A capacity crowd of 12,000-plus fans groaned almost in unison whenChicago Bears star wide receiver Brandon Marshall leapt to make a catch and landed awkwardly Saturday night during the team’s first padded practice of training camp.
Marshall stayed on the ground for a couple minutes as members of the club’s medical staff rushed over to assist the Pro Bowl wideout, but Marshall eventually walked off the field under his own power and was cleared to resume practicing.
"Brandon Marshall is a scholarship player," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "I think we’d all agree with that. He made some big plays. A little scare there early on, but of course there was nothing to it. But you always fear it whenever you see one of your best players going down like that."
Marshall returned to the field with a vengeance, connecting with quarterback Jay Cutler on several deep balls at the expense of veteran cornerback Charles Tillman.
"We know what type of player he is," Smith said of Marshall. "He was going against a good football player in Charles Tillman most of the night. When you’re a good receiver and you have a good quarterback that can get the ball there, it’s just a one-on-one game. Brandon’s going to win most of those battles."
Starting free safety Chris Conte was escorted to the trainer’s tent late in practice for undisclosed reasons but also eventually returned to action. However, rookie receiver Joe Anderson left the field early with what the club called an “illness.”
I’m going to be fine, going to be back to 100 percent," Conte said on Monday. "I’m probably going to start working out pretty soon. It’s important for me, especially not having an offseason last year [due to the lockout] to spend as much time as possible in Chicago during the offseason. That’s what I’m planning on doing.
Bears S Chris Conte on his injury and postseason plans.
The Bears have placed rookie safety Chris Conte on injured reserve with a foot sprain.
Conte joins receiver Johnny Knox (back surgery) on IR following Sunday’s loss to Seattle. It leaves the Bears with three healthy safeties in Craig Steltz, Brandon Meriweather and rookie Winston Venable.Major Wright could be back from a shoulder sprain this week.
Conte, a third-round draft pick from Cal, had a solid rookie season making nine starts and appearing in all 14 games to date. He finished with 47 tackles and one interception.
With Conte and Knox on IR and receiver Sam Hurd no longer on the team, the Bears promoted receiverMax Komar, linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, and running back Armando Allen from the practice squad.
Coach Lovie Smith said the team had no immediate plans to shut down quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb surgery) and running back Matt Forte (sprained MCL).
As expected, Gibson, signed to the practice squad Nov. 30, was one of the players elevated to compensate for the Bears’ injuries. Allen and Komar were also promoted, putting them in position to collect significantly larger checks for the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Bears also signed running back Robert Hughes, a Notre Dame product, to the practice squad. Hughes spent training camp and preseason with the team. There are two open spots on the practice squad.
Gibson is a player the Bears liked. They failed in a waiver claim to land him in August when he went to the Washington Redskins after being cut loose by the San Francisco 49ers. An outside linebacker at Ohio State, the Bears will try him as a situational pass rusher.
Komar was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 11. Allen has had two stints on the practice squad.