Bear Bits

The Bears completed their second week of organized team activities. While it's nearly six weeks from players reporting to Bourbonnais, there have been some interesting tidbits to come out of practice.

Mike Brown continues to impress since returning from Achilles surgery. He picked off Rex Grossman and returned the interception for a touchdown in a style reminiscent of his game-winning scores in 2001.

The transition from free to strong safety has been seamless thus far, but the true test will be when he has to back peddle against an opponent.

The second string offensive line from left to right tackle is Bo Lacy, Steve Edwards, Roberto Garza, Qasim Mitchell and Marc Colombo.

Garza exclusively worked at center during Wednesday's practice. He signed a one-year deal with the Bears in hopes of getting a chance to start at right guard. The bulk of the first string reps at the position have gone to Terrence Metcalf.

After cutting PK Nicholas Setta and S Jason Shivers, the Bears have 95 players on the roster with 11 exemptions from NFL Europe. The team will need to trim the squad to 80 players aside from any exemptions before the start of training camp.

With Bryan Johnson unable to practice as he recovers from foot surgery, Jason McKie is working with the first team offense. Considering Johnson's $1.07 million base salary this season, look for McKie to get a serious look at the fulltime role.

The absence of Adewale Ogunleye means more reps for Michael Haynes at left end with the first string defense.

Newly acquired cornerback Rashied Davis has the hands to add depth in the secondary. He's coming off a 2005 season in which he caught 100 passes for the San Jose SaberCats.

However, his true talent lies in the return game. Last year, he led the Arena League with 24.1-yard kick return average and scored four times. This season the five-foot-10, 180-pound Davis returned six kickoffs for scores.

The Bears already have a Pro Bowl kick returner in Jerry Azumah, so Davis has been working on punt returns along with Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vasher and Bobby Wade.

The bulk of the players allocated to NFL Europe have returned to Halas Hall. Among those on the field are QB Ryan Dinwiddie and RB Zack Abron. QB Kurt Kittner and WLB Derrick Ballard will start in the World Bowl on Saturday for the Amsterdam Admirals who will the Berlin Thunder.

The Bears are halfway through their organized team activities. There are two weeks of practices left before the players are given a break until the start of training camp on July 23rd.


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