Bears’ Robert Hughes delivers big game against Browns
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org September 1, 2011 10:40PM
Kahlil Bell rumbles up the field during the Bears’ 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the final preseason game. Bell carried eight times for 26 yards but left with an ankle injury. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: November 5, 2011 1:23PM
An afterthought for much of training camp with his hometown team, Chicagoan Robert Hughes did all a long-shot rookie can do in the final preseason game. He at least gave the coaching staff something to think about.
Hughes, the running back from Hubbard High School and Notre Dame, rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries, added 26 yards on two receptions and scored two touchdowns in the Bears’ 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field.
Hughes scored on a tough two-yard run up the middle behind guard Edwin Williams that gave the Bears a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. He added runs of 25 and 14 yards in the third quarter. He took a screen pass and gained 22 yards to the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, then scored on the next play to make it 24-14.
‘‘I had confidence from day one. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it,’’ said Hughes, who had two carries for no yards coming into the preseason finale. ‘‘I want to thank my teammates for being there and helping me because this is a team sport, so without them that opportunity doesn’t come.’’
Hughes still is a long shot to make the team, but he looks like a strong contender for a spot on the practice squad.
‘‘It’s in God’s hands from this point,’’ Hughes said. ‘‘So I’m just going to get a good night’s rest and pray about it. And in the morning, I’ll live with whatever the decision is.’’
Nick of time?
Undersized defensive end Nick Reed, a second-year player from Oregon, seems like the odd man out on the defensive line. But maybe not.
Firing off the snap with regularity, the 6-1, 248-pound Reed made an impact with the kind of effort coaches look for from players trying to earn a roster spot. He stopped rookie running back Owen Marecic for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. He also had a sack and two pass deflections.
‘‘That’s my job,’’ Reed said. ‘‘I was happy that I showed up in the stat department this game more than I have in the past couple of games. It was fun just going out there and getting to play football again.’’
Undrafted rookie defensive end Mario Addison is feeling good about his chances after an impressive performance. Addison concluded a strong camp with four tackles, including two tackles for loss.
‘‘I cut it loose tonight. It seemed like I had Superman powers,’’ the 6-3, 252-pound Addison said. ‘‘Coach [Rod] Marinelli told me, ‘Mario, zone in,’ so tonight I zoned in and played the defense they called, and I came out pretty good I think.
‘‘I left it all on the field. It’s in the coaches’ hands. If God saw [it] the same, I’ll be on that 53-man roster. ’’
Venable takes a shot
Safety Winston Venable might have overdone it a bit in is bid to make the team, but at least he went all out.
Venable, an undrafted rookie from Boise State, was called for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Demetrius Williams, who was injured on the play.
Venable might have to make the team just to afford the fine. But he doesn’t think it’ll cost him in his bid to make the roster.
‘‘You never want to get a penalty, but I think it shows physical play,’’ he said, ‘‘and these coaches want to see somebody that’s physical.’’