BOURBONNAIS – Despite his size, Bears defensive tackle Marcus Harrison has found a way to squeeze into the coaches’ doghouse.
Harrison (6-3, 316) remained on the sidelines Thursday when the Bears’ full 90-man squad was able to practice together for the first time this season. The fourth-year veteran arrived to camp 11 pounds overweight and will not be cleared to return until he passes a team physical.
Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli did not hide his frustration when asked about Harrison. Instead of practicing, Harrison has taken part in conditioning drills on a side field.
“I’m concerned any time somebody’s not practicing,” Marinelli said. “Very concerned about that.”
Only one option existed for Harrison to improve.
“Get out to practice,” Marinelli said. “Once he gets here, then we can start working. The first rule of getting better is showing up. You’ve got to show up and be ready to work.”
In four seasons, Harrison has made more headlines for his weight problems than for his play.
He has registered 55 tackles and three sacks in 37 games, including five appearances in 2010.
Welcome aboard: Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett said he was thrilled to welcome teammates Roy Williams and Sam Hurd into the mix after they had to sit out for the first four practices.
All of the Bears’ veteran free agent signings, including Williams and Hurd, needed to wait until the NFL’s league year started Thursday before they could practice.
“Its very exciting, man,” Bennett said. “Those two guys are playmakers. Any time you can add more guys to the group that are going to help out, I’m all for it.”
So far, so good: Bears rookie safety Chris Conte, the team’s third-round draft pick (No. 93 overall) out of Cal, has impressed Marinelli through the first week of training camp.
Earlier this week, Conte intercepted two passes from fellow rookie Nathan Enderle.
“He’s got good instincts,” Marinelli said of Conte. “We know athletically he can go now. He’s got really good speed, he’s smart, and he seems to adapt very quickly.
“It’s just day by day, but he’s got good ball skills.”
Bears bits: The Bears will practice at Soldier Field today as part of the team’s annual “Family Fest.” After today’s 7 p.m. practice, players will bus back to Olivet Nazarene University.
Bears training camp: Day 5
Play of the day: Caleb Hanie missed on a few passes in his first practice of the season, but he also threw the prettiest pass of the day. He lofted a perfect deep ball to rookie wide receiver Kris Adams, who beat cornerback Joshua Moore for a 45-yard touchdown reception.
Quote of the day: “It seems like every time you practice at night, you have more life to the practice. I think a guy like Marion Barber stepping in and setting the tempo [made a difference].” – Bears coach Lovie Smith