Bears' Melton, Bennett cleared for Week 1

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
4:56
PM ET
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton and receiver Earl Bennett both described their concussions as headaches that wouldn’t go away. But now that they’ve dissipated and the protocol has been satisfied, the duo has been cleared for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I know we have a huge season ahead of us, and not really knowing when I was going to start feeling better exactly, it was a little nerve-wracking,” Melton said. “But finally, the clouds cleared.”

Melton and Bennett took part in Monday’s workout, as did all of the club’s other previously injured players such as offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), and long snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs).

Bennett suffered a concussion on Aug. 3 during a practice at Soldier Field, which forced him to sit out the entire preseason and every practice since. Bennett’s inactivity has led to concerns about his conditioning. Although Bennett plans to play Sunday against the Bengals, Bears coach Marc Trestman said that “it might not be plausible for him to play” because of the conditioning concerns.

“We’ll see how he looks during the course of the week. He ran well today. He was involved in reps. Obviously he hasn’t had the practice time or the conditioning level right now. So it’s plausible [that Bennett won’t play]. I don’t want to say unlikely because I don’t know how the week’s going to go,” Trestman said. “But it’s plausible he could be out on Sunday. It’s possible that he could be up. We’ll just see how the rest of the week goes. We’ve got another day off. He’s got three days of work ahead. We’ll see how all that fits together come Sunday.”

If Bennett doesn’t play, it’s likely that rookie Marquess Wilson or Joe Anderson would line up as the third receiver.

“Actually, I’m pretty good conditioning-wise,” Bennett said. “I’ve been up here running -- shoulder pads, helmets -- the past few days, just making sure that I’m in great shape. I’m very eager. I’m excited to be back. Excited to get back to work, and continue to work hard. Like I said, my plan is to play this week, so I look forward to this game.”

Melton does, too. Melton suffered his concussion in the preseason opener at Carolina on Aug. 9.

“They’ve been working me pretty hard all through the weekend, trying to get me back,” Melton said. “I’m feeling good. I went out there and ran a little bit.”

Scott, meanwhile, has been recovering from a minor procedure on his right knee, but practiced Monday for the first time since training camp in what he called a “limited” workout. A reserve offensive tackle, Scott said his expectation is to play against the Bengals if needed.

“Physically and emotionally I’ve been dying to be out here with this team and get after it,” Scott said. “I’m just happy to be in the position to play again.”

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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