No special London plan for Bears

Updated: October 17, 2011, 9:10 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, are taking much different approaches to their travel overseas.

Tampa Bay (4-2) is making the trip for the second time in three years after facing the New England Patriots back in 2009. Bucs coach Raheem Morris plans to give his players plenty of time to get acclimated to the time change (London is six hours ahead of Chicago) by leaving on Monday.

The Bucs landed at Heathrow airport around 10 p.m. local time after opting to spend the whole week in the British capital to prepare for Sunday's game.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Bears itinerary calls for the club to conduct practice at Halas Hall on Wednesday and Thursday, then take off for the United Kingdom sometime Thursday afternoon/early evening, which puts them in London on Friday morning.

Once the Bears arrive, select players and coach Lovie Smith are scheduled to meet with the media Friday at approximately 3:15 p.m. London time, before the team conducts a practice from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

"It's a business trip for us," Smith said Monday of the decision to go later in the week. "We didn't go over there early because we want to go through our same game week routine, our practice field, our equipment, our meeting rooms. (We want to) do what we normally do when we play a road game. Go out at the end of the week and play the game. That's how we are looking at the game.

This marks the fifth game in the NFL's annual international series, which began in 2007 with the Giants and Dolphins, and grew to include New Orleans, San Diego, New England, Tampa, San Francisco and Denver.

Because the Bears will be the ninth team to participate in the overseas contest, Smith said he was able to do plenty of research before finalizing the travel aspect of the event.

"We've had a few teams that have gone over," Smith said. "Teams do it differently. Some leave early, some leave late. This is the route we felt most comfortable doing."

"I think the plan we have is great," Bears defensive end Israel Idonije said. "We'll get in, we'll practice, the guys will be well rested. We'll be good to go. I've traveled internationally quite a bit. You just have to make sure you sleep when you are supposed to sleep and make sure your clock isn't thrown off. If you do that, you'll be all right."

The Bucs (4-2) are coming off a 26-20 win over New Orleans on Sunday, putting them into a tie with the Saints for first place in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay players will run drills with about 200 students on Tuesday before the team's first practice on Wednesday.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NFL HEADLINES