McGowan Could Start

Lake Forest - The Bears have been hit hard by injury at the safety position over the last two weeks. It appears that Brandon McGowan will get a chance to make his first career start against the Atlanta Falcons.

McGowan has played in just five games and made his first non-special teams tackles of the season last week. He's a likely starter on Sunday because of injuries to starters Mike Brown and Chris Harris.

The undrafted rookie out Maine flew under the radar during training camp. It took McGowan some time to feel he could play in the NFL.

"At first, like coming into camp and preseason and I wasn't getting a lot of reps, I was like ‘wow, I don't belong here.' " But after making the team, after making the 53 man, they kept me here for a reason so I was thinking I've got to make things happen."

Despite not starting against the Steelers, McGowan tied for the team lead with 11 tackles. The total didn't impress him because of the final result.

"100 tackles don't mean anything if you lose. I'd rather zero tackles with a win," McGowan said.

Mike Green, who lost his job to Harris after the season opener, has been passed on the depth chart by McGowan but could still wind up starting Sunday because of the epidemic of injuries at safety.

SS Mike Brown and FS Chris Harris are both listed as doubtful. It's a virtual lock that Brown won't play on Sunday with a strained calf. Harris' sprained knee is likely to keep him from playing on Sunday for the second straight week.

Even reserve Todd Johnson is questionable with a hip pointer, but he may be forced into action with Brown and Harris both sidelined.

Health Beat

  • LB Hunter Hillenmeyer is doubtful with a broken thumb. He played with the injury against the Steelers, but did sit out Wednesday's practice.

  • DT Ian Scott also missed practice with a sprained ankle and is questionable. He's likely to play through the injury as he finished the Pittsburgh game with the same ailment.

  • G Terrence Metcalf returned to practice on Wednesday after missing his first game of the season with a shoulder problem. He's listed as questionable against the Falcons.

  • FB Bryan Johnson is doubtful with a sore back. A hit on the second play of the game against Pittsburgh caused the damage. If he were unable to go against Atlanta, Jason McKie would get the start.

  • RB Cedric Benson continues to run on the side at practice, but only in a straight line. He is listed as doubtful. He is not expected to play Sunday.

    Roster Shuffling
    Despite the injuries at safety the Bears elevated LB Jeremy Cain to the 53-man roster from the practice to squad. He takes the place opened by the release of Bobby Wade.

    Cain had been on the Bears practice squad since the beginning of the season. He played five games with Chicago as a rookie in 2004 mostly on special teams. The University of Massachusetts product originally joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent.

    The team added defensive back Willie Amos to the practice squad. The rookie defensive back from Nebraska has spent the regular season as a free agent after receiving a tryout with Chicago during an off-season mini-camp.

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