LAKE FOREST – The Bears returned to Halas Hall for practice Monday, four days before taking on the Seattle Seahawks in the always pivotal third preseason game.
Coach Marc Trestman treated the practice like a normal game week, but said he added some extra reps after the players had three days off.
The additional practice time is crucial for safety Chris Conte, who plans on seeing his first game action Friday night. He returned to practice Aug. 10, after offseason shoulder surgery, and is very much in the mix to start at safety.
“He’s been working hard to get back and our intention is to give him some work this weekend in the game,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. “Obviously, we’re excited to have him back on the field, and he’s working.”
The other player who should return Friday night, and has a golden opportunity to grab a roster spot is Chris Williams, who practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the Aug. 8 preseason opener. That should mean special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis can see how Williams fares returning kicks against an NFL opponent.
“The speed obviously shows up. We saw it on that one play,” DeCamillis said. “We just have to see him in some live-bullet situations to see how he’s going to catch punts in the National Football League and kickoffs. So we’ve just got to see that and hopefully we get a chance to do that.”
Three starters sit: Kyle Fuller, who hurt his ankle against Jacksonville, did not practice Monday, and neither did Lance Briggs, who has a knee contusion. Jordan Mills (foot), Eben Britton (hamstring), Brian de la Puente (knee) and Isaiah Frey (hamstring) remained out of practice. Mills is out of his walking boot, and Trestman said his injury is day-to-day.
“I can’t give you anything more than that. We’re hopeful it’s soon, but that’s all I’ve heard at this point in time, and that’s the way we’ve looked at it – just day to day,” he said.
Tight end Dante Rosario (calf), who missed Thursday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, returned to practice.
Losing Weems: The Bears did not lose an important part of their offense or return game, as seen in his opportunities in the preseason, but Eric Weems was a steady special teams contributor.
“First of all, a world of respect for him,” DeCamillis said about the team’s decision to release Weems. “He’s a great individual. He’s exactly what football’s about, in my opinion, just the way he conducts himself and the way he does things, But at the end of the day, we’ve got to make the best 53 for the Chicago Bears.”