New Chicago Bears defensive tackle Brian Price, who was acquired July 26 from the Bucs for a conditional draft pick, reportedly a seventh-rounder, attended practice but cannot participate until Wednesday.
Price is being counted on to contribute in the rotation inside at both positions behind starters Henry Melton (3 technique) and Matt Toeaiana (nose tackle).
Price has been beset by injury and personal problems, including the spring death of his sister in a car accident. But the former second-round pick from UCLA believes a change of scenery will benefit him.
"I'm feeling great," he said. "Just my mental (state) a couple months ago was nowhere near where I am now. Just from being here I feel so much better, like the weight of the world has just lifted off of my shoulders. I was happy (being at practice) -- a brand new beginning, a fresh start. It don't get no better than this. This is a defensive town with great leaders. I love it. The love of the game is just coming back to me."
Price may need some time to be back to speed after suffering a leg injury on the first day of Bucs camp.
--TE Kellen Davis is expected to play a much bigger role in the passing offense this season with Mike Tice replacing Mike Martz as offensive coordinator. Davis caught just 18 passes last season but five were for touchdowns.
--CB Tim Jennings is struggling to hold off a challenge from UFA Kelvin Hayden for the starting job and has struggled to contain WR Brandon Marshall, but so have all the Bears' defensive backs.
--OT Gabe Carimi is 100 percent healthy after missing the final 14 games of his rookie season with a dislocated kneecap that required two surgeries. He is locked in as the starter at right tackle, which is expected to significantly upgrade a unit that has struggled for the past two seasons.
--RB Michael Bush admitted that he's not a huge fan of always being the battering ram in short-yardage situations, but he realizes that, at 6-1 and 245 pounds, that's going to be one of his major roles.
--DT Brian Price suffered a leg injury during his first day of training camp with the Bucs, before he was traded to the Bears, and he said it may require a little bit of time before he's 100 percent, but he expects to be able to contribute soon.
--CB Jeremy Ware was signed on Saturday as a free agent.
--PK David Teggart, the only backup in camp to Robbie Gould, was cut.
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Don't read too much into J'Marcus Webb taking almost every first-team rep at left tackle during Thursday's (July 26) opening practice, while Chris Williams worked with the twos.
"It's not his job to lose," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said of Webb. "He happened to be in there first because of the fact that he finished the season as a starter. It's going to be a dogfight for those two guys. I'm not going to put up with any crap as far as turning guys free and not protecting the quarterback.
"We have too many athletes to not be able to throw the football explosively. And no it's not his job to lose. He might think so. But if he thinks so he's wrong."
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: More than 10,000 fans attended Saturday night's first practice in full pads, and they were treated to a spectacular performance by wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He beat Pro-Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman deep twice, once making a catch that Tillman barely missed deflecting, and another time adjusting to a Cutler bomb that was launched horizontally across the field 60 yards in the air. Later the 6-4 Marshall plucked a high pass one-handed as easily as if he were picking an apple off a tree.
ROOKIE REPORT: At one point during Friday afternoon's practice during the 7-on-7 portion of scrimmage, rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught passes from Jason Campbell on four consecutive plays while working with the second team.
"Less is more with him," quarterback Jay Cutler said of the second-round pick from South Carolina. "We're going to put him in positions where he can be successful -- not a lot of thinking - where he can just go out and play football and play fast. Whenever you start putting these guys in positions where they've got to move around, where they've got to think a lot, it just slows them down. They already have enough on their plates."
First-round pick Shea McClellin has shown the athleticism and quickness to effectively rush the passer from the left defensive end spot, which is what the Bears are expecting from him, even if he doesn't unseat incumbent Israel Idonije as the starter.
Fourth-round tight end Evan Rodriguez has already made his presence felt as a pass-catching threat, frequently getting the ball in second-team reps.
--WR Johnny Knox is on active/PUP after last season's back surgery, and there is no timetable for his return, but it will not be soon.
--WR Devin Hester sat out Saturday night's practice after tweaking his ankle following a collision with S Major Wright on Friday.
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