Steltz shines in Wright's absense

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
4:55
PM ET

CHICAGO -- One of the few bright spots for the home team in the devastating loss to Kansas City was the performance of reserve safety Craig Steltz, who come off the bench to lead the defense with 10 total tackles and a forced fumble.

Steltz was pressed into action after starter Major Wright suffered a game-ending shoulder injury before halftime.

[+] EnlargeCraig Steltz
Rob Grabowski/US PresswireBears safety Craig Steltz led the defense with 10 total tackles in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs.

The decision to insert Steltz into the game ahead of Brandon Meriweather came as a mild surprise, but not to Steltz who knew he might be the next man up in the event of an injury.

"We had been rotating reps at practice the last few weeks, so it didn't come as a shock to me," Steltz said in the postgame locker room. "When your number is called, you got to go in there and do the job. I thought it went okay today, but we weren't able to get the win. I really don't know much about moving forward, or what the injury situation is, we'll just take it as it comes. But I feel ready and prepared in the event the coaches need me again."

A 2008 fourth-round draft choice, Steltz potentially saved a pair touchdowns on the Chiefs' first drive of the second half when the safety managed to push running back Dexter McCluster out of bounds after a 32-yard gain, then a few plays later he made a solid open field spot against McCluster on the Bears five-yard line.

"All I can do is prepare and work hard every week," Steltz said. "I appreciate the opportunities whenever they come my way and I just try to make the most of them. But it was a tough loss. Nobody is happen after that one. But we'll get back to work tomorrow and put it back on track. I don't know what Denver holds, but if I'm needed, I'll be ready."

Wright wasn't available to comment in the postgame locker room. In less than two years of NFL action, Wright has suffered finger, hamstring, head and shoulder injuries. His status for the Bears road game next week in Denver remains unclear.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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