- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears right tackle Jordan Mills said on Tuesday he is almost fully recovered from the offseason surgery he underwent to fix the fractured fifth metatarsal in his left foot, and he expects to receive medical clearance to return to the field when the club begins organized team activities (OTAs) later in the spring.
“My foot’s doing good,” Mills said after being honored as the Bears' 2013 rookie recipient of the Brian Piccolo Award.
“The training staff’s been doing great ever since it was broken and I was having surgery. They kept me upright and my head on straight and got after it. It’s going to be a good spring and OTAs and getting ready for camp and the season. I’m doing everything, lifting weights, running around a little bit, doing some light jogging. They don’t want me to go full speed yet until we start OTAs, but right now I’m doing everything everybody’s doing in the weight room, cardio, and when OTAs kick off, I’ll be full speed.”
Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer revealed on Tuesday that Mills actually fractured his foot during pregame warm-ups before the Bears’ NFC North-deciding game versus the Green Bay Packers in Week 17. Mills, the Bears' 2013 fifth-round draft choice out of Louisiana Tech, was a fixture in the starting lineup his entire rookie season, but had to leave the Packers game after the opening series.
“Warming up before we even put pads on, I felt a little pop but I didn’t pay any attention to it,” Mills said. “My adrenalin was pumping anyway, pivotal game for going to the playoffs, so I wasn’t really paying attention to it. But when I went on the field it became numb and I couldn’t walk on it. [Reserve] Eben Britton did an excellent, excellent job of coming in and playing. I was in the locker room just losing my mind with the fact that I wasn’t out there with my brothers trying to get the win.”
Bears coach Marc Trestman envisions a bright future for Mills in Chicago.
“He’s an example for how to do things,” Trestman said. “The first guy to practice every day is Jordan Mills. He’s not just out there first, he’s out there by a long shot. He’s getting himself ready. I’ve asked him how he does it and I know he gives credit to his family, the way he was raised and the environment he was raised under. He does everything as if he’s walking like a champion every day. He’s early to meetings, he’s well-prepared, he’s humble, he listens. He does a lot of the things and never feels like he knows it all.
“He’s always willing to learn, so he’s a great example for all of us.”