Bears safety Chris Conte won’t be changing his ways
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org November 2, 2012 10:00PM
Bear safety Chris Conte hits Panther receiver Brandon LaFell and is flagged for a 15 yard personal foul in the 3rd quarter. Carolina Panthers vs. the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, October 28, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun Times Media
Updated: December 4, 2012 6:17AM
Don’t expect Bears safety Chris Conte to change his tackling approach because he’s in the middle of the first appeal process of his career after being handed a $21,000 fine for hitting a defenseless player in the head last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
“No, not at all,” Conte said Friday. “I don’t think you can let it affect you. You’ve got to play football the way you play football and be aggressive. I guess those things are just part of the NFL now, and it comes with the job.”
Conte was penalized for hitting Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell in the head as he fell to the ground after failing to catch a pass with nickelback D.J. Moore in tight coverage. According to an NFL spokesman, Conte was fined for unnecessary roughness as “he unnecessarily struck a defenseless player in the head and neck area.”
“Obviously, there was contact with his head, but I don’t think it was intentional, and I wasn’t leading with my head or anything,” Conte said. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t exactly know how the whole process works. I’ve never been fined before.”
LaFell returned after Conte’s hit against the Bears but is doubtful with a concussion for the Panthers’ game Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
Conte is tied for the team lead in tackles with 52. Coach Lovie Smith doesn’t want him to change his approach, either.
“He’s been fined one time,” Smith said. “He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. Those things happen. Sometimes when you break the rules, even if you’re not trying, there are consequences to pay. It’s as simple as that.”
Leading the way
The Bears have used plenty of three-tight-end sets recently, but tight end Kyle Adams is open to seeing more time at fullback if the game plan calls for it.
“You got to kind of wear a lot of different hats sometimes,” said Adams, who has seen 22 plays at fullback this season. “But it makes it a lot of fun, and you get better and better at everything you’re doing.
“People told me I’d have to do a lot of different things as an F-tight end. Over the last two years, I think I have just improved at all those [responsibilities].”
Evan Rodriguez is technically the only fullback on the roster, but he hasn’t played in the previous two games despite being active.
Linebacker Lance Briggs (toe) and tight end Matt Spaeth (ankle) are probable for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Reserve tackle Jonathan Scott (groin) also is probable. He returned to practice Friday after sitting out Thursday.