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Bears play it safe with Urlacher

LAKE FOREST – Shortly after noon Thursday, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher stood behind a lectern and vowed to play a full game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Less than two hours later, Urlacher was not wearing pads as the Bears headed to practice.

Yet Bears coach Lovie Smith said Urlacher remained on schedule to play in this weekend’s regular season opener. Smith said he and the rest of the team’s coaching staff decided to give Urlacher a one-day break after he practiced Monday and Wednesday at Halas Hall.

“I’m not worried, but there’s only so many plays that you have, and for me, and for us, I just don’t think he needs any more than a couple of days in a week,” Smith said. “He’s had trouble with the knee, so we’re not going to push the knee through the week. We’ve done that in the past with a lot of guys, though, this is no big issue at all.”

Urlacher said his knee felt good almost four weeks after arthroscopic surgery. He said he was not sure whether the Colts would try to target him with plays in the middle of the field.

“If they want to test me, I’ll have more chances to make plays,” Urlacher said.

Top QBs: Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said he looked forward to having a front-row seat to watch the team’s revamped offense this season.

Briggs also described Jay Cutler as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

“Jay’s definitely in there,” Briggs said. “I don’t know. I don’t rank them. I know that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are definitely in that category, and Philip Rivers. There’s a lot of guys who [could join them], but these guys have proven themselves over time.”

Health beat: Bears running back Lorenzo Booker missed his second consecutive practice because of a head injury, putting his status for Sunday’s regular-season opener in doubt.

Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said he was not certain whether he would be able to use Booker, who beat out Armando Allen for the team’s third-string running back position.

“We were happy that he made the team on special teams,” Toub said. “His status really is questionable. I just don’t know what’s going to happen with him.”

Bears bits: Safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and punter Adam Podlesh (hip) took part in limited drills during practice. … If Urlacher needs rest during Sunday’s game, Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said, Nick Roach would move to middle linebacker.


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