Kicker Robbie Gould and defensive end Israel Idonije don't believe the Bears will have any issues with players being out of shape because of the four-and-a-half month work stoppage that obliterated off-season practices and workouts.
"There are always injuries in football, as soon as you start putting on the pads and hitting," Idonije said. "It's a part of the game. I think you do the guys a disservice when you say they're just going to fall apart when they start playing.
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"Everybody's been working out because the guys take their jobs seriously."
Gould predicts anyone who has not kept up his workouts will suffer the consequences.
"We're going to be ready to play football; we're going to be ready to make a run at the Super Bowl," Gould said. "You have to be a professional. All our guys are professionals. You don't come into this organization if you're not a professional, and if you aren't a professional, guess what? You find your way out the door, and I think history speaks for itself. There are no excuses."
While the trend in the NFL has been toward teams holding training camp at their own facility rather than at remote college campuses, Bears chairman of the board George McCaskey says Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais makes sense for the Bears, this year more than ever.
"That's been discussed from time to time," McCaskey said of the notion to hold training camp at Halas Hall. "That's a decision for (president and CEO) Ted Phillips and (G.M.) Jerry Angelo and (coach) Lovie (Smith).
"We're excited about getting back to Bourbonnais, especially in this situation. We think it will help regroup the team because they haven't had OTAs, they haven't had the voluntary workouts, so in terms of building camaraderie, it's better from a facilities standpoint. And we think actually, with the shortened time frame, that going to Bourbonnais is the better course of action."
Leading the way:
Having continuity on the coaching staff should be an advantage for the Bears, especially over the eight NFL teams that have different head coaches than they did a year ago.
"At the forefront of all this, leadership is key," kicker Robbie Gould said. "The Chicago Bears wouldn't have re-signed Lovie Smith to a deal (two-year extension) during a lockout if they didn't feel that he had the leadership to lead us through an opportunity to win a Super Bowl with a shortened off-season. If you look at the guys that we have in our lockerroom, it's a very veteran-oriented group of guys. Our leadership is great in our lockerroom."
Players may need to accelerate their preparation with the first preseason game on Aug. 13, but they're confident coach Lovie Smith will run a camp that doesn't put players at a greater risk for injury.
"Coach Smith will do a good job of managing the guys, making sure that we're all moving along and he's managing those practices well," Israel Idonije said. "We'll be fine."