BOURBONNAIS -- A scrap between defensive end Lamarr Houston and offensive right tackle Jordan Mills enlivened Saturday morning's practice. It escalated briefly with defensive end Willie Young getting his helmet ripped off and Kyle Long wading into the fray to help restore peace, even though Long is still out with a viral infection.
Bears coach Marc Trestman knows an occasional scuffle is an inevitable byproduct of training camp practices, but he still doesn't condone the dust-ups.
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Still, Trestman was amused when it was suggested that Saturday's skirmish was even more entertaining than Friday's between wide receiver Eric Weems and cornerback Sherrick McManis.
"We're going to start charging to get in here," Trestman said. "There are times in practice when a player might lose his mind. The bottom line is, when we talk about it in meetings, fighting is a disciplinary issue. If it was a game, we would've lost both players."
Order was quickly restored Saturday, and the remainder of practice went on without incident.
"The guys who were involved in it were both remorseful, and they don't want it to happen," Trestman said. "They know how it hurts a football team. The thing you like to see is that it didn't linger. The team got back to work."
Willie Young did not practice after being peripherally involved in the mid-practice skirmish, but coach Marc Trestman said his absence was not related.
"He had a little bit of quad soreness, not a lot," the Bears' coach said. "We want to monitor that and be sure we're using common sense and caution there."
Cornerback Tim Jennings did not practice at all Saturday with a similar injury.
"We don't think it's anything," Trestman said. "It's a day-to-day thing."
Safeties Craig Steltz (groin) and Chris Conte (shoulder) remain out.
It would be an exaggeration to say guard Kyle Long is bouncing off the walls as he waits to be cleared for takeoff as he battles a viral infection. But it's not much of an exaggeration.
"He's a wreck emotionally to get back out there," said coach Marc Trestman. "He's excited to get back out here. It's day-to-day, but we're going to do it right. When the doctors say he's ready to go, he'll be out there. "
Last year Long missed the entire off-season program because of Oregon's late academic year, but he still started all 16 games and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. This year he made the most of his off-season until the recent illness which hit just before camp started.
"He's trained really hard this year, and this was a setback that bothered him and unnerved us from the standpoint that we wanted to see him get off to a great start. But that's the way it is."
Like most NFL teams, the only constant for the Bears is change. Even on a team with many returning stars, there are 43 new players on the 90-man training camp roster.
"I'm really excited to see how our players and coaches continue their relationships that they've built during OTAs," general manager Phil Emery said. "We have 43 new players on this roster that were not signed (to) contracts in any shape or form last fall."
The defensive line alone had 12 players report to camp who weren't in Bourbonnais last year.
"It'll be interesting to see how it comes together," Emery said. "I've seen a lot of progress. We've brought in some outstanding veteran coaches that have had great influence on our players. I just want to see what the continuation looks like and what that process unfolds."
Assistant coaches Paul Pasqualoni (defensive line), Reggie Herring (linebackers) and Clint Hurtt (assistant defensive line) are all in their first season with the Bears.
Saturday's estimated attendance for a non-padded practice was 8,000, according to ONU-Bears liaison Gary Griffin.
Combined with Friday's crowd of 4,500, it marked the highest combined attendance for the first two days of practice in the Bears' 13 years at Olivet Nazarene University.