SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman suffered a right triceps injury Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, and the team said he wouldn't be returning.

Tillman suffered a torn triceps muscle in the same arm last November, and the setback resulted in the team placing the cornerback on the injured reserve with a designation to return.

Tillman sustained the injury in the third quarter, when he appeared to become tangled up with a 49ers player near the sideline. Immediately after the injury, head athletic trainer Chris Hanks and a team physician ran tests on Tillman, who appeared to be in considerable pain.

A 12-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl selection, Tillman (152 career starts) ranks third in franchise history with 36 interceptions. Tillman leads the franchise in career interception return yardage (675), interception return touchdowns (eight) and defensive return touchdowns (nine).

Tillman leads the NFL with 42 forced fumbles since 2003. Tillman is also the only player since 2003 to record 40 forced fumbles and 30 interceptions.

Tillman, 33, signed a one-year contract back in March worth $3.5 million. The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2013, Tillman played in just eight games last season before suffering the torn triceps.

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Kaepernick throws early TD pass, 49ers lead Bears

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Colin Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a 3-yard touchdown pass following a blocked punt, and the San Francisco 49ers led the Chicago Bears 10-0 after one quarter Sunday night.

Rookie Aaron Lynch blocked the punt by Patrick O'Donnell on Chicago's initial series, giving San Francisco first-and-goal from the 8. Kaepernick found Crabtree in the right corner of the end zone three plays later to give the sellout crowd plenty to cheer for in the regular-season debut of Levi's Stadium.

Looking for Stevie Johnson on his second series, Kaepernick threw an incomplete pass initially ruled an interception by Charles Tillman before being overturned on replay. San Francisco wound up capitalizing with Phil Dawson's 27-yard field goal, using up a good chunk of the clock in the process.

Kaepernick was steady on the big stage facing Chicago once again after making his breakout first career start against the Bears nearly two years ago and holding onto the No. 1 job over Alex Smith.

The much-scrutinized field featured visible chunks of loose sod after new grass was laid for a third time since April.

Chicago's offense didn't have much chance to lose its footing, going three-and-out on its first two series in a first quarter slowed by seven penalty flags -- four for San Francisco.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Chicago Bears announced receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will play Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers after the duo tested their respective injuries during pre-game warmups at Levi's Stadium.

The club officially listed them as questionable heading into the game.

The Bears held out Marshall from Friday's practice, as he's been hobbled with a sore right ankle. Jeffery participated in practice in a limited capacity on Friday, and took part in team drills. But Bears coach Marc Trestman said both players' potential availability would be game-time decisions.

During pre-game warmups, Marshall and Jeffery spent several minutes with strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Clark stretching and running routes to test whether they could handle the rigors of a live game. As the duo warmed up, Trestman huddled at the 5-yard line near the North end zone with head athletic trainer Chris Hanks, general manager Phil Emery, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, offensive quality control coach Carson Walch and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh to watch the receivers and presumably make a decision as to whether they'd play.

Marshall and Jeffery suffered their injuries during the second half of the club's season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills. Marshall said on Thursday he planned to play, while Jeffery seemed a little more measured about his prospects.

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There are major questions about whether Chicago Bears starting wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will play Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

Both players were listed as questionable to play and one source said he was "75 percent" sure neither would play. In addition, receiver Josh Morgan is listed as doubtful on the injury report with a groin injury.

The Bears had just four receivers on their active roster before signing Josh Bellamy and Chris Williams off their practice squad Saturday. Veteran Santonio Holmes would start at one receiver spot if both Marshall and Jeffery are out. It is unclear who would fill the other spot if Morgan also is out Sunday, although the team spent extra time at Friday's practice working with Bellamy.

Marshall (ankle) and Jeffery (hamstring) were both injured in the Bears' Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The Bears held out Marshall from Friday's practice, but he came out and participated during the walk-through portion. Jeffery practiced in a limited capacity and took part in some of the full team drills.

Information from Bears reporter Michael C. Wright was included in this report.

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Sources: Hayden, Fales, Fiammetta released

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
CHICAGO -- A rash of injuries on the offensive line and at wide receiver prompted the Chicago Bears to make a handful of roster moves in advance of Sunday night’s road game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Sources confirmed the Bears waived quarterback David Fales and released veteran cornerback Kelvin Hayden and veteran fullback Tony Fiammetta.

The Bears announced following Friday’s practice that Fales (shoulder) and Fiammetta (hamstring) had been officially ruled out for Week 2.

