Undrafted out of Ohio State, 5-foot-11, 180-pound Dane Sanzenbacher has done everything he can to beat the odds and earn a spot on the Bears' 53-man roster.
But it's possible he's still on the bubble and that his fate won't be decided until after Thursday night's preseason finale.
"A lot of us are going to get a lot of playing time," Sanzenbacher said, speaking for himself and the other bubble boys. "I'm sure that will always come into the equation. But you always want to put your best foot forward."
Sanzenbacher has done that since the first day of training camp.
"Dane's done a real nice job," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "He knows several positions, which is very important. He's got some similar skills as Earl (Bennett) in the slot. We're very pleased with him."
Through the first three preseason games, Bennett is the only Bear with more catches than Sanzenbacher's 6, which have totaled 57 yards. It's been an uphill fight, but the former Buckeye has thrived under the pressure.
"I've had to prove myself since I got here," he said. "It's just the same as when you walk into a college situation. Some of the circumstances are different. But you've got to do what you can do to turn heads, and when the game's over, you want to do something that people are going to remember, that will stick out in their minds. If you make a mistake, you can't really dwell on it because there's always going to be that next opportunity."
Running on empty:
Backup running back Chester Taylor was back in uniform and on the practice field Tuesday, but maybe not for long.
After a private talk with coach Lovie Smith on Monday morning, Taylor left Halas Hall assuming he had been released. The miscommunication was eventually straightened out, but Taylor's roster spot appears in jeopardy based on the impressive performances of Marion Barber and Kahlil Bell. Taylor did not play a single down in last Saturday's third preseason game, but Smith said the 10-year veteran will play in Thursday night's preseason finale.
"He's one of the guys in the mix like everybody else," Smith said. "He and the rest of the guys will get some snaps."
Taylor doesn't appear to have much chance to make the final cut, and the sooner he is released the better chance he'll have of catching on with another team.
"I don't want to be released," he said after practice. "I like it here in Chicago. I'm going to continue playing and see what happens."
He's here all week:
Monday it was erroneously reported by some that Chester Taylor had been released. So coach Lovie Smith had an amusing response when asked about the possibility of bringing back defensive end Alex Brown, who was released by the Saints on Tuesday.
"He is getting released?" Smith said. "I mean sometimes things get out (there) and they're not really (true)."
Brown was, indeed, released, but don't look for him to resurface with the Bears, where he spent he spent his first eight years (2002-09) in the league.
"Alex Brown is a lifetime friend," Smith said. "I was planning on pulling for him 15 games this season. (But) we like our guys we have right now. There's great competition with the guys we have on the roster right now."
It's a blend:
After Thursday night's game, Soldier Field will be re-sodded in time for the season opener on Sept. 11 against the Falcons. Quarterback Jay Cutler is quite excited to play on the new surface.
"I'm sure it's going to be pristine," he said, smirking.
Marion Barber (calf), Kellen Davis (back), Anthony Adams (calf), Desmond Clark (knee), Corey Wootton (knee), Lance Briggs (knee), Patrick Mannelly and Sam Hurd (ankle) did not practice Tuesday.
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