Marcus Harrison practices with Bears

Updated: August 6, 2011, 8:28 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive tackle Marcus Harrison rejoined teammates Friday night after missing the first five days of practice because of weight and conditioning issues.

The team closed the workout to the public on Friday, but Harrison participated in Saturday's session, admitting disappointment afterward about reporting to camp 11 pounds over his target weight.

"Today felt all right. I didn't get as many reps as I did (Friday), which was officially my first day," Harrison said. "I will say I'm disappointed. But everything is cool; back to normal. [It's] time to play football now."

Harrison reported to camp 11 pounds over his team-prescribed weight of 316 pounds, and spent the first five days of camp on the non-football injury list. Both Harrison and Bears coach Lovie Smith anticipated a quick return for the defensive tackle, which is paramount given the competition Harrison faces at the position.

Interestingly, Harrison shed the required 11 pounds in just two days, but the club continued to hold him out of action, according to a source. The source added that the defensive tackle was under the impression that in addition to losing the required weight, he had to meet the club's prescribed BMI (body mass index).

Instead, Harrison just needed to meet one of the team's requirements to be allowed to practice.

"He's getting in better shape, and before long should be back on the field," Bears coach Lovie Smith said on Thursday. "I don't think it'll be much longer. He needs to get back into the mix [because] we have lot of competition on the defensive line."

The club used a second-round pick to draft Stephen Paea, and Harrison will also battle with Henry Melton and free-agent acquisition Amobi Okoye for time in the rotation.

A former third-round pick, Harrison -- despite the perception -- didn't report to training camp grossly overweight. In fact, upon reporting, Harrison appeared to be close to the same weight (315 pounds) he played at in 2010.

Harrison rejoined the club Friday for a late-night workout at Olivet Nazarene University that lasted until approximately 10:45 p.m. The team scheduled the seemingly impromptu workout after canceling a practice set for Family Fest at Soldier Field because of unsafe conditions on the playing surface.

The Bears immediately boarded the team buses and headed back to Bourbonnais after the cancellation for a workout that was closed to both the public and media.

"You know, I worked out really hard," Harrison said after practice Saturday. "Not as hard as I guess was expected."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter