Devin Hester ended his two-day holdout and reported to Bourbonnais in time for Friday's workout, but he was still nowhere to be found for the first hour and a half of practice. He eventually emerged riding shotgun on a cart, getting a standing ovation from the horde of Bears fans who were hoping to see the two-time All-Pro catch passes, field punts, and give them a fraction of the thrills he delivers most every Sunday. But it turns out that Hester has been placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list with a bum hamstring, which is almost as "ridiculous" – sorry, Jeff Joniak – as "Read my lips: no new taxes" or "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Chances are his poor hammy will instantly feel better once the ink dries on that shiny new contract he covets so badly. Further proof that Hester idolizes Deion Sanders: his agent, Eugene Parker, also represents "Prime Time." ...
Friday was the first practice of training camp in full pads, and the defense spent one of the earlier periods on its blitz packages. If you're fortunate enough to hear Brian Urlacher make a call in the huddle on game day, keep your ears open for buzz words like "smash," "wolf," and "storm." The "S" in smash stands for the strong-side linebacker, which means Hunter Hillenmeyer is coming on a blitz, just like the "W" in wolf is meant for the weak-side linebacker, so Lance Briggs will be attacking the enemy passer. The "S" in storm is short for "stunt." The defensive line will cross-rush, and then Urlacher blitzes right up the middle. ...
Although he's a good interview and one of the nicest young men on the team, it's starting to look like Josh Beekman might be overmatched at this level. As the offensive linemen are performing blocking drills on each other, it's Beekman who never seems to move his pseudo-defender very much, yet he gets thrown around like a rag doll when one of his teammates is blocking him. Since he's taking all the first-team reps at center as Olin Kreutz recovers from his Achilles' injury, Beekman is probably out of the running to start at left guard – that might be a good thing. ...
Keeping with the theme of a more physical training camp than we've seen in the past from head coach Lovie Smith, 9-on-9 was full of highlights. Adrian Peterson popped off for a big gainer thanks to a beautiful cutback at the line of scrimmage, but Urlacher was having none of it on the very next snap and knocked Peterson to the ground with a vicious hit. And the front office might want to get retired nine-time Pro Bowler Ruben Brown on the phone soon because Terrence Metcalf continues to disappoint, this time being guilty of a false start. ...
On the rookie front, third-round pick Marcus Harrison looks like he's starting to develop in the trenches. His pass rush has been inconsistent so far, but he did make a nice play batting down a pass from Orton during 11-on-11. Alex Brown, who is always chatty on the practice field, was constantly reminding Harrison to get his hands up once he sees the quarterback start his delivery. Earl Bennett and Kellen Davis looked good again as each caught a flag route deep downfield from Orton, Bennett beating fellow draft choice Craig Steltz and Davis just holding off Leonard Peters.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Training Camp Report: Day 3
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