A few tweaks as Chicago returns to the field

March, 16, 2009
3/16/09
12:30
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

As they prepare for their mandatory mini-camp to open Tuesday, the Chicago Bears announced a series of inside-baseball news items on their Web site. Here's a run-down with a few comments from yours truly:

  • There is a long list of veterans who won't participate because they are still recovering from various surgeries: Cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Trumaine McBride, safety Kevin Payne, linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek. Comment: That's one of the downsides of having mini-camp two months earlier than normal. Around the NFL, there are scores of players who wouldn't be ready to get on the field this early in the offseason.
  • Second-year defensive back Zackary Bowman will be moved from cornerback to free safety. Comment: Makes sense considering the relative lack of depth at that position, where the Bears last week signed former New Orleans safety Josh Bullocks.
  • New offensive lineman Frank Omiyale has played tackle and guard in his career, but he will work exclusively at left guard this week. Comment: It's been expected that Omiyale will replace Josh Beekman at that position. But that could change if the Bears don't re-sign free agent John St. Clair.
  • The Bears will give second-year receiver Earl Bennett a chance to win the starting job opposite Devin Hester. Comment: By process of elimination, Bennett is the only internal candidate for the job. That's a lot to ask from a player whose next NFL catch will be his first.

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