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Bears notebook: With Devin Hester hurt, Eric Weems gets opportunity as a receiver

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Updated: December 28, 2012 6:25AM



It’s a good thing the Bears have Eric Weems.

With kick returner/wide receiver Devin Hester’s status unknown because of a concussion, Weems’ roles expanded Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. That should continue for as long as Hester is out.

Weems was expected to take some of the burden off Hester in the return game, but he also played more at receiver. Hester had eight plays and Weems 28.

“It went well,” said Weems, who made the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season. “It’s nothing new. I get reps in practice for situations like that. I just took my opportunity and went with it. One man down, the next man has to step up. It was a good experience for me.”

The reps at receiver were needed, Weems said. He was targeted once, making a nine-yard catch.

“Devin is a great player, great athlete, great teammate, a great all-around everything,” said Weems, who averaged 21.7 yards on three kickoff returns. “Hopefully, he’ll be back in the middle of the week. But I just have to step it up a little bit more.”

Weems’ contributions didn’t end there. He also made two tackles on special teams.

Picking up Peanut

With cornerback Charles Tillman hampered by an ankle injury, Kelvin Hayden moved from nickelback to cornerback against the Vikings. He had 54 plays compared with Tillman’s 18. D.J. Moore, meanwhile, had 28 plays at nickelback.

Hayden said he thought he handled the adjustment well.

“It’s much different,” he said. “You have to scan the whole field. At nickel, you’re reading inside, [then] out instead of outside, [then] in.”

Tillman’s injury isn’t believed to be serious. He stayed on the sideline the entire game.

“He was definitely one of our biggest fans out there,” defensive tackle Henry Melton said. “He enjoyed watching us do our thing. We missed having him, but we still have to truck on.”

Solutions up front?

In his first start in place of Gabe Carimi, veteran Jonathan Scott said he thought he fared well at right tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed three hurries and one hit on quarterback Jay Cutler.

“I have to look at the film, but it felt good, working with all the rest of the linemen,” Scott said. “It seemed like we were on the same page.”

Reserve guard Edwin Williams was active for the first time this season and had 40 plays after left guard Chris Spencer sprained his left knee.

Spencer said he twisted his knee and was all right. He also said he could’ve kept playing.



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