Tragedy Touches Smith Deeply

Lake Forest - Lovie Smith was visibly shaken by the news of the apparent suicide of James Dungy, the son of Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy.

Smith got his first NFL opportunity as the linebackers coach under Dungy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2000. During that time the two families became close. Two of Smith's three sons are close in age to James Dungy, who was 18.

"Jamie was a great, great kid," Smith said. "Tony's a man of faith, and of course they will need it through a time like this but we will all definitely miss him. Our kids grew up together, were ball boys together."

Smith hadn't yet spoke with Dungy, but was in contact with people close to him and planned to try to reach him personally Thursday evening.

"I can only imagine (what he's going through) and it's tough," Smith said. "I love my kids to death, like Tony does, losing a son is just … but again, Tony's a man of faith and that will help him get through this time."

Health Beat
Injured players appear to be getting healthy at the right time. Only S Mike Brown and C Olin Kreutz missed practice on Thursday. Brown remains questionable with a calf injury, while Kreutz (back) has started in 52 consecutive games and is expected to return to work on Friday.

"Veterans normally can make it through if anyone can, but practice is important," Smith said. "Hopefully we'll get both of those guys in some of the team work tomorrow."

S Chris Harris has missed the last two games with an MCL sprain, but guaranteed he would be on the field Sunday in Green Bay and is looking forward to clinching the NFC North crown with a victory over the Packers.

"It's going to be a big Christmas present for me," Harris said. "I've already got an early Christmas present. I can play this week. That was on my Christmas list. If we go out there and win and lock up the division that will finish it off."

It appears an MCL sprain will force RB Cedric Benson to miss a sixth straight game. Even though he's questionable on the injury report he has said he won't play.

LB Hunter Hillenmeyer (thumb), FB Bryan Johnson (back), S Todd Johnson (hip), G Terrence Metcalf (shoulder) and DT Ian Scott (hamstring) all remain questionable.

MLB Brian Urlacher, WR Muhsin Muhammad and G Ruben Brown were all removed from the injury report.

Stingy Bunch
The Bears have allowed 151 points this season, putting them within reach of the NFL record for a 16-game season, which is 165, held by the 2000 Ravens.

"That would be a great honor," said DE Alex Brown. "With the defenses that have come through the NFL to know that you've given up the least amount of points would be unbelievable."

The six consecutive home games in which the Bears allowed fewer than 10 points is the longest streak of that nature in the NFL since 1935, when the Packers held all seven of their home opponents to single digits.

The 61 points the Bears allowed in their eight home games are the fewest any team has permitted since the NFL expanded schedules to 16 games in 1978.

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