BOURBONNAIS, Ill. Everything in moderation, especially where All-Pro players are concerned.
Even as they again finished practice with full-go live-tackling session of practice with their reserve players, the Bears continued on Thursday to exercise caution with franchise players. Linebacker Brian Urlacher was in uniform but did not practice as he was given a second straight day off because of soreness in his left knee, which was injured in game 16 last season at Minnesota.
Defensive end Julius Peppers played in spots, in the two-on-two pass-rush drills and in some of the full team sessions. When he did work, it was high-impact: He and tackle Stephen Paea combined for two consecutive dominant wins against left tackle JMarcus Webb and left guard Chris Spencer in the rush drill, with Peppers winding up at the quarterback for would-be sacks.
All of our tackles that come on the field to go against Peppers and guys like that each day, you have to be ready to play, said coach Lovie Smith. It has to get you better."
Receiverreturner Devin Hester was excused from practice with soreness in his ankle, as was Eric Weems, a Pro Bowl return man but who has had a standpoint minicamp and training camp this offseason.