The Bears’ last true preseason practice wrapped up on Tuesday but not without a handful of punch-filled skirmishes, the best indicator of some mounting tension over either jobs, the Cleveland Browns or maybe even the Green Bay Packers looming in Week 1.
One swinging match broke out among Ego Ferguson, Charles Leno, Lucas Nix and Willie Young. In another, Martellus Bennett and David Bass went at each other in an extension of a dust-up among other players.
"I got about 15 extra seconds of rest time, so from a personal standpoint, it was a nice little break,” Kyle Long deadpanned, then stated the harsh reality. “Guys are out there competing, like [coach John Fox] said. Cuts are going to be made by 3 p.m. today, down to 75, I believe. There are guys out here fighting for their lives, their wives, their children. These peoples' lives are on the line right now, so it happens."
Coaches do not want teammates knocking each other around as they were on Tuesday but “you’ve got guys competing to try to get spots,” Fox said. “It is hot. It is coming down to that point where you pick 53, so it’s kind of par for the course.”
Also par for the course was uncertainty over players health, which is one thing early in training camp but becomes increasingly more concerning as the final sands of the offseason run out.
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Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has not practiced since Aug. 11, injuring a calf muscle just before the Miami game, and is not only not practicing yet, but not even attending practice, which injured receivers Eddie Royal (hip) and Marquess Wilson are.
“I can’t predict what’s going to happen going forward other than day-to-day,” Fox said. “So we’ll assess it and the plan is hopefully we get everybody ready for Green Bay. It’s not like [Jeffery is] sitting there eating Bonbons. So he’s conditioning.”