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Saturday, July 30, 2011
Marcus Harrison arrives overweight

By Michael C. Wright
ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Il.. -- Marcus Harrison's expected push for serious playing time didn't start Saturday, when the rest of the team hit the field for its first practice.

Instead, the third-year Bears defensive tackle will likely be placed on the non-football injury list -- according to an NFL source -- after reporting to training camp 11 pounds overweight.

Harrison was a spectator on Saturday, but ran conditioning drills on another practice field, after reporting to Olivet Nazarene University earlier in the week weighing 327 pounds, 11 more than the team-prescribed 316 pounds.

"I feel like I probably should be out here tomorrow or no later than [Aug. 4]. I'm not that far off, like I said. It's up to the coaches," Harrison said. "I'm doing conditioning [work], I mean the weight isn't going to disappear by [itself]. I'm just going to keep working out and stuff. Now that the lockout is over and I'm where I can eat better on a daily basis, I feel fine about dropping this weight real fast."

Harrison has struggled in the past to maintain his weight. In 2009, Harrison reported to camp 14 pounds overweight. It took Harrison four days to shed enough weight for the staff to allow him to rejoin teammates for on-field drills.

So Harrison's latest setback isn't expected to be as lengthy of an ordeal.

"Marcus hasn't passed his physical," coach Lovie Smith said. "We're trying to get him in condition to go through one of our practices. We'll just keep monitoring him and see when he'll be ready to go."

The non-football injury list is similar to the physically unable to perform list, with the difference being that Harrison's condition didn't occur in a Bears practice or game (players who fail conditioning tests are often placed on the non-football injury list).

Harrison played five games last season, contributing one tackle, in addition to batting down a pass.

During the NFL lockout, Bears officials expressed optimism about Harrison's prospects for the upcoming season, saying 2011 would be the defensive tackle's best opportunity to become a significant contributor in the defensive-line rotation.

Harrison was inactive for six of the club's first seven games last season, but played in four consecutive games from Nov. 14 to Dec. 12, before being an inactive over the last four contests.

A third-round pick in 2008, Harrison has played in 37 games with nine starts. He's posted 53 career tackles, and three sacks.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.