Ninth-year veteran long-snapper Jeremy Cain was signed Monday for his third stint with the Bears. He replaces Brandon Hartson, who was waived a day earlier.
Stepping into such a crucial position just six days before the start of the regular season might be a daunting task for some. But, as the 34-year-old former linebacker pointed out, this isn't his first rodeo.
"I've been in the league for a while now," he said. "So I feel confident I can step in and do the job."
Cain snapped in two games for the Bears last season when newly retired Pat Mannelly was sidelined by a calf injury. Adam Podlesh was the Bears' punter and holder on place kicks in 2013, but he has been replaced in both roles by rookie Pat O'Donnell. Still not a problem for Cain.
"We'll work together, and we'll make it happen," the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder said. "I have a lot of familiarity here and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."
Cain, who was in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' camp this summer, has appeared in 83 career games with the Bears (2004-05 and 2013), Tennessee Titans (2006) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12), primarily as a long snapper. He played 64 games as the Jaguars' long-snapper and nine games with the Titans. In his eight games with the Bears in 2004-05, Cain also played backup linebacker. He originally entered the NFL with the Bears in 2004 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of UMass.
Adding something special:
The Bears currently have four running backs on the roster -- Matt Forte, Ka'Deem Carey, Shaun Draughn and Senorise Perry -- one more than last year.
"Part of the reason is their value to special teams," coach Marc Trestman said. "We've got a couple linebackers who don't play special teams (Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams. So we picked it up with running backs, who not only can give us return ability but gunner ability (on kick coverage), playing on the punt team like Shaun. It's not only their ability to play offense, but their ability to bring value, special-teams wise."
Fullback Tony Fiammetta also is a core special-teams player.
Seven players cut last week were brought back Monday morning as members of the 10-man practice squad, but the list did not include former NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Wide receiver Josh Bellamy, center Taylor Boggs, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, cornerbacks Isaiah Frey and Al Louis-Jean, guard Ryan Groy and linebacker DeDe Lattimore were added to the practice squad after clearing waivers. They join cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive tackle Roy Philon and wide receiver Rashad Ross.
New year, new team:
Bears coach Marc Trestman pointed out to his team that there are 29 new players this year on the 53-man roster.
"That was eye-opening to the guys," the Bears' coach said.
Not a labor day:
Quarterback David Fales (shoulder), wide receiver Marquess Wilson (collar bone) and linebacker Lance Briggs (excused absence) were the only players who didn't practice Monday.