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Ex-Bucs DT Brian Price just happy to be with Bears

Brian Price passed physical Saturday can’t wait practice with his new teammates. | J. Meric~Getty Images

Brian Price passed a physical Saturday and can’t wait to practice with his new teammates. | J. Meric~Getty Images

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Updated: August 30, 2012 6:35AM

Defensive tackle Brian Price couldn’t fend off the anxiety Saturday night, but only because he couldn’t be on the field mixing it up with his new teammates.

“Man, I’m here with this team, and I’m feeling great,” Price said after the Bears’ first fully padded practice. “A couple of months ago, it was nowhere near where I’m at now.

“Just being here, I feel better, like the weight of the world got lifted off my shoulders.”

In May, Price’s older sister died in a hit-and-run accident. Two weeks later, he was hospitalized with physical and mental exhaustion, then he scuffled with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate.

In June, his wife just missed making the Olympics as a hurdler.

On Friday, though, Price was traded from the Bucs to the Bears, and he passed a physical Saturday. He’ll be able to join his teammates on the field Tuesday, as per collective-bargaining-agreement rules.

“I was happy,” Price said of the trade. “A brand new beginning, a fresh start. It don’t get no better than this.

“The defense. This is a defensive town. Great leaders. The love of the game is coming back to me.”

During his news conference, Price didn’t want to look back, resisting a simple question about similarities between the two defenses.

“I don’t know; I try not to think about it,” he said. “It brings up some crazy things, so I’m just happy to be here. I’m looking for a fresh start.”

In the offseason, the Bucs fired coach Raheem Morris and hired Greg Schiano.

On Thursday, Price said he hurt his leg on the first conditioning run out of the three-point stance. But he said he’ll be fine and will be able to practice in full with the Bears soon.

“That’s a part of being a professional,” he said. “No matter what you’re going through, you still got to show up and be a pro.”

The Bears only gave up a seventh-round pick to land Price, a second-round pick of the Bucs in 2010.

General manager Phil Emery recently said he’s an ideal fit for their scheme.

“He fits our system, very explosive player off the ball, very reactive,” Emery said. “He has struggled some in the last year. He’s had a tough go of it with family issues, obviously with his sister passing away.

“He’s had a hard time with the transition. He’s a player that needs a new home, and we’re excited to bring him to Chicago.”

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