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Bears’ defensive line loaded with questions

Chicago Bears defenders watch teammates during NFL football training camp Friday July 26 2013 Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais Ill. (AP

Chicago Bears defenders watch teammates during NFL football training camp Friday, July 26, 2013, at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: August 28, 2013 6:15AM



BOURBONNAIS — Defensive tackle Henry Melton doesn’t want you to forget about longtime Bears defensive lineman Israel Idonije. He’s missed — just like Brian Urlacher.

“It’s not just Urlacher,” Melton said Friday after the Bears’ first practice at training camp. [I’m] missing one of my good buddies, Izzy. That’s a lot of chemistry.”

The Bears will use defensive end Corey Wootton in the Idonije role. He will start at defensive end and rotate inside on certain downs. Idonije is with the Detroit Lions.

“We’re developing some other things with some other guys,” said Melton, who sat out portions of practice with an illness.

But there still are questions about the defensive line. Wootton said some Bears were “kind of shocked” by veteran tackle Sedrick Ellis’ abrupt retirement. Defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson, who was signed after Ellis didn’t show up to camp, attended the first practice.

“We have a lot of guys competing,” Wootton said. “Aston Whiteside is a guy who stepped up this offseason, put on some size coming from defensive end to defensive tackle. And Nate Collins has been doing a great job playing both the [three-technique] and the nose.”

Charles in charge

Like others, cornerback Charles Tillman isn’t bothered by general manager Phil Emery’s announcement that it’s unlikely any extensions will be reached during the season. Tillman is in the final year of a seven-year contract.

Tillman is a unique case. He’s gotten better with age, and giving him an extension makes sense. But that decision will be reached after the season.

“I’ve got one year,” Tillman said. “Do my year and be done. If they want to bring me back, they’ll bring me back. If not, go somewhere else. That is kind of the ­reality of it.”

First-day thoughts

Coach Marc Trestman’s first practice at training camp featured three takeaways by the defense and some long completions and penalties by the offense. But Trestman left satisfied.

“Overall, a very good start execution-wise on both sides of the ball,” Trestman said. “I thought special teams was locked in, too.”



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