Updated: August 6, 2014 8:50PM
BOURBONNAIS — A big test awaits defensive tackle Nate Collins in the Bears’ exhibition opener Friday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field. He’s so excited that he has to reel in his emotions.
“I have to stay poised and do what I have to do,” Collins said Wednesday after practice at Olivet Nazarene University. “It’s time to show it.”
It will be Collins’ first game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season in Week 5.
“I haven’t had anything but positive [results] with this leg,” said Collins, who wears a brace. “Obviously, I’m getting normal soreness. But I feel like I’m gaining strength.
“Going through these practices with pads and real gamelike situations has been helping me with my confidence and just knowing that I’m ready for the games.”
With the Bears considering keeping nine to 10 defensive linemen, Collins is one of their more intriguing players.
He was on the verge of being a reliable contributor at both tackle spots last season before his injury.
The Bears remain believers in Collins, signing him to a one-year, $730,001 deal — the extra dollar allows him to be re-signed should he succeed.
There are a lot of linemen competing against Collins — notably rookie tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton — but he definitely likes betting on himself.
“Hey, I like those [rookies],” Collins said. “Those guys are going to help our team win, and I know that. I’m trying to help them out as much as I can.
“I feel like we’ve got a real good group at D-tackle. I feel like as a core and everyone as a whole, we’re pushing each other. That’s a good thing.”