Bears Try to Keep Cool Under Extreme Conditions

BOURBONNAIS - In many ways the heat will be on the Bears in 2005, so it was fitting to have training camp open with a practice that reached 100-degrees.

Although practice lasted under two hours, head coach Lovie Smith tried to downplay the extreme conditions.

"We're more concerned about getting our offense and defense in right now," he said.

The team took precautions to avoid players going down from dehydration or heat exhaustion, including three water breaks.

"Sometimes they don't really know how their bodies are really feeling, so we're going to do that, but the heat isn't an issue at all."

Smith proved his point by wearing a long sleeve shirt to practice.

Tempers could rise tomorrow, as the pads come on for a noon practice under a blistering sun that is expected to bring temperatures back in the high nineties.

"We get a chance to at least hit tomorrow and it's time to do that," Smith said.

Rex in the city: Rex Grossman is excited to be healthy and excited to have a new offense in place.

"I feel I understand this offense a lot more than I did last year," said Grossman, who tore his ACL in the third game last season and missed 13 games. "A lot of times last year I didn't maybe agree with some reads, so it was like a learning process. This one, ever since I started to learn it, everything made sense so it was easier to pick up."

Grossman is only 3-3 as the team's starter and has yet to remain healthy. But Turner likes what he sees in his starting quarterback.

"He's hungry," Turner said of Grossman. "He's really hungry and he realizes what he lost last year and I think that's made him even more hungry.

"He's got a tremendous attitude and he wants to do well. He's doing everything he can right now."

Grossman and Muhsin Muhammad proved to be a tough match-up for the defense. The duo hooked up on several routes throughout practice.

"We need the rest of the practices (to see where they are) of course, but it's a good start today," Smith said. "I thought Rex threw the ball fairly well, Moose made some good plays, as did some of our other receivers."

Unfinished Business: While QB Kyle Orton was in camp on time, running back Cedric Benson, the No. 4 overall pick, is the team's last draft choice still unsigned.

"We can only coach the guys who are here, but hopefully he'll be here soon," said Turner, the head coach at Illinois last season. "He needs to be here. You probably start worrying (like) last week. He needs to be here and get going."

Dinner & A Show: As teammates and coaches had dinner, WR Mark Bradley supplied the entertainment for the evening. The rookie was made to stand on top of a chair and sing to the amusement of veterans.

During practice, Bradley supplied excitement for fans with a deep reception over CB Rashied Davis.


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