Tillman done, but Bears expect Briggs to return
The Bears might have seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs back on the field for Sunday night's game against the Eagles, but they won't be getting two-time cornerback Charles Tillman back at all.
"Tillman will be unavailable for the rest of the year," Bears coach Marc Trestman said at his Monday afternoon news conference. "He's not going to be available to practice for the rest of the season because he's not far enough in his recovery to do that."
Trestman cited medical privacy issues in declining to discuss whether Tillman has had surgery for the torn triceps.
"I can't discuss that," Trestman said. "We've respected Charles' privacy on that matter."
When Tillman suffered the injury Nov. 10, he was placed on injured reserve/designated to return. That meant he would have been eligible to play in an opening-round playoff game if the Bears qualify for the postseason. But that won't happen now, and considering he's a free agent after the season, it's likely that Tillman has played his last game for the Bears.
Briggs, who suffered a fractured shoulder on Oct. 20, will be back on the practice field starting Wednesday, and the Bears hope he will not be limited, as he was last week.
"Lance will practice this week," Trestman said. "It's going to be day to day. I'm reasonably optimistic, but it's going to be through the three days of practice before a decision is made. We'll make the decision Friday."
Tillman leads the Bears with 3 forced fumbles and remains tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions. Since he entered the league in 2003, the second-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette is second with 42 forced fumbles, and he's third in franchise history with 36 interceptions.
In your dreams:
Alshon Jeffery has impressed Marc Trestman since the off-season, but the coach could never have predicted the 6-foot-3, 216-pound Jeffery would emerge as one of the top receivers in the NFL in just his second season. The second-round pick out of South Carolina is seventh in the NFL with 1,265 yards.
"We saw this in practice," Trestman said. "We saw his work ethic, and we saw him making plays in practice. You never really know. You're not tackling in practice, you're in shorts most of the time.
"You hope that players like that will carry what they do in practice out on the field because that's where you really find out, and that's what he's done. There were no predictions here or no envisioning of how it would be."
In the last three games, Jeffery has 22 catches for 405 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"I'm sure he had a vision of how it would be, and that's the most important thing in what he was going to do when he got on the field," Trestman said. "But we just went at it to allow him to do the things in the game that he's done in practice."
Making a contribution:
Earl Bennett's 30 catches for 231 yards don't look very impressive compared to the Bears' other skill-position players, but the No. 3 wide receiver has TD catches in each of the last two games and a career-high 4 on the season.
"He's always been part of the equation," coach Marc Trestman said. "I'm glad he has become a part of it a little bit more."
Sixteen of Bennett's catches have come in the last four games, including a career-best 8 vs. the St. Louis Rams in Week 12.
"When he had the concussion (in training camp), he kind of dropped off a little bit," Trestman said. "He wasn't around for a while, and we kind of forgot about the kind of receiver he was before.
"He's a great leader on our football team. He sends great messages in the locker room with the things he says and the way he does things. He's great for our team. I know our guys love him, and it's good to see he's become a part of the equation for us."