LAKE FOREST – The Bears got two pieces of good news on the injury front at their Thanksgiving Day practice.
Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff appears set to make his Bears debut Sunday against the Vikings.
Marc Trestman said Ratliff is “in line to go” after signing with the team almost four weeks ago.
“The little he’s been in there, he’s holding the point. He’s getting a rush,” Trestman said about what he has seen from Ratliff in practice. “He hasn’t played for a while so we don’t have high expectations right now, but we certainly see the light and we’re hoping we get a little bit out of him and it might be Sunday, we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
Ratliff has not played since November 18, 2012. He has been recovering from a groin injury.
“I’m looking forward to it. Right now, that’s the plan [to play Sunday], just going to take it one day at a time and see what happens,” Ratliff said.
The Bears’ run defense, which is ranked last in the NFL, could certainly use the four-time Pro Bowler and nine-year veteran who did not miss a game from 2008 to 2011 when he was with the Cowboys.
“I’m just eager to play football, period. Stopping the run, that’s part of our job and I fully embrace that role and look forward to doing it,” he said.
As to where Ratliff is at health-wise, he said, “I feel good – that’s all I need.” Ratliff could be joined on the interior of the D-line against the Vikings by Stephen Paea, who was limited in practice with a toe injury.
Matt Forte (knee) returned to practice in a limited fashion after missing Wednesday’s session. He was participating in the portion of practice open to reporters, and Trestman said the Bears’ back “looked unencumbered running around out there.”
Safety Anthony Walters (groin) missed practice for the second day in a row while Derrick Martin (hamstring) and Brandon Marshall (quad) were limited.
Turkey Day break: Trestman told his team to spend some time away from football on Thanksgiving for a few hours and to focus on their families for the holiday. But can the hardworking coach do the same?
“I can put it away. If I’m selling it, I’ve got to do it, right? That’s what I’m selling today is let’s put it behind us,” he said. “We still have work to do as coaches, we’re going to get it done. … But we look forward to going home to our families and enjoying the holiday. We don’t get many of them and we should be able to do that.”