LAKE FOREST – Bears safety Chris Conte had shoulder surgery in late March and will likely be out at least until the start of training camp, the team said Thursday.
The expected recovery period is four to five months.
Conte started all 16 games for the first time in his career last season, but struggled along with just about everyone else on defense.
His worst moment was when he failed to lock onto Green Bay's Randall Cobb in the closing minute of the final game. That led to a wide-open 47-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers on fourth down that gave the Packers a 33-28 victory and kept Chicago out of the playoffs.
The Bears have been overhauling their defense, releasing defensive end Julius Peppers and signing Jared Allen to replace him. They've also made several moves at safety, re-signing Craig Steltz and bringing in Ryan Mundy from the New York Giants, M.D. Jennings from Green Bay, and Danny McCray from Dallas.
"I know I'm going to have to compete for my position on this team," Conte told the team's website. "I am prepared to do that and felt having this surgery was the best way to be 100 percent healthy and be the best player I can possibly be."
The Bears also re-signed offensive tackle Eben Britton to a one-year contract on Thursday.