Marshall's weekend off 'part of the plan'
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Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is not expected to return to practice until Monday. "It's all good," said Bears coach Marc Trestman. "I let him go for personal reasons,"
A day after expressing dissatisfaction with his progress in returning from off-season hip surgery and saying, "I'm not where I want to be right now," and "I'm still trying to figure out my role and my place in this offense," Brandon Marshall was not at practice Wednesday.
And he won't be at tonight's preseason game, and he won't lift with teammates Friday at Halas Hall.
But "it's all good," according to Bears coach Marc Trestman. "I let him go for personal reasons, for something that's been in part of the off-season plan since we started training camp."
The Bears won't practice again until Monday when Marshall is scheduled to be on the field.
Marshall's Wednesday's absence was indeed for a previously planned, follow-up appointment for his hip procedure of seven months ago. Four days for a doctor's appointment seems a bit excessive, but Trestman didn't sound worried after Wednesday's practice. Not even about Marshall's comment from a day earlier, when he said: "I'm just trying to get healthy for Week One."
"He had a very good practice on Tuesday," Trestman said. "He ran well, he ran his routes, he took his reps, he finished, so I can't speak for his comments. What I saw on the field was a guy getting ready to play. He'll be back Sunday and should be ready to practice Monday and get started (preparing for the Bengals) on Wednesday."
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton has not been cleared for a full participation in practice since suffering a concussion early in the first preseason game. He is on pace to return next week, although his conditioning for the regular-season opener is a concern.
Melton did some individual work Wednesday and continues to make progress.
"He'll work out before the game (tonight), so he'll be working out every day through Monday," coach Marc Trestman said. "He's still getting himself back into shape. We're working with him to try to get him up to speed."
Wide receiver Earl Bennett caught passes Wednesday for the first time in almost a month, since he suffered a concussion in practice.
"Earl came out and ran," Trestman said. "He had a helmet on and shoulder pads. He's day-to-day, but it's encouraging. He's been released to begin his reconditioning process, so that's a good sign."
Bennett has not been cleared to practice, but he could also return next week.
Evaluating the backups receivers in earlier preseason games was problematic because the Bears haven't thrown the ball much in the second half, when non-starters get the majority of their playing time.
But they'll get a longer look tonight, when the starters won't play at all.
"There's some talented guys in the bunch," offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. "Hopefully we can get them some balls and let them put it on tape. If (they) can catch it and secure it and run the offense, that'll show that they can fit in and make a team — or our team."
Linebackers D.J. Williams (calf) and J.T. Thomas (hamstring), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (right knee), running back Harvey Unga (ribs), cornerback Zack Bowman (hamstring) and defensive tackle Corvey Irvin (left ankle), did not practice.
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