Bears safeties Chris Conte, Major Wright expect to be busy vs. Eagles
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org November 5, 2011 9:20PM
Matt Forte doesn’t regret passing on the Bears’ contract offer before the season. | Getty Images
Updated: December 7, 2011 8:35AM
The Bears’ starting safeties, who have a combined six NFL starts, expect the Philadelphia Eagles to test them deep Monday night.
Neither rookie Chris Conte or second-year pro Major Wright are nervous.
“If they don’t throw the ball, then you can’t intercept it,” Conte said. “So that’s what we want.”
Added Wright, “It’s our job to be ready.”
The Eagles boast the league’s No. 1 offense, which features a quarterback with one of the game’s strongest arms and two athletic receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Quarterback Michael Vick naturally didn’t tip his hand, but Bears coach Lovie Smith expects his young safeties to be challenged.
“If I’m Philadelphia and every other team, you have a rookie back there playing at the safety position, yeah, you want to check him out,” Smith said. “So Chris is planning on being tested. But the only way to have an opportunity to make plays is if you are tested.”
Conte had an impressive interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the goal line in London. Now he’s looking forward to starting on “Monday Night Football.”
“I’m really excited to be on national TV,” he said, “letting the world know about ‘Birdman.’ ”
That’s the nickname given to him by Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton, and he played it up by flapping his arms after his interception against the Bucs. Conte said he won’t do his “Birdman” after just any big play.
“I think it’s mostly a pick thing,” he said. “It depends on the play. But you got to have the ball in your hands.”
As for Wright, he didn’t start against the Buccaneers because of a hip injury, but he’ll return to the starting lineup against the Eagles.
Wright said he’s fine now.
“Bye week was good,” he said. “I feel great. I’m ready to go.”
Bears rookie offensive tackle Gabe Carimi participated fully in practice Thursday, but he hasn’t practiced since and has been ruled out for the game.
“Gabe Carimi hasn’t responded as well as we wanted him to. So we’re going to keep him out another week,” Smith said. “Besides that, we have everybody else ready to go, ready to play the game.”
Carimi partially dislocated his knee cap in the second quarter at New Orleans in the second game of the season. He just returned to practice last week.
Lance Louis will start his third consecutive game at right tackle.
For the Eagles, only defensive end Juqua Parker is in question. He’s listed as doubtful with an ankle injury.
Forte won’t walk out
During an appearance Friday on “NBC SportsTalk” on Versus, Bears running back Matt Forte said he would not walk out on the team this season.
He also said he had no regrets about passing up the team’s contract offer before the season. It included $13 million to $15 million in guarantees.
“I’m not going to let anybody or an organization undervalue me as a player, or try to dictate to me what kind of value I have,” he said. “I had no problem declining it.”
Forte said the Bears contacted his agent during the bye week but have not made another offer.
“I’m always optimistic,” he said. “I want to expect something. But the way things have been going, it doesn’t look like that.”