Currie Hopes to Add Downfield Threat

WR Airese Currie has been on the non-football injury list all season, but the fifth-round pick practiced Wednesday for the first time this season and could be in uniform Sunday.

The Bears are in need of speed after deep threats Bernard Berrian (thumb) and Mark Bradley (knee) were lost in back-to-back games. Currie was a three-time all-ACC sprinter at Clemson with a personal best of 10.29 in the 100 meters.

While Currie has been off the practice field, he's been running full speed on his own for months, and he's kept up with his classroom work. So wide receivers coach Darryl Drake believes he can help on a team that's down to five wideouts including Carl Ford, who has played exclusively on special teams.

"I don't know about making an impact, but there's a place for him," Drake said. "He's been around, he's very studious, he's been in those meetings and he's taken notes. It'll take a little time, but he'll be able to come in and contribute and do some things to help us."

Currie is anxious to get involved, since it's been almost a year since he's played in game.

"It's been a long wait," he said. "It's been like (last) November since I put on the helmet and pads."

Currie thought he could have been ready to play at the start of the season, but the Bears took the conservative route.

"It was hard to come in every day and watch everybody else on film knowing that you want to be out there," Currie said. "But I did a real good job of staying focused, going over little things that coach was talking about, just staying in my playbook and trying to help myself out the best way I could."

Lacking Deep Connection
Muhsin Muhammad leads the Bears by a wide margin with 34 catches and 386 yards, but his 11.4-yard average is 2 yards below his career average, and he's far from last year's pace, when he led the NFL with 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns on 93 catches for a 15.1-yard average.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner believes the connection with rookie quarterback Kyle Orton will get stronger as they gain more experience together.

"It's just getting the timing; having a good feel for one another," Turner said. "It's knowing exactly where each other is going to be, how they're going to run their route, all that stuff. It all ties in. We're going to keep working at it. They'll get it. They'll hit it. We'll just keep doing it until we get that feel. And once it clicks it will be there more consistently."

Award Winning Performance
Charles "Peanut" Tillman was voted NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his game-winning, 22-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Other than the respect of his teammates, Tillman doesn't get anything for winning the award.

"I'm fine if I don't get anything," he said. "You probably get a pat on your back from your teammates, which is fine."

Tillman is tied with Nathan Vasher for first on the team with three interceptions and for fourth with 52 tackles.

While he did miss Wednesday's practice with a quad injury, he's probable for the game against the Saints and expected to start.

Medically Speaking
RB Thomas Jones was listed as probable on the injury report with bruised ribs, but for the first time in four weeks his sprained knee was not mentioned.

P Brad Maynard (calf) is also listed as probable, while G Ruben Brown (pectoral) is questionable.


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