By Chris Emma–
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — Bears quarterback Jay Cutler heaved one with that strong arm of his some 40 yards down the right sidelines. It appeared to be a jump ball, with cornerback Tim Jennings in position.
Up went Eddie Royal, Chicago’s newcomer at receiver, who flung over Jennings and hauled in the catch. Cutler responded with a fist pump upon seeing the snag, one that even caught Royal a bit off guard.
“I just went up and got the ball,” Royal said Friday after the Bears’ second practice of training camp. “I don’t know how high (in the air) I was.”
Good memories returned for Royal, whom the Bears signed to a three-year, $15-million deal in March. His rookie season of 2008 in Denver has stood as his career year, one in which he recorded 91 passes for 980 yards(each career highs) and five touchdowns.
The quarterback for Royal back then was Cutler. One season later, Cutler was off to Chicago in a trade. Now, they’re teammates again.
“We’re very familiar with each other,” Royal said. “It’s good to be back out there with him. We had a lot of success in Denver. I hope that can carry over.”
Chicago brought in Royal as a free agent to help replace Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Jets. When the Bears drafted Kevin White out of West Virginia, Royal assumed the role of slot receiver.
Now, the Bears have plenty of versatility in the offense.
“We’re very happy to have him,” coach John Fox said.
There are plenty of important pieces to the Bears’ offense. Royal’s experience gives Cutler someone else to count on.
So what does Royal expect from the unit?
“Hopefully an exciting one — a team that puts up a lot of points,” Royal said. “That’s what I expected when I came here.”
Young still learning linebacker
Adjusting to a new position can be a difficult task in football. Doing it with entirely new schemes is a greater challenge. And enduring all of this while recovering from a torn Achilles make it all even harder.
This is the task for new linebacker Willie Young, converted over from defensive end.
“I want to be turned loose tomorrow,” Young said Friday.
Each day is a work in progress for young, who’s still learning the new playbook and his coverages.
A six-year veteran, Young has spent his entire career at defensive end. Before turning his focus entirely to playing linebacker, he must get into full condition and hope the Achilles injury doesn’t take away from his physical abilities.
What is the final step for Young to complete his recovery?
“Just get back on the field,” Young said. “Just back to at least 90 percent, and then everything else takes care of themselves.”
However, Young was able to take care of his favorite offseason activity while on the mend.
“I’m still able to fish,” he said. “I was able to get a lot of rehab on the boat, balancing on one leg on the ocean.”
Legal proceedings complete for Jennings
One day after missing practice, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was back on the field at Olivet Nazarene University.
Jennings missed Thursday’s workout — the Bears’ first of training camp — to attend court proceedings in Georgia for his January arrest. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and speeding charges, though DUI charges were dropped.
With this in the past, will it impact his football playing at all?
“It shouldn’t at all,” Jennings said. “We got everything resolved and everything. We’re moving forward with the football season.”
Rookie defensive tackle Eddie Goldman left practice because he was dehydrated … Cornerback Kyle Fuller suffered an “ankle tweak,” Fox said … Tight end Donte Rosario was excused from practice due to personal reasons … The Bears hold their first padded practice on Saturday morning in Bourbonnais.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.