Much More Work at Veteran Minicamp

Lovie Smith has been criticized for taking it way too easy on his Chicago Bears, not working the players hard enough for fear of injury. That reputation could be amended after this weekend's minicamp.

The Monsters of the Midway can apparently leave their sunglasses, tanning lotion and lounge chairs at home this weekend – "Club Lovie" has made some changes.

The Bears will be at Halas Hall for a three-day minicamp Friday through Sunday, the first mandatory workouts of the offseason for veterans, and coach Lovie Smith has altered his notoriously light schedule of events to some degree. Typically, minicamp has been three days of routine practices, each about two hours and open to the media, although the public is not invited to attend like it is during training camp on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. For the most part, the actual work on the field throughout these three days in Lake Forest is a carbon copy of what transpires in a run-of-the-mill training camp practice in Bourbonnais.

While training camp does have some two-a-days mixed in here and there, morning workouts are shorter in length, heavily focused on special teams and oftentimes occur with bigger-name veterans like Brian Urlacher nowhere in sight – nothing more than walk-throughs, essentially.

However, for the first time during Smith's regime, minicamp will feature two-a-days Friday and Saturday, with a pair of two-hour sessions currently on the docket: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. There will be only one practice Sunday, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

LB Brian Urlacher
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel contacted the club's media relations department with hopes of obtaining a more thorough description of what each practice will look like this weekend. While team representative Mike Corbo didn't offer up any details of significance, saying he doesn't usually receive the itinerary until a day or so before these practices actually occur, he did say that each of the five sessions is scheduled to be a full workout and there would be no walk-throughs. Stars like Urlacher are required to be there from start to finish.

It will also be quite interesting to see if oft-injured players like Tommie Harris get more reps in practice than they have in the past, as Smith has chosen extra rest over extra work more often that not in recent years in an effort to keep them fresh on game day – the results have been mixed at best.

Smith said his goal for the three-day rookie minicamp earlier this month was to get the first-year pros up to speed so they know what they need to know and don't slow the veterans down once the full-squad minicamp gets underway, which is clearer now since it appears the Midway Monsters are trying to get more accomplished this weekend than they have in the past.

As usual, will be on hand for the proceedings providing the kind of wall-to-wall coverage that Bears fans simply can't find anywhere else, so be sure to make us a daily destination all weekend long.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter 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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