By Chris Emma-
BOURBONNAIS (CBS) — With inclement weather expected in Bourbonnais on Monday, Bears coach Marc Trestman planned accordingly by moving practice to the morning, intending to avoid an early finish to practice.
In an expected turn of events, practice came to a close early anyway. An ugly fight between veteran tight end Martellus Bennett and rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller forced Trestman to end the scrimmaging portion of practice.
“We felt it was important to get the team together and resolve some issues,” Trestman said. “We’ll move forward from there. That’s football — I’ll leave it at that.”
The fisticuffs came during team goal-line drills. Bennett caught a pass in the flat and had Fuller in his way of the end zone. The rookie cornerback grabbed the 6-foot-6 tight end and threw him down with an aggressive hit around the neck that Bennett didn’t take well to.
Bennett quickly retreated to his feet and shoved Fuller, then fiercely slammed him to the ground. More players entered the skirmish and further words were exchanged, leaving Trestman no choice but to end the workout.
Fuller contended he was going for the ball.
“Stuff like that happens,” Fuller said.
Immediately after practice, Bennett declined to speak with reporters. However, he commented about an hour later, entering the Olivet Nazarene cafeteria.
“Practice is practice,” Bennett began. “I sound like Allen Iverson. ‘(S—) happens.’”
Trestman declined to say whether he would fine either player for the altercation. Bennett didn’t offer his thoughts on the subject.
“I can afford it,” he said.
The angry reaction from Bennett won’t keep Fuller — in his first professional training camp — from giving his all on every rep, he explained to the media with a simple “no” response.
While Trestman emphasizes the importance of team chemistry, Bennett is keeping his personal focus elsewhere.
“We’re really all preparing for a championship,” he said. “If we make friends along the way, that’s cool. But at the end of the day, I’m just here to help the Bears win a championship.”
Wilson getting his shot
Not long before training camp, Bears general manager Phil Emery made a minor move that could have major benefits. The addition of five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson appears to have some promise.
Wilson, a 12-year veteran with the Arizona Cardinals, worked with the Bears’ first-team defense on Monday, lining up next to Ryan Mundy. Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is pleased with the returns.
“I like Adrian,” Tucker said. “He came in, worked to learn the system and terminology. He’s a real pro. He’s very, very serious about his job, and he wants to make sure he knows exactly what to do. I’m looking forward to seeing his progress.”
It appears as if Mundy has a firm grasp on one safety position, having stuck with the first-team defense for most of camp. Wilson is the latest to slide in with the ones, along with Danny McCray and Brock Vereen.
Wilson was listed as the No. 3 strong safety on the Bears’ initial (and unofficial) depth chart heading into Friday’s preseason opener against the Eagles, but Tucker warned against looking too deeply into movement on the depth chart — especially given it’s only four days into August.
But does Wilson have a chance to stay with the first-team defense?
“Right now, it’s too early to tell,” Tucker said. “We’re moving guys around, obviously, to make sure everyone has a fair opportunity. There’s nothing set in stone right now—we still have a month to go.”
Bears bitten by injury bug
The Bears suffered their first unfortunate injury of camp Monday, coming to a key player ascending in practice.
Second-year receiver Marquess Wilson broke his right clavicle while diving for a pass in the end zone. He was helped off the field, evaluated by team doctors and carted away while favoring his right arm.
No timetable was given for Wilson’s recovery, and a decision on surgery hasn’t yet been made. Wilson vowed to come back stronger but regrets his decision to dive for the football.
“I look back at it, I probably should’ve have done it,” Wilson said. “It just happens.”
In each practice, Trestman is constantly encouraging his players to “stay off the ground” and avoid injuries. However, he understands the determined nature of Wilson.
“It’s one of the most difficult things not to do when you’re a competitive player,” Trestman said. “We promote it, we talk about it, but in my experience, it’s very difficult to stop when a guy goes to make a play on a ball.”
Wilson was all but a sure lock to be the Bears’ third receiver, behind Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Now, he’ll surely miss the beginning of the season. Trestman declined to discuss the depth at receiver, keeping his thoughts with Wilson.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was injured on the play after Wilson, bruising his knee, the team confirmed. He limped off the field was held out of the remainder of practice. Defensive end Jared Allen wasn’t present at practice due to personal reasons. He hasn’t practiced since Friday.
With a busy practice under their belts, the Bears resume work in Bourbonnais on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.