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Camp of approval: Bears, ONU a good fit

Bears linebacker Nick Roach sacks Rams quarterback Sam Bradford third quarter Chicago Bears 23-6 victory over St. Louis Rams Sunday

Bears linebacker Nick Roach sacks Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in the third quarter of the Chicago Bears 23-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams Sunday September 23, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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PHOENIX — Though more teams are conducting training camp at their headquarters, the Bears have no intention of doing so, even with its contract with Olivet Nazarene University expiring this summer.

Bears president Ted Phillips told the Sun-Times that training camp is an essential time for the team’s many fans and that he doesn’t see it being held at Halas Hall in the “foreseeable future.”

“I think the set up we have at ONU has served us well and what training camp gives to us — and maybe some teams think differently — it’s perhaps one of our more important touch points for our fans and our business partners,” Phillips said. “And we could not duplicate what we have at ONU in Lake Forest.”

Some clubs are returning home for the sake of convenience, but Phillips doesn’t see that as a problem for the Bears.

“If we were closer, would it help? Sure. But the reality is, there’s only so many facilities that you can look at and ONU has been good to us,” he said. “So we’re going to continue to talk to them about the possibility of a long-term deal.”

Last year, more than 100,000 fans attended training-camp practices at ONU.

Praise for Roach

Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen confirmed that he plans to use ex-Bear Nick Roach as his starting middle linebacker, calling him the “quarterback” of his defense.

Roach, who got a four-year, $13 million deal from the Raiders, started 59 games over his six years with the Bears, mostly on the strong side, but he did fill in in the middle.

“We had a chance to sit down and watch some video with him and kind of go over some things,” Allen said. “He really had a grasp and a concept for what we were talking about. I can see that translating onto the football field. He’ll be a guy who can be that quarterback of our defense, that can help us get everybody on the right page, get everybody lined up and execute the way we need to.”

Support for Brian

The market for Bears free-agent linebacker Brian Urlacher remains slim, but Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak said he sees a player who can still be “special.” He remembers the player who returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown and had seven tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Bears’ 51-20 thumping of the Titans on Nov. 4.

“I think sometimes the intangibles make up for some of the [physical] things,” Munchak said.

New home

Cornerback D.J. Moore, a former fourth-round pick of the Bears, signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers.



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