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Nickel is Frey’s spot to lose with Hayden out for year

Updated: September 9, 2013 3:00PM



BOURBONNAIS — Isaiah Frey will worry about being the starting nickel back on Friday. Right now, the 2012 sixth-round pick said he’s only concerned about a “good friend” and “good teammate” who suffered a season-ending injury.

Coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday that veteran Kelvin Hayden — the Chicago native and Illinois product who signed a one-year deal to be the Bears nickel back for the second consecutive season — will undergo surgery for a torn left hamstring. Hayden suffered the injury Saturday. His recovery will be six to eight months.

“Kelvin is a great guy,” Frey said. “He helps me continuously. He’s going to stay and continue to help me. He’s a great guy, and I pray for his health.”

The Bears have experimented with using Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jennings at nickel with veteran Zack Bowman at corner. But right now, nickel back is Frey’s spot to lose. He’s been one of the most impressive players at training camp, though the preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers on Friday will be a true test.

“I think Isaiah has got to come out and continue to do what he’s doing, make plays,” Trestman said. “He’s certainly in the competition right now to be that guy.”

Safety Chris Conte said the defensive backs have seen Frey’s confidence grow.

“He has the right mentality and attitude,” Conte said. “He’s in his playbook all of the time and learning.”

Scott sits out

Veteran offensive tackle Jonathan Scott continues to miss practice with a sore right knee, but Trestman wouldn’t say he’s overly concerned by it.

“He’s day-to-day, and we’re hopeful,” Trestman said. “We certainly would like him back. … [But] it’s given an opportunity to guys like Eben [Britton], getting more looks at [rookie] Jordan Mills [and] getting a better look at J’Marcus Webb.”

Injury roundup

Receiver Earl Bennett officially has been ruled out against the Panthers with a concussion. Conte (hamstring) and defensive end Corey Wootton (calf) were pulled from practice, but it was only precautionary. Defensive end Julius Peppers was excused from practice for the second straight day.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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