Benson a No Show

Bourbonnais - Whether Cedric Benson had been in Bourbonnais at the start of camp, Thomas Jones would have been the starter until proven otherwise. Now that Benson has missed the 25-day stretch in Bourbonnais, the competition at running back is over for the time being.

"From the start, we said that Thomas Jones was our starter and we would like to have two running backs that we feel comfortable with," said head coach Lovie Smith. "That's all that's changed. Cedric was coming in to compete with Thomas eventually. The competition hasn't even started right now."

The selection of Benson was thought to be a knock on Thomas Jones, despite the fact that he set career highs in nearly every category last year. Smith has no trouble relaying the positives of Jones' game.

"We feel real good about Thomas Jones," Smith said. "He hasn't missed a practice. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's a good football player and Thomas being our tailback this year, we're going to win a lot of games if that's the case."

Smith has not hidden his frustration about Benson not being in camp and has tried to persuade the fourth overall pick that he needs to be with the team. Even still, the father of three sons has tried to use his years of parenting experience when it comes to dealing with players.

"Losing patience … I have kids and from time to time they don't do exactly what I'd like for them to do, but you still keep them in the family and you love them once they start getting it right," Smith said. "Eventually Cedric will get here and we'll go from there."

Adam "Pac Man" Jones agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans on a five-year deal worth $13.5 million guaranteed. Benson and the Cincinnati Bengals' David Pollack are the only two first round picks yet to sign.

King of the Hill
It didn't take Desmond Clark long to work his way in with the first string offense. Despite missing nearly three months with a sprained ankle, Clark has taken snaps with the first team offense the past two days.

"He's our best tight end, the one with the most ability and most speed," Smith said. "He's played at a higher level in the league than our other players, so it's good to get him out there. That's a weapon that we would like to use this year to really complement the receivers well."

Comings & Goings
Olin Kreutz, Ruben Brown and Muhsin Muhammad all got the day off. In their place were Roberto Garza at center, Steve Edwards at guard and multiple players at wide receiver.

Toward the end of practice, Edwards needed to be carted off the field after feeling dizzy, but is expected to be back at practice on Wednesday.

Joe Odom returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in the game against the Rams.

The Bears will break camp from Olivet Nazarene University following a 3 p.m. practice Wednesday.

Bear Report Top Stories