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WR Rashied Davis rejoins Bears to replace retired Devin Thomas



Even without Brian Urlacher, who was excused Monday for a ‘‘personal matter,’’ the Bears’ defense seems to be getting the best of it in practice since Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall starred early in camp. Nick Roach, Lance Briggs and D.J. Moore had red-zone interceptions of Cutler, playfully taking it to the house each time in the non-tackling drill. Cutler responded by driving the offense to a touchdown in the two-minute drill. But the defense has had the advantage of late. ‘‘They know what route we’re going to run before we run it,’’ wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ‘‘Tim Jennings is a smart player. He knows our plays, knows our signals. Same with [Charles] ‘Peanut’ Tillman. They’re going to make plays down there.’’


Coach Lovie Smith said defensive tackle Brian Price was excused from practice for a personal matter. Second-team defensive ends Corey Wootton and Chauncey Davis took many of Israel Idonije’s first-team reps in 11-on-11 drills. ‘‘There’s nothing serious on any of the guys right now,’’ Smith said. ‘‘If we held a guy out, it’s a hot day, maybe it’s as simple as that.’’

Mark Potash


Tuesday: 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Closed to public

Saturday: 2 p.m.


Thursday vs. Broncos 7:30

Aug. 18 vs. Redskins 7

Aug. 24 at Giants 7

Aug. 30 at Browns 6:30


The Bears open the season against the Colts at noon Sept. 9.

Updated: September 8, 2012 6:20AM

BOURBONNAIS — Rashied Davis’ staying power is his strongest suit, so it wasn’t a big surprise that the veteran wide receiver was back with the Bears on Monday.

Davis, who has beaten the odds every step of the way in his football career — from high school to junior college to San Jose State, the Arena Football League and finally a six-year career in the NFL — signed a one-year contract with the Bears to replace Devin Thomas, who abruptly retired Sunday.

Davis, 33, played six seasons with the Bears before signing with the Detroit Lions as a free agent in 2011. He’ll be in a familiar position — on the roster bubble, battling for a roster spot. His best chance to make the team will be on special teams, where he was a dependable four-phase contributor for Dave Toub.

‘‘The opportunity to play football — that’s all I ever wanted; that’s all I’ve ever asked for,’’ Davis said about his opportunity with the Bears. ‘‘Nothing’s changed for me. No different than any time I was ever here. I was always expected to get cut. So I’ve always pushed to make teams, and I’m going to have to do the same here.’’

A ‘personal’ day

Coach Lovie Smith downplayed the absence of linebacker Brian Urlacher, who missed his fifth consecutive practice because of a ‘‘personal matter.’’

Smith didn’t say whether the personal matter had anything to do with Urlacher’s sore left knee, which kept him out of the previous four practices.

‘‘Brian Urlacher missing a few days isn’t going to hurt an awful lot,’’ Smith said. ‘‘I liken it to some of our other veterans that miss a period here and there. I don’t get too wrapped up in all of that. We have guys on a schedule to be ready for the opening game of the season. So seeing guys miss a little bit, don’t put a whole lot into it.’’

Numbers game

Quarterback Jay Cutler knows the Bears will have difficult roster decisions at wide receiver, where Dane Sanzenbacher and Eric Weems are among those fighting for the fifth and possibly sixth spots.

‘‘You’ll have to make a hard case to cut either one of those guys because they’re good,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘[They’re] definitely going to [play] somewhere else and contribute if we do let them go.’’

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