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Henry Melton likes it here, wants to sign a long-term deal with Bears

Even with all the changes, defensive tackle Henry Melton likes what he sees in Chicago and would like to stay put.

“Yeah, I’d love to be here long-term,” Melton said Tuesday after the first day of voluntary minicamp. “I like the new coaching staff. It looks like we’re going to be getting back to where we need to be, which is on top, so I’d like to be here long-term. We’ll just see how it goes.”

Melton signed his one-year franchise tender in March and is set to make $8.45 million. But the Bears are still working to sign him to a long-term deal, which would lower his cap hit. They have until July 15.

“I’m not going to yell about it or anything like that,” said Melton, who had 44 tackles and six sacks last season despite missing time with a shoulder injury. “I’m just going to come to work, and whatever happens is going to happen.”

Would he like a new deal before the 2013 season?

“Yeah, I don’t want any distractions,” Melton said. “When you like to be somewhere, you’d like to know that you’re there for good and that they want you there for good. We’ll see what happens.”

Hester watches

As expected, Devin Hester didn’t get any snaps on offense. Coach Marc Trestman reiterated the plan for Hester, saying, “Devin is going to focus on being our returner.”

“He’ll spend all of his time with [special-teams coordinator] Joe [ DeCamillis],” Trestman said. “So when we’re in an offensive meeting, he’ll be with Joe. He’ll be with [long snapper] Pat [ Mannelly]. He’ll be with Robbie [ Gould] and the kickers. He’ll be spending time totally focused in on being the best returner in the NFL.”

Gabe the guard

Trestman said he sees Gabe Carimi as more guard than right tackle.

“We’re going to focus on him competing at the guard position,” Trestman said.

Carimi was never healthy last season after dislocating his right kneecap in Week 2 of the 2011 season and requiring multiple surgeries.

He said his goal for this offseason was “just getting healthy. Just feeling better.”

The rundown

Emery said the Bears would still like to re-sign free-agent defensive lineman Israel Idonije and that the team is “still looking at several players to sign to the roster.”

The Bears signed guard/tackle Eben Britton, a 6-6, 308-pounder who started 30 of 38 games played over the last four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

◆ Receiver Brandon Marshall (minor hip surgery in the offseason) and Gould (late-season calf injury) will be limited during minicamp. Neither practiced Tuesday.

◆ The full NFL schedule will be released Thursday.



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