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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Steltz: Walters will do great job

By Michael C. Wright

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Out for the season after undergoing pectoral surgery, Chicago Bears safety Craig Steltz said he faces three to four months of rehabilitation.

"It's frustrating, but that's part of the game," he said. "It's a physical game and guys out there, whether it's making a tackle or running, (injuries are) part of the game."

Steltz injured a pectoral muscle on Dec. 9 during the team's loss to the Minnesota Vikings. A fifth-year veteran, Steltz finished the season with 112 tackles and seven stops on special teams. When Steltz initially suffered the injury, he didn't expect it to put him out for the rest of the season.

"It was kind of a weird thing," Steltz said. "I didn't think it was as severe as it was. I thought maybe it was a pulled muscle or something; not too bad."

The injury to Steltz seemed to start a thinning of the ranks at the safety position. Starting free safety Chris Conte pulled a hamstring Sunday during the team's win over the Arizona Cardinals, prompting the Bears on Wednesday to bring in Troy Nolan.

Conte isn't expected to play Sunday at Detroit. So it's likely that second-year safety Anthony Walters will fill in for Conte. Walters replaced Conte against the Cardinals, finishing the game with two tackles. Walters thinks playing alongside stars such as Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers might alleviate the pressure of making his first NFL start.

"All I have to do is be where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be there," he said. "Those guys make plays. We scored two defensive touchdowns last week. So I think they'll help relieve the pressure."

Steltz can help, too, in meetings and during the game planning phase as the Bears prepare to face the Lions. Despite the frustration of not playing, Steltz said he's enjoyed stepping back and seeing things "from a different kind of view, a coach's view."

"It's been good being in the meeting rooms and kind of sitting back a little," Steltz said. "When other guys get banged up, you want to be able to jump in there and make plays. Anthony will do a great job."