When special-teams convene at Halas Halas during this weeks minicamp, it was apparent that Devin Hester is not losing one of the jobs that one day could put him in the Hall of Fame.
Hester is back returning kickoffs, something that might have seemed less likely after the Bears signed former Pro Bowl returner Eric Weems. Weems is sharing returns with Hester but Hester is still our No. 1 kickoff returner, confirmed special-teams coordinator Dave Toub.
When we need a big one, Devin is going to be in there. We have the luxury of having Eric Weems. There will be times when we have them both back there. Well kind of trick people in terms of whos getting the ball.
That will be done by lining both up deep, then moving one up quickly. And Hester could be used to steer opposing kickoffs toward Weems, who is a different type of returner from Hester.
Depending on the nature of the opposing coverage units, the Bears will have a true option for kind of runback. It was what the Bears had with Hester and Danieal Manning and Hester and Johnny Knox.
Hester is more of an outside guy, Toub said. He wants to make people miss and get outside. Weems is a north and south, physical type returner. Hes going to break a lot of tackles but he fits our scheme really well.
We try to block people and have a point of attack. Hes going to be able to hit that thing exactly where we want it. Were excited about Eric Weems.
We'd been circling this news all week, and now it's getting closer to reality: late Saturday night, Adam Schefter reported that QB Mitch Trubisky will be under center for the Bears' matchup with the Saints this Sunday:
Trubisky was a full participant in practice from Wednesday to Friday of last week, but had still been listed as questionable up to this point. He returns after dislocating his left shoulder in Week 4 against the Vikings and missing the team's Week 5 loss to the Raiders.
The news comes at a crucial juncture of the season for the Bears, who are currently 3-2 and in third place in the NFC North.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.
The Bulls waived Milton Doyle, Justin Simon and Simisola Shittu Saturday, which is minor news since they were mostly camp bodies competing for possibly a two-way contract.
The bigger development is that the Bulls’ roster is basically set, pending the signing of one player to the second two-way contract still available. No Iman Shumpert. No Alfonzo McKinnie. And that’s just naming two hometown products recently linked to the Bulls via the rumor mill.
The Bulls still want to see what they have in Chandler Hutchison, who did some individual shooting Saturday but missed all training camp with a hamstring injury. Denzel Valentine, currently out of the rotation, is staying ready.
And Shaq Harrison, who missed all five preseason games with his own hamstring injury but now is fully practicing, remains a Jim Boylen favorite.
And that’s what the roster staying set for now is about as much as anything. The buy-in Boylen has received from players dating to voluntary September workouts and bonds that have formed could be disrupted by the waiving of someone like Harrison, whose contract isn’t fully guaranteed but his commitment is.
While the Bulls recognize proven wing depth is a question mark, they value Harrison’s toughness and defensive ability. If Hutchison or Harrison or Valentine---if he gets an opportunity---don’t produce, perhaps a move could be made at a later date.
But expect only the signing of a second player to a two-way contract to join Adam Mokoka for now.
“We’ve been talking about that,” Boylen said. “We’re working on that. We’ve got our list and have reached out to some people. We’re actively in process.”
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.