Booker's birthday a hit

BOURBONNAIS -- Marty Booker tried to keep it quiet, but some secrets are hard to keep from spreading.

Like Wednesday's biggest attendance at training camp in Bourbonnais thus far. Booker, the team's top receiver a year ago, celebrated his 26th birthday in the heat with his teammates.

Booker was one of the last players to get off the field after Wednesday's morning practice in pads. Booker, who set a team record for receptions with 100 catches in 2001, was signing autographs at a record pace. Fans yelled and screamed out his name, while Booker kindly tried to get to as many autograph seekers as possible.

While he was busy at work, fellow wide receiver Dez White said Booker was in for a few surprises on his birthday.

"We didn't even know about it. It sort of snuck up on us," White said. "Once we get back and done with practice we're going to have a little something for him. I can't reveal what it is, but we'll see."

White said as players started to find out about Booker's birthday, they'd be busy engineering some sort of ambush.

"I know Big Cat (James Williams) and some of those guys already have something planned for him," White said. "It's usually some sort of prank or a dip in the cold tub with your pads on."

Booker said he was worried about center Olin Kreutz, and would be watching his back.

"He's the one that always does the dunking," Booker said. "He's the one who usually puts you down in a tub full of ice."

Booker led all Bears receivers in catches (100), yards (1,071) and TDs (eight) last season.

* FIRST IN LINE: With injuries mounting on the defensive line, free agent defensive tackle Christian Peter went through drills with the first-team defense Thursday, along with second-year defensive end Karon Riley, in for Bryan Robinson. Peter is listed third on the depth chart behind Ted Washington and Alfonso Boone, who are both out with ankle injuries.

Also working with the first team was rookie Bobby Gray at free safety, who is filling in for Mike Brown, who fractured his right hand Tuesday.

* CHAMPAIGN TOAST: Bears coach Dick Jauron said the team would most likely get a first practice at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Friday, Aug. 9, the day before the team hosts the Denver Broncos in its preseason opener.

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