Training Camp Report: Day 7

Despite a pretty good day of practice with a heavy focus on red zone drills, the players were dealt some disappointing news on Thursday. Safety Chris Harris was traded to Carolina for a fifth-round pick, and although the team is deep at the position, he was very popular in the locker room. had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

Midway through practice, Bears senior director of corporate communications Scott Hagel informs us that the team has just traded safety Chris Harris to the Carolina Panthers for an undisclosed pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Harris was actually the biggest name I had not making the 53-man roster, so GM Jerry Angelo getting something for him while giving him an opportunity to be a starter somewhere else sounds like a win-win for both parties. The rest of the secondary seems surprised and disappointed by the news, but they all understand that professional football is a business despite the fact that they will miss him both on and off the field. It turns out that the pick is a fifth-rounder, so in other words, the Bears essentially traded Harris for defensive tackle Darwin Walker since they gave up a fifth in that deal. Angelo used a deep position to shore up a thin position and got a much better player in the process, proving once again that he knows what he's doing ...

The list of players not participating in practice is getting longer – and potentially more dangerous – with each passing day. On Thursday, receiver Devin Hester, offensive tackle Ruben Brown, tight end Fontel Mines, receiver Muhsin Muhammad, tailback Garrett Wolfe, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, and defensive end Dan Bazuin are all sitting this one out. Brown and Muhammad are believed to just be taking a veteran's day off, so nothing to be concerned about there. I believe the team is simply being careful with Harris since this is his second vacation day in a row, although head coach Lovie Smith said on Wednesday that Harris should go today. Hester's "general soreness" could be a cover-up for something a little more newsworthy, and Bazuin has almost his entire left leg in a wrap today after just a knee brace the day before ...

For those of you thinking that offensive coordinator Ron Turner fell in love with his two-pronged approach at the tailback position last season, just hold your horses. Based on what I've seen since the first day of camp, Cedric Benson is getting at least 90% of the snaps with the first team. Second-stringer Adrian Peterson has been just that – second string. You fantasy football freaks out there know that the whole running-back-by-committee thing has been all the rage in the NFL lately, but it appears that Benson is going to get 20-25 carries each and every Sunday assuming he stays healthy. It might be time to move him up your draft board a spot or two. Remember to handcuff him with Peterson a few rounds later just to protect yourself, but expect No. 32 to get the ball early and often in this rushing attack ...

While Chris Harris was my surprise cut during training camp, my surprise to make the final roster all along has been receiver Brandon Rideau. The rangy Rideau hasn't performed quite as well as he did during mini camp and OTAs at Halas Hall, so fellow wideout Mike Hass has probably overtaken him as the top dark horse at that position now. Hass literally dropped the first two passes thrown to him the day that camp opened, but he's made every play since and come up with a couple of sensational efforts in the process ...

You can see that the positional drills are starting to get a little more advanced now that we are about a week into training camp. For the first time, the receivers are running a down-and-out-and-up pattern. The quarterbacks are instructed to launch their throws before the wideouts make their cut up the sideline, further proving the notion that timing is the most important aspect of any passing offense at the NFL level ...

The best catch of the day and the worst catch of the day are each delivered by a no-name receiver lucky to be in camp. Newly acquired Clinton Solomon somehow comes up with a pass on a deep post from quarterback Kyle Orton that includes several tips and re-tips to himself as he comes crashing to the turf. Shortly thereafter, former Arena-Leaguer Timon Marshall drops two in a row right in front of receivers coach Darryl Drake, one on that down-and-out-and-up drill and the next on a routine post that hits him right between the numbers ...

Quarterback Rex Grossman undoubtedly makes his worst throw of training camp on the very first snap of 11-on-11 drills on Thursday. He floats a pass in the neighborhood of nobody in particular 15-20 yards down the right sideline, where it's easily picked off by cornerback Charles Tillman before he races to the other end zone behind a convoy of blockers. That was definitely a "Bad Rex" moment and one that easily would have resulted in six points for the opposition had it occurred during an actual game. Maybe he was trying to throw it away after his first two reads were covered and simply didn't get the football out of bounds. It's been written that Grossman is incredibly good progressing from his first read to his second read on any given pass play, but when both of them are covered, that's when trouble tends to find him ...

There is a heavy focus on the red zone today, and once again it looks like the offense is having its way with the defense more often than not. Rideau makes a nice leaping grab over the middle on a pass from Grossman that was intentionally thrown high in the back of the end zone to take advantage of Rideau's 6'3" frame, and later rookie tight end Greg Olsen reels in a beauty of a catch – also from Grossman – on a corner route at the front-right pylon. Olsen must have heard about me pointing out that he's dropped a few balls lately ...

As for the most bizarre play of the day, quarterback Brian Griese could not go a full practice without tossing yet another interception. This time he forces a pass to tight end John Gilmore on a drag route over the middle, where linebacker Rod Wilson is waiting and manages to tip the ball into the air. Fellow linebacker Jamar Williams comes up with the deflection and starts rumbling the other direction, but he's popped by a member of the offensive line and fumbles before he can really get moving. Defensive lineman Israel Idonije pounces on the ball to ensure the turnover, but Williams grasps his left elbow in pain before trotting off the field. Luckily, he simply got his funny bone banged and was back in there a snap later ...

It's hard to tell if the Chris Harris trade has more to do with his lackluster play or more to do with the team's confidence in the other safeties on the roster. That being said, Harris and Danieal Manning have come up with the most interceptions over the course of the first week of training camp. The organization is apparently still very high on Brandon McGowan, despite his rather lengthy injury history in two years as a pro. I assumed that rookie Kevin Payne would have to open some eyes early in order for the team to feel more comfortable losing Harris, but Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald and I agree that Payne hasn't done anything of consequence. At the very least, now he'll get more opportunities to show what he can do.

QB Rex Grossman (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CB Charles Tillman
On seeing Chris Harris at practice and then leave after getting traded:
"Yeah, that was a little strange, a little new. But it is what it is, that's all I can really say on it. Like I said, I'm going to miss him. He's a damn good teammate, a good friend. A damn good football player. He got traded to Carolina, right? They're getting a good player."

On how the rest of the defensive backs feel about Harris getting traded :
"As of right now, I'm sure a lot of the secondary guys are probably a little disappointed just because they knew nothing about and it was kind of way out of left field. And we were in meetings last night, joking around, having fun, clowning around. And now he's gone. But as they say, NFL – Not For Long. He's here one day, he's gone the next. It's the business."

S Mike Brown
On how he felt when he learned about the trade of Harris:
"It's a sad, sad day, man. He was a really cool guy. Most of the guys consider him their friend [and] brother. So when you lose one of those guys, it kind of sucks a little bit. I'm kind of shocked actually. We have nothing to do with those decisions. You just come to work every day and hopefully you still have a job when you wake up in the morning, but Chris is going to do fine. He's a really good football player, and hopefully he's going to a good situation."

Head coach Lovie Smith
On how Harris took the news after learning that he got traded:
"Like a pro. Chris is a pro. Again, he knows there's a business side of it. Guys want an opportunity to play where they have the best chance to play, and I think this will be a good move for him."

On what he said to Harris after having to break the news to him:
"That's between us, of course. I'll kind of keep it that way. The gist of it is that I thanked him for everything he's done for us, and we talked about the next move forward and how exciting that could be for him to have an opportunity to play."

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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