BOURBONNAIS -- Brian Urlacher didn't practice for a fifth straight day, but this time he was excused for personal reasons, which, according to coach Lovie Smith means, "that we'll stay to other things."
What it doesn't mean is that Urlacher's injured left knee is any better. He won't play in Thursday night's preseason opener.
"He didn't practice, so when he practices, we'll be able to tell you more about that (injury)," Smith said. "For right now everything with Brian is like it was last time you saw him out here (Sunday). He's making progress, and we'll see once he gets back out on the football field."
Smith continued to emphasize that Urlacher missing practice time in training camp isn't crucial, and he's right. The seven-time Pro Bowler doesn't need to practice what he already knows. But the longer he's away, the more concern there will be regarding his availability for the regular season.
"Brian Urlacher missing a few days isn't going to hurt an awful lot, just like it won't for some of our other veterans who miss a period here or there," Smith said. "Don't get too wrapped up in all of that. We have guys on a schedule to be ready for the opening game of the season.
"I just know that I feel pretty comfortable about him playing this year, and eventually we'll get him out on the football field when he needs to be before we play the Colts (Sept. 9)."
Making it official:
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice confirmed the J'Marcus Webb over Chris Williams decision at left tackle, a foregone conclusion for several days, although Webb didn't win by KO.
"I thought that one guy would separate himself and really just jump out there," Tice said. "I don't think that has really happened. So, for me, let's keep status quo and see where the games take us.
"I'm not in a rush to change for change's sake, and we're hoping that a guy in his third year, Webb, will step up and mature as a football player and as a person and get better and show us that this means something to him."
Best of luck:
Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake was somewhat taken aback by Devin Thomas' decision to leave the team.
"I thought he was doing a good job," Drake said. "But he and I talked and sometimes you get to the point where you feel like you've had enough.
"He said, 'You guys are doing a great job. If I'm not giving my all, I don't want to hurt the group or hurt the team.' You respect the guy for that. I wish him the best, and hopefully whatever he's pursuing and the dreams that he has, he'll go on and fulfill them."
Linebacker Jabara Williams (hamstring) and defensive tackle Brian Price (personal) didn't practice, while defensive end Israel Idonije was limited. New wide receiver Rashied Davis cannot practice in pads for his first three days in camp.