Some good news on the injury front for the Chicago Bears on Wednesday at Halas Hall, as right tackle Jordan Mills (foot) returned to practice, and free safety Chris Conte (shoulder) revealed that he will be able to play on Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
Bears RT Jordan Mills (foot) returned to practice today & worked with 2nd string while media could watch practice. Had been out since Aug. 6
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) August 20, 2014
#Bears safety Chris Conte has been cleared and will play in Seattle.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 20, 2014
Mills underwent left foot surgery in January, and had missed all on-field activities until his participation in Wednesday's practice. He hadn't even been spotted walking without a boot on his foot until Monday. But, the fact he's already back practicing is a very good sign, and hopefully he can play in the Bears' final preseason game next week against the Cleveland Browns.
In Mills' absence, rookie Michael Ola has been very impressive at right tackle and it seems like the team would be comfortable with Ola starting over Mills come week one if Mills isn't back in game shape or has any issues with the foot.
As for Conte, the 25-year-old made his first 2014 practice on August 10th, after being on the PUP list due to shoulder surgery he underwent in April. Now has a chance to make a statement over these final two preseason games in the Bears' wide-open safety competition.
Conte's 2013 struggles are well-documented, but the fact is that he may be the most talented free safety on the roster and likely has a very good shot at a starting safety job still. If nothing else, his presence may make Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen, Adrian Wilson, Danny McCray and company step up their game up a little bit in this battle for starting jobs and roster spots.
In other encouraging health news, kick returner/wide receiver Chris Williams' hamstring feels better and he too will play on Friday night:
That's big. RT @ZachZaidman: Chris Williams will play Friday.As you see there, I said "That's big", because Williams really needs to get into game action and show what he can do, as the Bears evaluate their options at kick/punt returner and wide receiver.
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) August 20, 2014
Williams impressed in the preseason opener when he reeled in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Clausen, but injured his hamstring on the play. But the play demonstrated the elite speed Williams possesses and it's why that, along with potentially being another nice weapon in the Bears' offense, he could be the best kick/punt return option on the roster.
Right now, nobody is impressing in the return game for the Bears, and Williams was an electrifying returner in the CFL. However, the 26-year-old has yet to attempt a return in preseason for the Bears, and he's never even played a regular season game in the NFL. So, before you hand Williams a kick/punt returner job, you want to see what he can do there in NFL game action (albeit preseason), and you also want to make sure his hamstring is not going to be an issue going forward.
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