While Bears fans won't soon forget the team's stunning come-from-behind 28-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night to open up Levi's Stadium, there was unfortunately a heartbreaking moment they won't soon forget either.

In the third quarter, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman got tangled up with a 49ers offensive player and his right arm was clearly in pain. It was soon revealed that the injury was to Peanut's right triceps, the same triceps he tore to end his 2013 season last November.

And then NBC showed Peanut on the sidelines:


That was all we needed to see to realize that Peanut had likely torn his triceps again. And on Monday, that injury was unfortunately confirmed:
The 33-year-old Tillman signed a one-year deal in the offseason to remain with the Bears, and it felt like there was a very good chance this would end up being his last season in the NFL. So, it's very possible this is it for Peanut, and you certainly wonder that even more after seeing tears fall down his face.

If this is the end for Peanut, what a career it's been. The greatest cornerback in Bears history and as classy of a man as you'll find in the NFL (he was just named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2013).  36 career interceptions, nine career defensive touchdowns, 42 career forced fumbles... just eye-opening numbers left and right.

The Bears add more on Tillman's statistical accomplishments:
If you need any more convincing on how good of a career Peanut has had and what an incredible role model he's been (in a league full of disturbing accusations and stories of late), here's just a small sampling of what some people in the football world are saying about him on Twitter:




And I think Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog summarized it perfectly:

Lastly, here are Peanut's comments following the injury news on Monday:

Classy as always, and Peanut will make a great coach to have for the rest of the year, especially for rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.

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A brutal opening loss for the Chicago Bears against the Buffalo Bills also included some injuries to key players.

Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery (they're kind of a big deal) left the game with leg injuries, though Marshall tried to play through his and came up lame trying to catch a pass on what would've likely been a big play in space (summarized how things went on this day). There don't seem to be concerns that Marshall's injury is serious, though.

And as for Jeffery, reports from the Bears' sideline kept saying he was probable to return to the game after a hamstring injury, but never did. It seems like the Bears were just being extra cautious on their star third-year receiver.

While Marshall and Jeffery were each out with injuries on Sunday, the Bears were down to Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan, and Micheal Spurlock at wide receiver. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've made it clear that I don't think Spurlock should be on the team and I don't understand what he showed during the preseason/camp to earn a precious 53-man roster spot. The Bears talked about Spurlock's return abilities and obviously have been full of question marks there, but he muffed two punts in the preseason, without even having a single good return to top it off. And at wide receiver, he showed very little. It just seemed like there were a few players more deserving of a roster spot than Spurlock out of camp.

Well, on Tuesday, the Bears finally released Spurlock (after he had a bad drop on Sunday... after Cutler for some reason threw to him), and re-signed veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton:

The Britton move was about the most predictable move ever, as two other players that suffered injury on Sunday for the Bears were starters on the offensive line: left guard Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza. Reports are that Slauson and Garza suffered the dreaded high-ankle sprain, an injury that frequently takes 4-6 weeks to heal.

Britton is a veteran known for his versatility on the offensive line and probably would've made the team if not dealing with an injury himself during the preseason. The Bears even lined up Britton as a "tight end" at times last year as an extra blocker.

Brian de la Puente will be the starting center with Garza out, and many would like for de la Puente to keep the job even when Garza is healthy. Here's what Pro Football Focus said about de la Puente, whom they gave their second-highest grade on the Bears for Sunday's game (the grade has since been increased to +3.7):

Brian De La Puente, C: +3.2 

Breakdown: Playing 45 snaps in relief of the injured Garza, De La Puente was integral in the Bears’ comeback attempt. Routinely exhibiting strong work in the run game, he helped open the door for Matt Forte’s solid day. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though, as De La Puente put up a combined +40.8 grade in three years starting for New Orleans. How he ended up in a back-up role is mind-boggling, and if he continues playing as he did yesterday, he shouldn’t stay a backup for long. 

Signature Stat: Perfect in 33 snaps of pass protection.

And guess which Bears player had PFF's highest grade vs the Bills (and PFF's highest grade for any guard in the NFL through week one, actually, at +4.8))? None other than the guy that replaced Slauson at left guard, Michael Ola.

So, there's reason to believe the Bears will be fine on the starting offensive line while Slauson and Garza are out, but their depth obviously took a hit, and that's where Britton comes in. Provided Britton is healthy, quite a fortunate situation to be able to bring back a guy off the street that was solid and very versatile for them in 2013.

In another move on Tuesday, the Bears signed Greg Herd (was with the Bears for a part of preseason) to the practice squad and released defensive tackle Roy Philon from the practice squad:

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Bills rookie WR Sammy Watkins (Ribs) is listed as 'probable' to face the Bears

The Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills released their official injury reports on Friday, in preparation for their 2014 season opener coming up Sunday at Soldier Field.

Let's take a look at the Bears' injury news first...

Chicago Bears' Injury Report

David Fales, QB (Shoulder): OUT; Did Not Practice

Tony Fiammetta, FB (Hamstring): Questionable; Limited Participation In Practice

Chris Conte, S (Concussion): Probable, Full Participation In Practice

Brian de la Puente, C (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice


The main storyline here is in regards to (much-maligned) safety Chris Conte, after Conte suffered a concussion in the Bears' third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Conte passed concussion protocol on Thursday, and fully participated in practice on Thursday and Friday.

