Charles Tillman’s leg injury not considered serious
BY SEAN JENSEN AND MARK POTASH email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org September 9, 2012 9:36PM
Chicago, 9/9/12 The Bears' Charles Tillman kneels down in the end zone during warm-ups before their regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field September 9, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 11, 2012 6:23AM
Bears Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman suffered a lower-leg injury on a punt return Sunday and was removed from the lineup late in the first quarter.
Tillman was announced as being questionable for the remainder of the game but didn’t play again. Veteran Kelvin Hayden stepped in for him and finished tied for the team lead with seven tackles; he also had one pass defended.
‘‘I was kind of concerned, but I spoke with him,’’ cornerback Tim Jennings said of Tillman. ‘‘He said he’s going to be fine. He’ll get some treatment. It’s nothing serious that we have to worry about. He’s going to rest it, take as much time as he needs. We know we’ve got a big game coming up.
‘‘But, come Wednesday, if he feel like he can’t go, then it’s a problem and an issue for us. But, right now, he feels fine.’’
Tillman wasn’t available for comment after the game, and coach Lovie Smith didn’t shed much light on the injury.
Welcome home, Kelvin
Hayden, a Chicagoan, had a memorable debut with his hometown team. He recovered a fumble by the Indianapolis Colts’ LaVon Brazill on a kickoff that led to a field goal that gave the Bears a 34-14 lead. He also had the biggest hit of the day, drilling Donnie Avery to force an incompletion.
‘‘I take pride in being physical,’’ Hayden said. ‘‘If that gives me the rep of being a physical guy, then so be it. I just want to be a guy that [does] his job any time his number is called and [has] fun.’’
Podlesh a quick healer
Adam Podlesh, whose status was enough in doubt after he injured his hip flexor in the preseason that the Bears kept rookie Ryan Quigley on the 53-man roster, averaged 35.2 net yards on five punts. Far from his best day, but the injury was not a factor, he said.
‘‘I wasn’t where I would like to be,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t a horrible day. But it wasn’t something I’m hootin’ and hollerin’ about, either.’’
Mannelly sets record
Long snapper Pat Mannelly set another Bears record Sunday when he played in his 15th season — breaking a tie with Doug Buffone and Bill George. Playing at all was a major accomplishment after Mannelly torn an anterior cruciate ligament against the San Diego Chargers last Nov. 20.
‘‘I was really excited about that [record],’’ Mannelly said. ‘‘A lot [of credit] goes to Bobby Slater [Bears director of rehabilitation]. He spent a lot of time with me to get me back.’’
A game of chess
With the Bears’ defensive line moving guys around as often as it did in the win over the Colts, the Green Bay Packers have one more look to prepare for when the teams meet Thursday. The Bears didn’t just sub players into the line — they also moved defensive ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije to defensive tackle on certain plays.
Peppers passed it off as ‘‘Sometimes I want to go inside, sometimes I don’t,’’ but Idonije said it was an in-game ‘‘chess match’’ to confuse the Colts and they’ll keep using it.
‘‘We didn’t want to give them the same look, and that’s important moving forward,’’ Idonije said. ‘‘We were kind of locked into our plan, and when we changed it, it started to break things wide open for us. When we changed up, there were a couple of things we were really able to take advantage of. It’s a chess match.’’
Contributing: Joe Cowley