Exploring All Options at Wideout

Lake Forest - With the start of the season 17 days away, the Bears are still trying to decide what receiver to start opposite Muhsin Muhammad. Bernard Berrian and Justin Gage have shared first team reps, but a rookie is having the most impressive preseason.

Although Mark Bradley has an extra game under his belt, he leads the NFL this preseason with 12 receptions for 243 yards. He's also put up his production against second and third team defenses, a fact that will change on Friday.

The six-foot, 200-pound wideout will get a chance to work with the first team offense against the Buffalo Bills.

"I'm really excited about it," Bradley said. "It's just another step to move forward. It's still early, so I just have to go out and keep doing what I've been doing these past preseason games."

Even though offensive coordinator Ron Turner said Bradley isn't being considered for a starting job yet, it's hard to ignore his combination of speed and size. All but one of his receptions has resulted in a first down and he's averaging 20.2 yards per catch.

"He's a playmaker," said head coach Lovie Smith. "He has a lot of ability. We've done quite a few things with him. He's been the gunner on our punt team, returning the kickoffs, and of course what he has done at the wide receiver position. He can do a lot. I am excited about seeing him grow in the different roles."

One Down One to Go
While Bobby Wade may have claimed the punt return job with his 54-yard touchdown against the Colts, the search to find a temporary replacement in the kick return game has been a struggle.

Jerry Azumah continues to rehab from hip surgery, which has given several players the opportunity to return kicks in the preseason with little success. The Bears have averaged 19.8 yards per attempt through three games.

Dislocated fingers have limited Bernard Berrian to just three kickoffs thus far. Soreness in his left hand has improved and he could see more action in the return game against Buffalo.

Backfield in Motion
As Bryan Johnson continues to be sidelined from complications from off-season foot surgery, it appears Marc Edwards could be the opening day starter at fullback.

"(I'm) very comfortable with him," Smith said of Edwards. "He's a veteran. He knows how to play the game. He knows his role. He's great with protections. He's been a good lead blocker for Thomas (Jones). We're very pleased with what he's been able to do."

Edwards signed with the Bears two days before the start of training camp. A rash of injuries at fullback have allowed him to rise to the top of the depth chart.

Injury Update
Linebacker Rod Wilson (knee) missed his third straight day of practice and his status for Friday's game is uncertain. Tackle Rob Droege returned to action after missing two days with a sore foot.

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