By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) It wasn’t hard for the Bears to fill out their first NFL-mandated injury report of the season Wednesday.
It was blank.
Unless injuries pop up in practice Thursday or Friday, the Bears will head into their season opener against the Bengals Sunday with a clean bill of health.
Of course, it’s football, so there are bound to be a few nagging bumps and bruises here and there, but there’s nothing that limited practice time Wednesday as every member of the roster fully participated.
“All the players that you’ve asked about over the last few weeks — how they were doing — were out there,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “We had everybody out there.”
Peppers Renegotiates His Contract
Defensive end Julius Peppers helped the Bears salary cap situation Wednesday by renegotiating his contract. He will now earn $9.9 million this season instead of $12.9 million as $3 million was converted to a signing bonus that can be spread out through the remainder of the deal.
The move frees up nearly $2 million in cap space for this season.
“The salary cap isn’t a problem,” general manager Phil Emery said Wednesday during a chat with fans on ChicagoBears.com. “It’s the same for every team. We’re close to the top of our resources. However, our decisions will always be based on evaluations of the team and players. We don’t base decisions on the cap; ultimately all decisions are based on evaluations.”
And creating the space today allows the Bears to continue to do that.
Dennis Added To Practice Squad; Johnson Waived
Monday, Emery called Jerrod Johnson a “developmental quarterback”. Wednesday, Johnson was waived.
The Bears still like Johnson, but the move was necessary for this week as Emery prefers to have 10 available offensive linemen to practice. With Jonathan Scott getting let go Tuesday, the Bears needed to add one more and they did so with Derrick Dennis, who spent the preseason with the team.
“There were multiple issues putting this 53 together for the week and we’re not closing the door on (Johnson) either,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “It’s certainly possible that he could be back in the very near future. It wasn’t anything he did or the way he operated over the last couple days.”
Expect similar moves with the practice squad week-to-week throughout the season as the Bears will use that unit to their advantage to prepare for that week’s opponent.
– Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) missed practice again Wednesday. He’s arguably Cincinnati’s top offensive linemen and it’s possible he won’t be able to play Sunday.
– Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said that Devin Hester’s reps were limited during the preseason because they didn’t want him to get hurt.
“That’s a slippery slope, because if you put him out there and he gets hurt, then you’re a pinhead, right? So you got to make sure that he gets the right amount of work and like we said, practice was a huge emphasis for us, getting as many catches as we could and trying to get the looks he’s going to get in the game,” DeCamillis said.
– Trestman said he allows his players to give input on his game plans. He meets with quarterback Jay Cutler on Tuesdays each week after both of them watch the film.
“Toward the end of the week we pare the game plan down to things he really likes,” the head coach said.