Getting back to Hester, the third-year return man extraordinaire and aspiring wide receiver agreed to a four-year contract extension right around lunchtime Friday, and he celebrated by being taken off the non-football injury (NFI) list and participating in the afternoon workout. Hester is now signed through 2013 with $15 million in guaranteed money, although the new deal could worth as much as $40 million should he reach all the performance-based incentives. If he does indeed develop into a starting-caliber wideout, then he'll be paid accordingly. General manager Jerry Angelo told Hester that he needed to gamble on himself a little bit if he truly wanted to make the big bucks, although No. 23 is set for life any which way you slice it. Hester seemed genuinely relieved when speaking to reporters at the end of the session, and it now looks like we can finally focus on football entirely. ...
Can we please put an end to the Nick Hill era as soon as possible? Yes, a team needs four quarterbacks in training camp these days with all the throwing that's required during positional drills, but Hill has no business being on an NFL roster and can't make the throws necessary of a professional signal-caller. He can't even take the snap from center consistently, putting another one on the ground Sunday. It's hard to remember how many fumbled exchanges he had during OTAs at Halas Hall, so he's not improving. While Caleb Hanie hasn't exactly been sensational himself, you can at least tell that he has a pretty good arm and moves around in the pocket just fine – perhaps can develop into a quality backup one day. ...
9-on-9 has been the most physical period throughout training camp so far, but 11-on-11 in the red zone Sunday certainly offered its fair share of pad popping. Leonard Peters delivered a de-cleating blow to rookie Matt Forte on a running play, and even though the hit was clean, Tillman was disappointed Peters helped Forte back to his feet. "Don't help him up," Tillman shouted. "Throw him down again." ...
There were more than a few battles in the trenches Sunday, especially when the second- and third-stringers were getting their reps. Rookie Kirk Barton had a pretty good grasp of Dan Bazuin's facemask as the second-year defensive end charged after the quarterback, a play which would have resulted an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty had it occurred in a game. Trumaine McBride broke up a deep throw from Orton to Mike Hass with a firm bump – and an obvious pass-interference call. ...
As far as the daily rookie report goes, Forte continues to be quite impressive and pulled down yet another screen pass with one hand Sunday. Earl Bennett has slowed down considerably after getting off to such a strong start the first few days, but he's still having an excellent camp and is working his way up the depth chart. So is Marcus Harrison, who is starting to get more time with the second-team defensive line and could be rotating in with the starters if Dusty Dvoracek can't get back on the field before long.
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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 5
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