Conte appears good to go on Sunday, although Marc Trestman plans to ease the safety back into game action, considering Conte also missed training camp and the first two games of preseason following shoulder surgery. Here's what Trestman had to say about the Bears' safety situation on Wednesday:

“We’re going to roll them in,” coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday. “If Chris is up, we’ll rotate the safeties. We’ll rotate them between Ryan, Danny and Chris. Are we set on who’s going to start? No. But I expect all three of them will play and Brock [Vereen] will get some work as well.”
Source: ChicagoBears.Com

The whole "rotating safeties" thing was an eye-opener, but as ESPN Chicago Bears beat writer Michael C. Wright explains, this appears to be a temporary tactic while Chris Conte gets back into game condition; the Bears envision Conte and Ryan Mundy as the eventual starters:

Fullback Tony Fiammetta is listed as 'Questionable' with a hamstring injury, and appears to be the only starting Bears player in danger of missing the game. Quarterback David Fales has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury, but it's unlikely we see Fales on the gameday roster anytime soon anyway (barring an injury to Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen, of course).

Now for the Bills' injury news...

Buffalo Bills' Injury Report

Jonathan Meeks, S (Neck): Doubtful; Limited Participation In Practice

Lee Smith, TE (Toe): Doubtful; Did Not Practice

Anthony Dixon, RB (Hamstring); Questionable; Did Not Practice

Stephon Gilmore, CB (Groin): Questionable, Did Not Practice

Randell Johnson, LB (Ankle): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Brandon Spikes, LB (Knee): Probable; Full Participation In Practice

Sammy Watkins, WR (Ribs): Probable; Full Particpation In Practice


The Bills also are in pretty good shape health wise, with backup safety Jonathan Meeks and blocking tight end Lee Smith the only players listed as 'Doubtful' to play in the game.

Starting Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore has dealt with a nagging groin injury and is listed as 'Questionable', but is expected to be able to play. Running back Anthony Dixon is also listed as 'Questionable' but is Buffalo's third-string back known more for special teams contributions.

The big news on the Bills' injury front is that wide receiver Sammy Watkins (the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft) should be able to play on Sunday. Watkins has dealt with a rib injury in the preseason, and even was forced to leave the Bills' fourth preseason game after aggravating the injury. But, the electrifying rookie participated fully in practice on Friday and is expected to start at wide receiver vs the Bears.

Still, the injury has limited Watkins' work in preseason and recent practices, and it usually takes rookie wide receivers a bit of time to be major threats in the NFL. So, the Bears may not face quite the same Sammy Watkins that other Bills' opponents likely will as the year goes on.

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Coming into training camp, it was assumed that the battle for the Chicago Bears' No. 2 running back duties was between second-year back Michael Ford, and rookie back Ka'Deem Carey.

Ford was very impressive in the 2013 training camp and preseason as a kick returner and ball-carrier out of the backfield, while Carey had a decorated college career before being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2014 draft (and keep in mind that the fourth round is an early pick for a running back these days).

But, Ford was released in the first wave of cuts this year, and never really got a chance to show what he could do in the preseason games. Clearly he had not impressed this time around in camp, most likely in the pass-blocking department which Marc Trestman and Phil Emery have made clear is a primary quality that the Bears want out of Matt Forte's primary backup.

And Carey didn't exactly light it up either. The Arizona Wildcats product averaged just 2.7 yards per carry over 27 rushing attempts, and received just a -2.2 grade from Pro Football Focus (110th out of 128 running backs). Some of the concerns over Carey's measurables (such as just a 4.70 40-yard dash at the Combine) looked like they could indeed be issues for him going forward.

Really, the most impressive all-around back in the preseason for the Bears was veteran back Shaun Draughn, who was an under-the-radar signing over the offseason. The 26-year-old seemed like a longshot to make the roster coming into camp, but appeared to actually be the favorite for the No. 2 running back job going into the final preseason game.

But, it's obvious that the Bears wanted Carey to win the job all along. I mean, when you use a fourth-round pick on a running back, you're expecting that player to at least be your main backup at the position. And Draughn is a veteran that has run for just a 3.7-yard average in his career, so it's not like he's a very dependable option either.

So, Bears head coach Marc Trestman announced on Wednesday that Carey will indeed be the No. 2 running back entering the season:

Trestman added that Draughn will be a four-phase contributor on special teams:
The bottom line is that if Forte gets hurt, the Bears appear to have a very bleak running back situation. It would probably turn into a running back by committee approach rather than Carey getting around the same amount of touches that Forte would get.

The good news, of course, is that the Bears' passing game is terrific, and the offense could likely get by with a second-tier running game.

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The result of any preseason game means pretty much nothing, and that's especially the case when you're talking the fourth preseason game. And that's especially the case when you're talking about the 2014 Chicago Bears' fourth preseason game.

Due to not wanting to risk key players getting injured and wanting to get better looks at players on the roster bubble, the Bears sat a whopping 40 players on Friday night in a 33-13 loss to the Cleveland Browns (the Browns sat just six players):

H/T: Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain)

One name not on that list is Santonio Holmes, as the Bears wanted to get a look at the veteran wide receiver for a second game after signing him recently.

It's been in question if the 30-year-old Holmes still has the explosiveness and playmaking ability that made him a great weapon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets over the years (and he of course even won a Super Bowl MVP with the Steelers). And if Friday night is any indication, Holmes still has those qualities.

In the second quarter, rookie Bears quarterback David Fales hit Holmes for a completion under 10 yards away on 3rd-and-14, but Holmes made a great move to elude Browns defenders, and took the ball to the house for a 32-yard touchdown:



And with the Bears' kick and punt return jobs up for grabs after no one stood out in the roles over the first preseason games, the team wanted to get a look at Holmes as a punt returner. Holmes only got one chance to return a punt, but made the most of it with a very impressive 30-yard return:



Even if Holmes is not named the Bears' starting punt returner, it's still nice to know that he looks very capable in the role and brings more abilities to the roster than just being a receiver.

Holmes came into the game on the roster bubble, but you'd have to think he's a near lock now to make the team, and could provide yet another big playmaker in a Bears offense that was already loaded with them.


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