,000 yards in two of his three seasons with the team. That hasn't helped him keep his job in Chicago.

Now the word is Thomas is being shopped around, even possibly to Miami, which lost Ricky Williams to retirement.

"I heard a couple rumors, but they are rumors," Thomas said. "No one ever called me. So, I don't know, that's it."

* Let's get it on: The Bears will begin full-contact drills today at camp. In the past, Dick Jauron stayed away from major contact and tackling.

Smith, who already had bad luck with an injury to Brian Urlacher in non-contact drills Wednesday, has said the team will beef up its contact in full pads.

"When we put the pads on, the intensity is going to go up," cornerback R.W. McQuarters said. "(Wednesday) was the first practice to break guys in, just get them familiar with what we're about to do and get the rookies used to training camp.

"But it will definitely pick up."


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