Bears’ Bennett, Melton cleared to play, but share concussion concerns
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter September 2, 2013 4:09PM
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Updated: September 2, 2013 9:56PM
Bears receiver Earl Bennett said he had lingering headaches and trouble sleeping. Defensive tackle Henry Melton said he had a headache that wouldn’t go away and a sore neck.
But Bennett and Melton are feeling much better since suffering concussions. They practiced Monday and expect to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I feel good,” Melton said.
“I’ve been symptom-free for a couple of days now,” Bennett said.
Melton said it was the first concussion of his playing career, including at Texas when he was a running back. He was in for only three plays Aug. 9 against the Carolina Panthers before a hit left him dazed.
“Just not being out there because I know we have a huge season ahead of us and not really knowing when I was going to start feeling better exactly, it was a little nerve-racking,” Melton said, “but finally the clouds cleared, and I feel good.”
Bennett’s situation was more disconcerting. He was out longer, initially leaving practice Aug. 3, and suffered a concussion late last season. Bennett said he met with several specialists.
“They reassured me that it’s fine; it’s OK [to play again],” Bennett said. “It’s not threatening at all.”
Bennett said he was concerned about the long-term effects, but the specialists “assured me that longevity-wise, I’m fine. No memory loss or anything like that. Everything’s good.”
“It’s a little bit scary, seeing the past players, and they just had the settlement with some of the ex-players,” Bennett said. “It’s kind of concerning, but at the same time, when I signed up for this game, I knew what I was signing up for. The technology nowadays is a lot better than it was back then.”
The NFL’s concussion protocols also are more thorough.
“They’re a lot more aware about it now, too,” Melton said. “The protocol now is real in-depth. You’ve got to see multiple people. It’s not like I was not willing to come out here. There were a lot of people that had their hands in making sure I was 100 percent before I stepped foot back out here.”