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updated: 12/31/2013 8:12 PM

Bears' top 2 WRs will train together again in off-season

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  • Brandon Marshall celebrates his touchdown reception with offensive guard Kyle Long during the second half of the Bears' loss to Green Bay on Sunday. Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for a team-record 2,716 receiving yards this season.

      Brandon Marshall celebrates his touchdown reception with offensive guard Kyle Long during the second half of the Bears' loss to Green Bay on Sunday. Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for a team-record 2,716 receiving yards this season.
    Associated Press

  • Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) runs after making a catch against the Green Bay Packers during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Chicago.

      Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) runs after making a catch against the Green Bay Packers during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
 

It didn't take long for the Bears' record-setting pass-catching combo to decide to repeat last year's off-season program.

Brandon Marshall (1,295) and Alshon Jeffery (1,421) combined for 2,716 receiving yards to establish a franchise record for duos. They finished 2 yards short of the Broncos' NFL-best pair of Demaryius Thomas (1,430) and Eric Decker (1,288), who combined for 2,718 yards this season.

Last year, after Jeffery's rookie season, Marshall brought him down to Florida to train in the off-season.

"Right after we cooled down a little bit in the locker room (after the loss to the Packers), we huddled for a little bit and said, 'Hey, we're going to stick to what we know,'" Marshall said. "That's what got him here, and we're going to build off that.

"It's not done. What I always tell him is that, what got him here is his humility and his hard work, and we're going to continue that. No matter how much money you make, no matter how much they're talking about you, you're going to continue to work. Maybe another year or two down in South Florida with me, and then maybe he can go on and do his own thing. But he still needs at least another year with me, and then I don't care where he works out because he'll have it all figured out."

Feeling a draft:

The Bears will have the 14th overall selection in May's draft.

In each of the previous three drafts, that pick has been used on stud defensive linemen, a huge area of need for a Bears team that needs help everywhere on defense. Last year, the Panthers took Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei at No. 14, and he was an instant-impact player who started all 16 games as a rookie.

In 2012, the Rams took 6-foot-5, 322-pound defensive tackle Michael Brockers out of LSU with the 14th pick, and a year earlier they used the 14th pick to select North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn, who led the NFL with 18 sacks this season. Brockers has started 28 games in two seasons and has 9 sacks.

Looking ahead:

While the 2014 schedule won't be out until spring, the Bears know who and where they'll play next season.

In addition to home and away games vs. the Vikings, Lions and Packers in the NFC North, the Bears face all four teams in the NFC South and AFC East. Because the Bears finished second in the NFC North, they also face the second-place teams from the NFC East (Cowboys) and NFC West (49ers).

In addition to their NFC North slate, the Bears host the Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Bills and Dolphins and go on the road for games against the Falcons, Panthers, 49ers, Patriots and Jets.

Future is now:

The Bears signed punter Drew Butler and running back Willie Carter to reserve/future contracts Tuesday, a day after they did the same with 11 other players: Long-snapper Brandon Hartson, cornerbacks C.J. Wilson and Demontre Hurst, tight ends Zach Miller and Fendi Onobun, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, linebacker Lawrence Wilson, offensive tackle Rogers Gaines, safety Sean Cattouse, wide receiver Terrence Toliver and defensive tackle Tracy Robertson.

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