Linebacker D.J. Williams ‘looking great’ in practice with first team
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 4, 2013 9:08PM
Updated: September 5, 2013 7:21PM
Linebacker D.J. Williams practiced with the Bears’ first-team defense Wednesday.
It looks like he could stay there for the regular-season opener Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, too, despite returning to practice Monday for the first time since injuring his calf July 31.
“He’s looking great,” defensive end Julius Peppers said.
Coach Marc Trestman said he wasn’t sure Williams, signed to help replace Brian Urlacher, is in “game condition to play 60 or 70 plays, 50 or 60 plays.”
He said Williams and rookie Jon Bostic could play in the middle, but then added that Bostic could “have more opportunities on special teams” with Williams on the field.
“If we have to make a decision,” he said, “it’s a good one.”
It’s too early to choose, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said.
“Right now, it’s really one rep at a time,” he said, “one day at a time.”
Geno on Kyle
Bengals star defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal this week, will line up across from rookie right guard Kyle Long.
“[Long is] big and he’s physical — very aggressive and a strong player,” Atkins said. “And by watching him, you can tell he likes to get after D-linemen. He likes to get off, be aggressive and show his strength.”
Peppers confirmed that he renegotiated his contract with the Bears to free up cap space.
His $12.9 million base salary was lowered to $9.9 million, converting the additional $3 million to a signing bonus, according to a source. The move frees up almost $1.8 million in space this season. Peppers’ cap hits for the next two seasons will increase.
This and that
The Bears signed guard Derek Dennis to the practice squad, terminating quarterback Jerrod Johnson’s deal three days after he was signed.
◆ Special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis said it was a “slippery slope” to say if Devin Hester got enough work returning kicks this preseason. “Because if you put him out there, and he gets hurt,” he said, “you’re a pinhead, right?”