Hayden was a healthy inactive in Chicago's 23-20 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills in the season opener.

The expectation is the Bears will look to fill some of the open roster spots off the practice squad. With Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) questionable, and Josh Morgan (groin) doubtful, the Bears could choose to promote one, or more, of their current practice squad wide receivers: Josh Bellamy, Greg Herd, Chris Williams and Rashad Ross. Practice squad center/guard Taylor Boggs is a candidate to help with depth on the offensive line after starters Roberto Garza (high-ankle sprain) and Matt Slauson (high-ankle sprain) were both declared out for the 49ers game.

Re-sodded Levi's field set for test

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers will practice in Levi's Stadium on Saturday, a step that might be more about footing than getting familiar with the surroundings.

The 49ers host the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, the first time the stadium will be used for an NFL regular-season game.

"The reports are positive," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. "We've had three practices and two preseason games and we'll practice there tomorrow."

The difference is the field has been re-sodded three times, and the 49ers (1-0) will be getting their first look at the latest version.

Punter Andy Lee and kicker Phil Dawson are the only players to have experienced the latest transformation.

"What it is now, from what it's been, it's perfectly fine," Lee said. "I don't know how the big guys will do, but it seems like it will be great."

The 49ers tore out the turf following their first exhibition game against the Denver Broncos and Harbaugh ended a public practice early when players slipped on the grass.

The field was redone after the 49ers played the San Diego Chargers in an exhibition game. An international soccer match between Mexico and Chile took place a week later and the grass seemed to hold up.

The sod has had another seven days to take hold for Sunday night.

"We were on the grass for the first time yesterday (Thursday)," Lee said. "Until then we weren't too sure about it. We'll spend time in pregame, like we always do, and get things figured out."

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What To Expect In Week 2

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12


John Clayton discusses the Bears' wide receiver concerns and what to expect from the Chargers against the Seahawks.

How they match up: Bears at 49ers

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12


7:30 p.m. CT Sunday at Levi's Stadium on NBC
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh provided glowing reviews of Chicago’s Marc Trestman back in 2013, saying he “taught me everything." The latter reciprocated on Friday as his team prepared to board a flight for the Bears-49ers matchup Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Harbaugh and Trestman worked together on the staff of the Oakland Raiders back in 2002. It was Harbaugh’s first coaching job as a quality control coach on offense, and he reported directly to Trestman, who served as offensive coordinator.

“Jim, he’s an amazing guy. He’s hypercompetitive, was extremely detailed and really worked hard at his job. He was quality control. He was drawing the pictures,” Trestman said. “The standard was very, very high. He took it very, very seriously. He went from there, he moved on. He started working with the quarterbacks in his second year and spending … individual time with them -- just a good friend, and just a very good football coach and person.”

After the Bears hired Trestman as head coach in 2013, Harbaugh spoke on the "Waddle & Silvy" show” on ESPN Chicago 1000, saying the 49ers still use Trestman's system of calling plays.

Asked at the time whether Chicago hit a home run with the hiring of Trestman, Harbaugh, a former Bears quarterback, said, “Absolutely. Grand slam. That was a grand slam hire. You see the coaches that Marc has put around him. They know football. He knows football. He’s a great teacher. That’s something I learned working with Marc, by example and by things he would tell me. That’s one of my lucky breaks in coaching was to work with Marc Trestman, because he took the time to train me and to teach me. I will always be thankful for that.”

During their time working together, Trestman quickly noticed Harbaugh’s competitive nature and drive.

“He was very serious about making sure every picture was perfect. It was always detailed out,” Trestman explained. “If there was a line that wasn’t correctly done, he took it personal that he didn’t do it right. He was a guy [who] spent time at the office, slept at the office, did whatever he could to help the football team.”

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears will be without two starters along the offensive line Sunday as center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson will miss the game against the San Francisco 49ers.

In other injury news, receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are listed as questionable for Sunday.

Garza and Slauson have been ruled out after both suffered high-ankle sprains in the opener, according to sources. The Bears instead will start veteran Brian de la Puente and rookie Michael Ola at those positions.

De la Puente, who started 44 games at center for the Saints prior to joining the Bears, and Ola both played well enough last week to gain the team's confidence in them as starters.

Coach Marc Trestman said the club might make some moves in the next couple of days to help with the injury situation along the offensive line. The Bears entered the season opener with seven offensive linemen on the active roster, and they signed Eben Britton on Tuesday to provide depth.

