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Chris Conte has been cleared to play against Bills

Updated: September 5, 2014 2:24AM



Cleared from his concussion, Chris Conte has one guess on how he’ll be treated by the Soldier Field fan base Sunday.

“I don’t plan on having a lot of support, that’s for sure,” he said Thursday at Halas Hall. “But I’m going to go out there and play football. That’s what my job is, and that’s what I’m going to go do.”

Coach Marc Trestman said he hasn’t given any thought to how Conte — who said this offseason that he planned to prove people wrong — would handle catcalls Sunday.

In his last home game, Conte played the wrong coverage on Randall Cobb’s 48-yard touchdown catch with 38 seconds remaining. The Packers won 33-28, costing the Bears a playoff berth.

“He’s a professional,” Trestman said. “He made a commitment to come back and be at his best. I think he’s done everything he can to do that, and he’s going to get an opportunity to play.”

Trestman still plans to cycle in at least three safeties — Conte, Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray — because he’s unsure of the Cal alum’s conditioning.

Conte missed the offseason program and the start of training camp while recovering from right shoulder surgery.

He played only 22 preseason snaps — in the third week, against the Seahawks — before suffering a concussion on a screen pass.

Before he was injured, he saved a touchdown by hammering Sea-hawks tight end Luke Wilson as he caught the ball in the end zone.

Trestman said that one play “showed me something — that he came back, he wanted to tackle and make plays.”

That’s “why you play football,” Conte said. “You want to go out there and hit people and make plays. So it definitely felt good.”

The team will likely decide on starters Friday afternoon. The Bears will monitor Conte’s conditioning during the game, Trestman said, and adjust playing time accordingly.

“Until you get in the game, it’s kind of hard to tell,” Conte said. “But I feel like I’m in good shape, and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”

This offseason required “a lot of patience,” Conte said, to recover from his injuries.

He said his shoulder, which underwent surgery in late March, feels good. And while he called the concussion protocol “a long process,” he said the potential of another head injury won’t change the way he tackles.

“You play football, and you’re going to get hurt, and you’re going to bang your head,” he said. “It’s what you sign up for. So you can’t think about stuff like that.”

Conte can’t think about past games, either. One of the best parts about returning to the field is putting another — hopefully better — game behind him.

“It’s great,” he said. “Just kind of what I’ve been waiting for ever since last season ended — getting another opportunity to go out there and play football and prove myself.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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