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Urlacher ‘on pace’ for camp

LAKE FOREST – Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher remained sidelined today as he recovers from a lingering knee injury, and coach Lovie Smith sees no need to rush his return.

“He’s not ready to go yet,” Smith said. “He’s on pace. Our plan was to take it slow with him.”

Urlacher, 34, injured his left knee in Week 17 last season against the Minnesota Vikings. He avoided a torn ACL, but badly sprained his MCL and PCL while trying to bat down a pass.

The Bears kept Urlacher out of organized team activities and likely will do the same for the rest of the full-squad minicamp, which continues through Thursday. He is expected to be ready by the time the Bears conduct their first training-camp practice July 26.

“We know what Brian can do,” Smith said. “It’s not like he’s going to tell us an awful lot out here. He’s right on pace, [and] he should be able to get a good rest of his offseason in and be good to go for training camp.”

Too soon to tell: Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice offered an honest response when asked about what he hoped to see from his offensive linemen in the next few days.

“To be quite frank with you, you’re not going to tell anything about your offensive line until they put pads on,” Tice said. “To sit there and say, ‘Oh, yeah, this guy, he’s going to be the answer to the problems,’ that would be silly.”

It appears that Chris Williams and J’Marcus Webb will compete for the starting job at left tackle. Williams took the majority of the snaps with the first team Tuesday.

Bears bits: Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not practice because of a lower-leg injury, but Smith said the injury was not serious. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to do something before this minicamp is over,” Smith said. … Tight end Matt Spaeth, wide receiver Johnny Knox, long snapper Patrick Mannelly and linebacker Patrick Trahan also missed practice. ... Tickets for the Bears’ “Family Fest” on Aug. 3 are on sale at the team’s website, www.chicagobears.com.


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