"The roster is really gonna have to be fluid as we continue to determine where are players are," Trestman said.

The Bears held out Marshall from Friday's practice, but he came out and participated during the walk-through portion. Jeffery practiced in a limited capacity and took part in some of the full team drills.

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ESPN Chicago picks: Bears at 49ers

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
video .

49ers vs. Bears preview

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
video Colin Kaepernick's first career NFL start came against the Chicago Bears, on "Monday Night Football" on Nov. 19, 2012. He lit up the Bears that night and while circumstances have the quarterback and his San Francisco 49ers teammates opening their new home against that same team, Kaepernick is anything but sentimental about the career arc. Besides, it's been almost two years and many things have changed.

NFL Nation reporters Paul Gutierrez, who covers the 49ers, and Michael C. Wright, who covers the Bears, break down the Week 2 matchup:

Gutierrez: Michael, the Bears obviously have a high-powered, pass-happy offense with Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery & Co. And with the 49ers' secondary beat up, particularly at the cornerback position (starting corners Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver are injured, as well as nickelback Jimmie Ward), do you expect the Bears to attack the Niners through the air even more than usual?

Wright: Paul, I really think that would be a huge mistake, especially when considering there's some concern as to whether the Bears will have center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson in the fold. The Bears generated 427 yards of offense in the opener, but the pass-run ratio (49 passes, 18 runs) was atrocious. What's worse is the Bears weren't playing catch-up against the Bills, and Matt Forte was averaging 4.8 yards per attempt. Yet the ground game was virtually ignored. Bad move. My guess is the Bears reviewed tape of the opener and realized they've got to get Forte involved more. Besides that, DeMarco Murray had some success last week running the ball against the 49ers. From my vantage point, Forte is a better player than Murray. You also have to consider Chicago's situation at receiver. Jeffery left last week's game due to a hamstring injury, and Marshall was in and out of the lineup due to an ankle injury.

Given San Francisco's issues on the back end, throwing the ball would make sense, sure. But the Bears need to control the ball in this game, which in turn would keep their struggling defense off the field.

Sore subject, I know. But with all that's gone on with this Ray Rice situation, how much backlash has the organization gotten from the fan base by letting Ray McDonald -- who was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence -- play in the season opener against the Cowboys, and how much of a distraction has it all been in the 49ers' locker room?

Gutierrez: It's strange, because if you use social media as a barometer (which I do not recommend, by the way), then the fans are just fine, thank you very much, with letting him play until he is either formally charged with a crime or he is not charged with anything, even with the alarming nature of the arrest. Everyone associated with the 49ers from CEO Jed York to general manager Trent Baalke to coach Jim Harbaugh, who even harkened the Constitution and the Fifth Amendment for the media, are taking the “due process” route. As far as it being a distraction in the locker room, I can't say that it is, other than reporters asking players about it in media access periods.

Speaking of distractions, real or imagined, has Cutler finally won over the masses in Chicago?

Wright: That's an interesting question. Let me say this: the fans in Chicago absolutely want to love Cutler. But I'd say the fan base is split about 50-50 on him. Cutler seemed to be turning the corner last season as a quarterback and as a person, and that played a major role in the team deciding to invest in the quarterback long term. But then in the opener against the Bills, you saw the same old Cutler; the guy who reverts to shoddy fundamentals, and makes questionable decisions with the ball that get you beat. Obviously, one game isn't enough to truly gauge Cutler's progress. But everyone expected to see Cutler show a lot more command in Year 2 of operating Marc Trestman's system. He flashed that at times in the opener, but also tossed a pair of interceptions that led to Bills points. Then, in the aftermath, Cutler was petulant about his role in the defeat. So I wouldn't say Cutler has won over the masses. More and more people are beginning to believe Cutler might not be the answer long term.

The Bears gave up 193 yards on the ground against the Bills last week, so stopping the run is absolutely paramount this week. What would you say are the main differences between Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde in terms of their running styles, and in what situations would the 49ers be more likely to utilize each back?

