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CHICAGO -- Health continues to be a issue for the Chicago Bears who lost four starters due to injuries over the course of their 23-17 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder), middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) and free safety Chris Conte (flu) were all unable to finish the game.
Urlacher had a right hamstring injury and was not on the field for Seattle's game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. Urlacher had his right leg wrapped by the club's training staff just before Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice hauled in the deciding score.
Jennings, who leads the league with eight interceptions, got knocked out of the game early in overtime as he got run over by Seattle fullback Michael Robinson while trying to make a tackle near the Bears' sideline. Head coach Lovie Smith described it as a shoulder injury. Kelvin Hayden replaced Jennings in the Bears' base defense while Zack Bowman filled in at cornerback when the team went to its nickel package.
Jennings declined to comment in the postgame locker room but the injury isn't believed to be serious.
Bennett had an uneven first half that began on a positive note when the receiver hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass -- his first of the season -- from Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the first quarter. Bennett caught the ball short of the end zone and leapt over a pair of defenders to cross the goal line. Bennett got knocked upside down on the play and appeared to land on the back of his head, but he did not display any symptoms of being injured.
Later in the second quarter, Bennett found himself all alone behind Seattle's defense but dropped a perfect pass from Cutler that would have surely resulted in a touchdown. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Bennett entered the game as one of only seven NFL receivers with at least 20 receptions to not have a single drop.
"Just happens," Cutler said. "I spun him around a little bit, tough catch.
"He's going to say he should have had it. I don't know if he was feeling the effects of that hit down on the goal line. It's hard to tell. I won't shy away from, I know that."
Bennett missed two games earlier in the season because of an injured hand.
"Obviously you want to have a guy like Earl out there to help us win," Bears receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. " But with Earl down, we are here for a reason too. It's got to be the next guy up for us."
Bennett's concussion further complicates the Bears' issues at wide receiver. Both Devin Hester (concussion) and Alshon Jeffery (knee) were inactive for the game, leaving Eric Weems and Sanzenbacher as the club's only other options behind starter Brandon Marshall.
Jeffery is moving closer to returning from a minor knee procedure he underwent on Nov. 21 that was expected to sideline him for 2-4 weeks. The rookie wideout did some light running on Saturday and ran routes during pregame warmups on Sunday. There is a chance he is cleared to resume practicing at some point this week.
Conte also missed the game with an illness. Conte began to experience flu-like symptoms early in the first quarter and left the game in favor of veteran Craig Steltz.
"It was probably like the second series that Conte said he felt dizzy and felt light-headed," Bears strong safety Major Wright said. "He was throwing up. I was like, 'Wow, I didn't know.' "
Steltz started five games for the Bears last season. "
Chris told me early in the game to be alert and be ready if something happened," Steltz said.