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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Conte familiar with Colts' Luck

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Even before the Bears began official game preparations for the Colts, free safety Chris Conte had a complete scouting report on Andrew Luck.

Chris Conte
Chris Conte is a former foe of Andrew Luck's from their Pac-10 days.

While at California from 2007-2010 where he appeared in 50 games with 17 starts (12 at safety, 5 at cornerback), Conte squared off against the former Stanford quarterback on multiple occasions.

"Went against Andrew in college and he's a great quarterback so I look forward to the opportunity to go against him," Conte said Thursday. "My senior year (versus Luck) it didn't go too well and they got the best of us. But we had a pretty good record against them and did some good things. We kind of went back and forth throughout college.

Luck completed 16-of-20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-14 Cardinals route over the Golden Bears in Conte's final collegiate season, but a year before in 2009 the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft connected on just 10-of-30 throws for 157 yards and one interception as the Golden Bears pulled off a 34-28 victory.

The Bears hope to have Conte on the field for the regular-season opener on Sunday; the second-year safety missed the final two games of the preseason with a shoulder injury. Conte said he felt his right shoulder pop out of place while making a tackle in the club's second preseason game on Aug. 18. He returned to the field for the first time on Monday and has been listed as having limited participation in practice the last two days on the team's official injury report.

"It's been good," Conte said. "Just getting back in the flow and getting my legs back. I missed a good amount of time but I stayed into it mentally. Right now it's just the physical stuff; getting back on the field, getting my legs ready and being ready to go.

"You can almost do without the physical stuff (at practice) for awhile. You need to stay in shape and stuff, that's the most important thing, but it's such a mental game at this point that just having the meetings is a big part of the game. Really, I don't think I missed too much."

Conte is viewed as a vital cog in the Bears defense. The athletic safety started nine games last year as a rookie and recorded 47 tackles and one interception before going on injured reserve the last two games due to an ankle injury. During Conte's absence, veteran Craig Steltz had worked with the first team along with Major Wright, but when healthy, Conte is the unquestioned starting free safety on the roster. Expect the Bears to heavily tape up Conte's right shoulder if he plays on Sunday to try and lessen the odds of the shoulder popping out of place a second time.