Gutierrez: Well, for one, Gore is a 10-year vet and Hyde a rookie. For another, the 31-year-old Gore is built like a bowling ball at 5-foot-9, 215 pounds and has a lot of mileage on him after becoming the 29th member of the 10,000-yard rushing club, while Hyde, who turns 24 on Sept. 20, is 6-foot and 230 pounds. Gore is the bell-cow back who bounces off tacklers while Hyde prefers to try to run over opponents. Gore is the every-down guy, while Hyde is more of a short-yardage specialist. Too generic? Maybe, but it is interesting that while Gore led the Niners with 63 rushing yards at Dallas last weekend, Hyde averaged an eye-popping 7.1 yards per carry, and he popped it in from 4 yards out for his first career touchdown. Also keep this in mind: with the Niners releasing LaMichael James this week, they have only two tailbacks on the roster. You might see a return of the read-option by Kaepernick or even rookie receiver Bruce Ellington lining up as a running back in certain packages. And if so, I would not want to see him as a blocking back.

Which brings us to pass-rusher extraordinaire Jared Allen. How much does he have left in the tank?

Wright: Hate to go off just one game here, but he sure appeared to be running on fumes against the Buffalo Bills. The official statistics say he contributed only one tackle. Then, after the coaches reviewed the tape, they credited Allen with two stops. To me, the best defensive end for the Chicago Bears last week was Willie Young (seven tackles and a sack), and he doesn't even start. So my guess would be moving forward the Bears will likely start to give Young more time, while making Allen more of a pass-rushing specialist. Again, it was only one game. But Allen was a non-factor against the Bills against the run and as a pass-rusher. I truly don't think that performance was indicative of Allen's ability. Based on what I saw at training camp, Allen appears to still be one of the NFL's premier players. But he certainly needs to step up his game this week at San Francisco.

San Francisco has a couple of injuries in the secondary, but seems to have some decent replacements waiting in the wings. What's the status of Brock, Culliver and Ward, and if they're still ailing what types of things -- such as blitzes and coverages -- would San Francisco likely do to compensate for the situation in the secondary?

Gutierrez: Neither Brock, who sprained a big toe in Dallas, nor Culliver, who suffered a concussion and a stinger, practiced on Wednesday, which would seemingly be a bad omen when it comes to them suiting up on Sunday. Ward, meanwhile, did practice after a concussion was ruled out by doctors. If Culliver and Brock cannot go, then Perrish Cox, who picked off Tony Romo last week, and rookie Dontae Johnson will be the starting cornerbacks, and Chris Cook, who was not activated for the opener, will dress for the Bears. As far as schemes, the 49ers don't like to dial up too many blitzes or get too cute because their whole game plan is for their front seven to disrupt the quarterback enough to give their secondary time to adjust in coverage.


Money time: Cutler must beat 49ers

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11

Jay CutlerJonathan Daniel/Getty Images"He's been a coach out there, a mentor," coach Marc Trestman said of Jay Cutler in practice this week.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- New, old or maddeningly the same, Jay Cutler is still Jay Cutler, the most important, most volatile player on the Chicago Bears.

You can bet on Cutler, but bring an appetite for risk. And some Tums. You're getting seven points this week against San Francisco, and no one outside of Halas Hall thinks that's a good bet.

If you're still reading, you know all about Cutler, his rocky past with the Bears and the idea that he's due for a great season in the second year under coach Marc Trestman. You know about the yearnings for change and the reality that such change isn't "linear," as Theo Epstein might say.

There's the idea of the "New Jay Cutler," the matured leader with a Louis Vuitton diaper bag in one arm and a tablet playbook in the other. And there's the Old Jay Cutler, an interception-throwing, dirty look-connecting enigma.

Which one is he?

As Cutler might say, "Don't care."

The questions about the Cutler narrative will be answered in the coming weeks, but what's important this week is the reality that Cutler has to carry the load for a team with a Brink's truck full of questions going into a must-win game at the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, "must-win" is fair. Very few teams have started 0-2 and made the playoffs, and this isn't one of them.

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49ers injury report: CB Culliver limited

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
Cornerback Chris Culliver, who missed Wednesday's practice with a concussion and stinger, practiced in a limited capacity Thursday, meaning he is one step away from passing the NFL's concussion protocol and playing in the San Francisco 49ers' home opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

But the 49ers' other starting cornerback, Tramaine Brock, sat out for the second consecutive day with a sprained toe. Right tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring) and backup center Marcus Martin (knee) also missed practice while defensive lineman Justin Allen practiced fully after enjoying an apparent 'veteran" day off Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Bears' receiving corps remained grounded as receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle), Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring) and Josh Morgan (groin) all sat out Thursday. Marshall told Chicago media he and Jeffrey plan on playing Sunday night in Santa Clara.