Bears ready for '57-500'

Can you find your way from Bourbonnais? That's an easy question for Bears players to answer.

With training camp breaking today after a morning practice, players, coaches and staff will exit Olivet Nazarene University after about three weeks of camp.

The Bears will head back to their headquarters in Lake Forest for the rest of camp, which is now closed to the public.

"It was the Platteville 500 before, so I guess now it's the 57- 500," joked wide receiver Marcus Robinson, referring to the race to get back home. "Everyone is taking (Interstate) 57 back into 294, so I think since it's only about an hour away most guys will cruise. I know some will be racing, but some guys will just relax and take their time. The older guys like Big Cat (James Williams), they're not too much into speedin' anymore. They just relax and get home."

Robinson, who has been limited in camp due to a season-ending knee injury in 2001, said he enjoyed Bourbonnais and the fans, but he's ready to pack up and head back north.

"It was very fun, it was the first year and hopefully we've got a couple more (years) to come here," Robinson said. "I'm ready to go, though. I'm always ready to go home."

* NOT A TEDDY BEAR: Starting defensive tackle Ted Washington returned to practice Tuesday. The often grumpy Washington, who doesn't enjoy talking to the media, has had problems with his ankle after getting an infection following offseason surgery. Washington won't play Friday against St. Louis, but it was a promising sign seeing him back in practice.

"It's good to see Ted anytime," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "He's critical to our defense. We've brought him along slowly, but Ted works hard. He's worked hard off the field. When he hasn't been practicing, he's been inside working out.

"But obviously we need him on the field practicing to get him ready."

* CROSSING GUARDS: With starter Chris Villarrial still out with a broken thumb, Jauron said that even though backup Mike Gandy went down with a knee injury Monday (his MRI came back negative) he's penciled in to start Friday against the Rams. Rookie third-round pick Terrence Metcalf will be Gandy's backup.

Villarrial is expected back Sunday, but just to take part in conditioning.

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