Under the lights

For the work his team has put in over the last week, Lovie Smith gave his players the morning off, but it was time to return to work Tuesday night.

"I didn't want them to know about it, it's a lot better when you get something you're really not expecting. But they've been working hard; we've practiced long hours," Smith said about canceling Tuesday's morning session.

According to Smith, the fact that the Bears have numerous players out with muscle pulls didn't have any impact on the decision.

"When once all 53 guys have a muscle problem then we'll start thinking about doing something different," Smith said. "If you really look at some of the muscle problems guys have had in the past. If you're a muscle (pull) guy you're going to be one really most of your life. The guys that concern you are the guys that never pull (a muscle)."

The additional rest helped Alex Brown return to practice Tuesday night after missing time with a calf strain. He's expected to play in Saturday's scrimmage against the St. Louis Rams.

Jonathan Quinn returned to practice Tuesday night after getting a day to rest a sore right arm. Mike Gandy, who has been out with a groin pull, got in his first padded practice.

RB Adrian Peterson and LB Bryan Knight are the latest to join the hamstring pull list. WR Aaron Boone had to leave Thursday's practice with an internal bruise.

The Bears are still unsure how long TE Desmond Clark will be out because of a hamstring pull hamstring. There have been reports of four weeks, which coupled with John Gilmore's hamstring injury leaves Dustin Lyman with a lot of snaps.

"Dustin has looked well. We really kind of consider him really a starter," Smith said. "We play two tight ends quite a bit. Dustin has had an excellent camp so far, an excellent off-season so far."

Roster Move: With only three healthy tight ends on the roster in Lyman, Gage Reid and Mark Anelli the Bears signed Mike Pinkard Monday. The 6-4, 259-pound tight end was a member of the 2004 NFL Europe World Bowl Champion Berlin Thunder, ranking fourth on the team with 22 receptions for 234 yards and three touchdowns.

The Arizona State product entered the NFL in 2003 as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pinkard was waived prior to the start of the 2003 regular season, but re-signed with the Chiefs in late January. Kansas City waived him for a second time on July 29.

Pinkard, a high school All-America selection from Colorado, caught 46 passes for 794 yards and six touchdowns at ASU after beginning his career as a defensive end.

RB Dwone Hicks left training camp Tuesday.

Linebacker Shuffle: The Bears plan on moving Lance Briggs back and forth between weakside and middle linebacker until Brian Urlacher is ready to return. In the meantime Marcus Reese, who replaced Briggs on the weakside, continues to impress Smith with his play.

Job Security: It doesn't appear Brad Maynard will have to worry about Brooks Barnard beating him out of a roster spot.

"Brad is our punter now and I don't see that really changing," Smith said.

Special Guest: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be in attendance Thursday afternoon at the Rams-Bears practice at Western Illinois University. From there he'll head to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to take part in this weekend's enshrinement ceremonies.

Bear Report Top Stories