Bears guard Kyle Long has virus, will miss practices
BY PATRICK FINLEY AND ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporters July 23, 2014 9:27PM
Updated: August 25, 2014 5:56PM
BOURBONNAIS — Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long will miss at least the first three practices of training camp after contracting a viral infection last weekend, Bears general manager Phil Emery said.
Long is not contagious — he’ll join his teammates for meetings Thursday — and will be re-evaluated Monday at the earliest.
‘‘We’re just going to be cautious, let him get the rest he needs,’’ Emery said. ‘‘It’s very important that he gets his rest so he can fully recover, [so] that it doesn’t come back.’’
Long’s virus obscured better news for two other starters on the offensive line. Matt Slauson and Jordan Mills were cleared for practice, which starts Friday at Olivet Nazarene University. Slauson had offseason surgery on his shoulder, Mills on his foot.
Long had an ‘‘excellent offseason’’ engaging with teammates in the weight room and better understanding the offense, coach Marc Trestman said.
‘‘We thought he got better, certainly in the understanding of our offense, protections, hand placement, taking the proper steps,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He understands how important that is, where he had no clue a year ago in terms of what that is all about.’’
Clean bill for Tillman
Cornerback Charles Tillman, whose nagging knee injury bothered him last year until a torn right triceps ended his season, said Wednesday both are feeling better.
‘‘All is well,’’ he told the Sun-Times. ‘‘Both knees, triceps. All of it feels great.’’
Emery said Tillman was medically cleared to practice. Tillman said he has felt good for a while, dating to before offseason workouts.
‘‘If I wasn’t 100 percent, I wouldn’t be able to participate in any of those practices,’’ he said.
No Briggs contract talk
Linebacker Lance Briggs’ contract is up after this season, but don’t count on the Bears signing him to an extension this fall. Emery reiterated his stance against discussing specific deals but said it was ‘‘normal for us’’ not to re-sign players during the fall.
Even the regular chatter with an agent typically doesn’t happen this early.
‘‘Normally those things don’t come together until the end of the year,’’ Emery said. ‘‘And that’s true, whether it’s Lance or anybody else.’’
Briggs is in the final season of a three-year, $17.5 million deal.