Jay Cutler said last week that he expected Matt Forte to sign his franchise tag tender offer or conclude a long-term deal with the Bears, meaning that he does not anticipate the running back to miss any games that matter.
Coach Lovie Smith refused to speculate either way on Forte earlier this week and made it clear that the Bears are moving on with the players they have. On Thursday Smith changed direction and, without being asked about Forte, twice volunteered that he was looking forward to having Forte.
Cant wait to get down to training camp, to get a few more of our guys back out there in the mix, Smith said, mentioning, Brian Urlacher, get Matt Forte back out there, those guys.
Later Smith included Forte in his thoughts on the Bears running game for 2012: Were adding Michael Bush to the mix with Matt Forte, Kahlil Bell, Armando Allen, other good football players.
Smith appeared to be making something of a statement to Forte earlier this week. He made a decidedly different one as minicamp concluded on Thursday.
The Bears announced on Saturday they have elevated tight end Ben Braunecker from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and waived defensive lineman C.J. Wilson.
Braunecker, 22, signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Harvard following the 2016 NFL Draft. In 25 collegiate games, Braunecker compiled 68 receptions for 1,168 yards and 10 touchdowns. Braunecker was named first team All-America (AP, Walter Camp and STATS) and selected as the CFPA tight end award recipient following his senior season.
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Wilson, who signed with the Bears earlier in the week, has appeared in 78 games with the Green Bay Packers (2010-13), Oakland Raiders (2014-15) and Detroit Lions (2015). Wilson has notched 111 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 15 TFL's throughout his six-year NFL career.
The Bears' 53-man roster is now full.
Big Ten teams have been honoring Sam Foltz all season long, and Illinois came up with a new way to honor him Saturday.
The Nebraska punter was tragically killed in a car accident in July, and teams playing the Huskers this season have done everything including lay flowers on the 27-yard line (Foltz wore No. 27) and wear helmet stickers honoring Foltz.
Saturday, Illinois visited Lincoln, and the Illini's specialists presented the Huskers' specialists with a Foltz Illinois jersey autographed by the team.
And Nebraska caught the emotional exchange on video. It's a must watch.
It's certainly been an emotional season for Nebraska, but it's great to see the whole Big Ten coming together to honor Foltz's memory.