We're now just two and a half weeks away from the Bears' regular season opener, September 8th against the Bengals at Soldier Field. And there's a lot going on in the world of the Chicago Bears as we approach week one, so let's get go to the links to get caught up on the latest Bears happenings...

Jon Bostic fined $21k for hit- Remember Jon Bostic's AWESOME hit last Thursday against the Chargers? You know, this one:

Well, the NFL has fined Bostic $21,000 for the hit:

Bears rookie linebacker Jon Bostic was fined $21,000 Wednesday for his hit on San Diego Chargers wide receiver Mike Willie. A source familiar with the situation confirmed the fine. The rule in question involved Bostic lowering his head and making forcible contact with a defenseless player's body, the source said. This wasn't a violation of the new "crown of the helmet rule," according to the source.

Absolutely ridiculous in my opinion, and by the reaction around the web/TV/radio today, it seems most everybody else shares the same opinion. Outside of the league offices, anyway. (ESPN Chicago)

Bears all agree- Bostic didn't deserve the fine- The Bears players and coaches voiced their displeasure about the Bostic fine. (670 The Score)

NFL's hypocrisy on Jon Bostic fine is nothing short of spectacular- Boomer from Bear Goggles On with a terrific response to the Bostic fine. (Bear Goggles On)

Brian Urlacher talks Bears on Fox Football Daily- I had on 'Fox Football Daily', the new NFL show on Fox Sports One, the new channel that launched this week. I have to say that so far, I'm a big fan of the show. And on Wednesday, Brian Urlacher (who serves as an analyst on the show) talked with Jay Glazer about some Bears-related things, and even about how angry he was with Lovie's firing. I tweeted most everything notable Urlacher said on the show, so check our timeline. (Our Twitter Account, @DaBearNecess)

'Encouraging' news for Bennett, Melton, Scott- The usual suspects sat out practice on Wednesday with injuries. The most notable of the guys I'm referring to are defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion) linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (right knee), wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), and (long, long-time) long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs).

Melton and Bennett are still going through the league's concussion protocol, and here's what Trestman had to say about their status on Wednesday, according to Kevin Fishbain:

“The one thing that is encouraging both from Chris and our medical people is [Bennett and Melton] are both getting better and they are making progress,” he said. “We’ll see what happens down the road, and we’re going to try and be as upbeat as we can and stay encouraged that they’ll be ready to go.”

Hopefully Bennett and Melton will be ready for week one.

As for the other notable injured players, Mannelly is expected to be ready for week one, but the status is very much up in the air for Williams and Scott. Williams is about 10 days away or so from practicing according to Trestman, and even if he were ready to go in week one, it's hard to imagine he'd be the starter with how Jon Bostic's looking so far. And Bostic may have won the starting job regardless.

Scott's in competition for a roster spot, and if he were to prove healthy enough to make the team, you'd have to think J'Marcus Webb would be the odd man out. Trestman said this about Scott on Wednesday:

“We’re encouraged with that as well. He’s getting better everyday. We feel good enough that we’ll see him get a little more work over the next 10 days as we move forward,” Trestman said. “The best I’ve heard from Jonathan is that he’s back up, his knee is cleaned out and we’re encouraged that he’ll be working soon.” (HubArkush.Com)

Peppers expected to (really) play Friday- Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was expected to play last week against the Chargers, but the team chose to play it safe when Peppers didn't feel quite like himself after warmups. Well, this week, he's practiced everyday and feels good, and Trestman thinks Peppers will actually play this time (vs the Raiders). (670 The Score)

Rookie redemption for Phil Emery and Chicago Bears in 2013?- Our good buddy Matt Eurich explains how last year's draft class is looking quite bleak for Phil Emery, but the '13 class may be good enough to make up for it. (Chicago Bears Huddle)

Ditka watches Bears practice, speaks to team- DA COACH! (Chicago Bears)

Palmer, Edwards to handle all reps in finale- Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards, two veteran quarterbacks the Bears signed in the last week, will be the only two quarterbacks to play in the finale. Keep Jay Cutler and Josh McCown healthy. However, I'm not sure McCown is even better than Edwards for sure, and that's not exactly an endorsement in McCown. (ESPN Chicago)

Bears sticking with rookies on right side- Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will stay as the starters on the right side of the line going into the week three preseason game, after they each impressed on Thursday.

In Long's case he was extremely impressive. So impressive, in fact, that Pro Football Focus has given Long the highest grade of any offensive lineman through two preseason games. Not bad for a guy with just a few college football games under his belt, eh?

Additionally, long-time respected NFL writer (and VP of Player Personnel for the Cowboys in the 29 years before that) Gil Brandt tweeted this on Monday:
Long has likely locked up the right guard job, but Mills is still fighting for the starting right tackle position. The fact he is even in this battle says a lot about how much he's impressed given that he was a fifth round draft pick this year. It also says a lot about how little J'Marcus Webb is impressing at right tackle.

But you'd have to like Mills' chances of being the starting right tackle in week one if he's starting the second and third preseason games and impressing the coaching staff.  (Chicago Tribune)

Forte endorses rookie right side of line- Matt Forte is liking the work on the right side of the offensive line from the rookies. Here's what he had to say about their performance against the Chargers:

"They did a great job," Forte said. "If we can get that push off the ball at the line of scrimmage, I can basically just use my vision in the zone blocking scheme and we'll be fine in the running game. They're doing a good job. I'm really impressed, especially by [sixth-round pick] Jordan [Mills]. I didn't even notice him in OTAs because we didn't have pads on. But he's stepped up during camp and has been doing a great job."  (ESPN Chicago)

Mills adjusting fast in big jump to the NFL- Adam Hoge with a nice read in regards to Jordan Mills. (670 The Score)

Pleased to meet you: Preseason week 3, Oakland Raiders- Steven Schweickert with a look at the Oakland Raiders, the Bears' opponent on Friday.

Matt Forte primed for best season yet- I completely agree with this take from Blake Van Poucke, and I said the same in a podcast with Football Sickness yesterday (look for that soon). (Chicago Bears Huddle)

Early returns on Hester are positive- (Finally) back in the returner-only role, Devin Hester is looking like his old self. (ESPN Chicago)

How confident are you in the Bears' offensive line? (Windy City Gridiron)

Mike Brown wishes Bears career could've been different- Good stuff from Tony Andracki on former Bears safety Mike Brown, who is definitely one of my favorite Bears of all-time. Damn injuries. (CSN Chicago)

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