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Bears’ odd couple building on close bond

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2012 – 8:11 pm

When Jay Cutler throws a long pass to Brandon Marshall in practice, it’s usually the farthest the two are apart from each other all day.

The Bears quarterback and wide receiver, who formed a close bond as Denver Broncos teammates from 2006-08, have been inseparable at training camp. Their dorm rooms are right next to each other and they’ve been walking to and from the dining hall side-by-side on a regular basis.

“I’m just happy to be here with Jay,” said Marshall, a three-time Pro Bowler who was acquired by the Bears March 13 in a trade with the Miami Dolphins. “He’s a great leader and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“You can put a good quarterback and a good receiver together, but it’s not always going to mesh because sometimes you don’t see the field the same way or see things off the field the same way. But Jay and I, I don’t know why, we see things the same way.”

Cutler and Marshall developed into Pro Bowlers while playing their first three NFL seasons together in Denver. As Cutler’s primary target, Marshall caught 102 passes for a career-high 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007 and had a career-best 104 receptions for 1,265 yards and 6 TDs in 2008.

Marshall conceded that like any two people with strong personalities, he and Cutler don’t always see eye-to-eye. But that doesn’t affect their friendship.

“In any relationship where you take two people from two different places and you put them together, you butt heads because sometimes we try to impose our own wills on each other,” Marshall said.

“But once you understand that there’s no right or wrong, it’s just two different people, that’s when a relationship gets better, and with Jay and I, it’s always some work. We’re like the odd couple. We’re that couple where there’s fireworks, but then it gets a little fiery at times, too.”

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Hester OK after collision with Wright

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2012 – 7:13 pm

The Bears survived a scare in their second training camp practice Friday when receiver Devin Hester was knocked to the ground in a collision with safety Major Wright while both were trying to catch a pass down the seam.

Hester walked off the field gingerly, but returned moments later and finished the practice. He told reporters after the workout that it was “nothing major” and he would be fine.

Asked what had happened, Hester said: “I’ve got to go in and watch film, I really don’t know. We kind of collided, both of us going for the ball. It’s just something that happens.”

Although the Bears were practicing in shells and won’t conduct their first padded workout until Saturday night, Hester wasn’t surprised about what transpired when the ball was in the air.

“If you don’t expect accidents, then you shouldn’t play football,” Hester said. “It’s just the nature of the beast. There are going to be accidents, even if we’re playing touch.”

Hester returned on the first-team offense’s next series of plays and caught a pass from Jay Cutler.

“It was bothering me, but at the same time I wanted to see where I was at,” Hester said. “You can have a little nagging injury, but it won’t affect the way you play once the play is snapped. So I just wanted to see how I felt once the ball was snapped.”

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Bears have right environment for Price

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2012 – 7:00 pm

Coach Lovie Smith feels that the Bears’ family atmosphere provides the ideal environment for a player who needs a change of scenery and a chance to revitalize his NFL career.

Such is the case with Brian Price, a defensive tackle the Bears acquired Thursday from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick.

Price has struggled with the death of his 33-year-old sister, Bridget James, who was the victim of a hit-and-run automobile accident in May in Los Angeles. The 6-1, 303-pounder was reportedly hospitalized due to exhaustion in the wake of the tragedy.

“I think we have a great locker room for any player coming in,” Smith said. “If you want to be successful, you want a second chance to make things right or just a new start, it’s a great place for it. Our guys are going to meet him, be there for him as a teammate and let him know how we do things. But we’re bringing him in here to help us win football games and hopefully that’s what he’s coming in to do.”

Price was selected by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 35th overall pick. After appearing in five games as a reserve as a rookie, he started 14 of 15 games played in 2011, registering 24 tackles and three sacks.

“From him coming out of college, I had a chance to look at him a lot,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “You follow the guys in the league and he’s a physical guy. He fits like our guys; athletic, the movement, he’s got good power. So we’re anxious to get him here.”

Price passed his physical with the Bears Friday. But in accordance with the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, he will not be permitted to practice until at least Wednesday at the earliest.

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Bush sees himself as complete back

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2012 – 1:42 pm

Bruising running back Michael Bush is known for his ability to gain tough yards in goal-line and short-yardage situations. But the 6-1, 245-pounder prefers to be viewed as an all-around back.

“No one likes to be a battering ram. It just happens that way,” Bush said with a smile. “That’s the role that I’ve been stuck with because of my size. But if it’s what I’ve got to do, it’s what I’ve got to do.”

Last season with the Oakland Raiders, Bush tied for 13th in the NFL with a 75 percent success rate on third-and-one, picking up first downs on 12 of 16 opportunities.

The Bears signed Bush to a four-year contract in March to back up and complement starter Matt Forte. Bush spent his first five NFL seasons with the Raiders, rushing for 2,642 yards and 21 touchdowns on 256 carries while playing in 61 games with 19 starts. He has also caught 91 passes for 879 yards and 1 TD.

The Louisville product had his most productive season in 2011, setting career highs in attempts (256), yards (977), touchdowns (7), receptions (37), receiving yards (418) and starts (9).

Bush joined the Raiders in 2007 as a fourth-round draft pick, but missed his entire rookie season while recovering from a broken leg he suffered in Louisville’s 2006 opener. Since debuting in 2008, he has increased his rushing yardage each year from 421 to 589 to 655 to 977.

Asked about his comfort level in the Bears offense, Bush said: “I’m getting there. I took a break [between minicamp and training camp]. So now you’ve got to come back and learn everything and the footwork and stuff like that. I’ll be fine when it’s time to roll.”

Bush sees himself as complete back

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