Tillman returns, but still has long way to go

  • Bears cornerback Charles Tillman says he may play in the opener against Green Bay.

      Bears cornerback Charles Tillman says he may play in the opener against Green Bay. Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/8/2009 2:52 PM

Charles Tillman was back on the practice field Monday, but he's still a long shot to see any time against the Packers Sunday night.

"We have a long ways to go," said Bears coach Lovie Smith. "We're just starting the process for him to get back out on the football field, to work drills, to start working out some of the kinks. We'll go from there."


Tillman did not participate in any training camp practices and did not play in any preseason games after having back surgery in mid-June. Since July he has expressed a desire to face the Packers, and initial results were encouraging, but defending 1,000-yard receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver would be a tough opening act.

"I was able to do everything," Tillman said after Monday's scaled-down practice at Halas Hall. "They didn't hold me out of anything. It feels good.

"I busted my (butt) to get back to this point. Bobby Slater and the rest of the training staff and other trainers that I've been working with have been doing a good job of getting me stronger."

Zack Bowman, who missed three weeks of the preseason with a hamstring injury, has a better chance of starting (with Nate Vasher) vs. the Packers after playing in the final preseason game.

"I'm ready to go," Bowman said. "Coaches are depending on me, my teammates are depending on me, and I'm depending on myself."

Especially if Tillman is unavailable, the Bears will need Bowman to be at his best against the Packers' dynamic duo, who combined for 154 catches and 2,304 receiving yards last season.

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"It's just like college ball all over again, especially in the Big 12," said Nebraska product Bowman. "Every week you line up against somebody good, so you just play ball."

Bubble doesn't burst: In his fourth season in the NFL, wide receiver Devin Aromashodu is finally on a 53-man roster for the first week of the season.

For the first time, the practice squad veteran didn't receive the dreaded phone call informing him that he would be cut. But it's still a nerve-racking time of the year when you're on the bubble and hoping that the phone doesn't ring.

The Bears informed his agent Joel Segal on Friday evening that Aromashodu had made the team, and Segal passed the good news on to Aromashodu, saving him 24 hours of anxiety before the final cuts were announced Saturday at 5 p.m.


"I didn't have to sweat it out the whole weekend," he said. "But I don't really relax now. I know every day I have to keep getting better and continue to show them the reasons why I'm here. But it just feels good to know that I'm a part of the team."

Full squad: Offensive tackle James Marten was added as the eighth player on the practice squad Monday.

The 6-foot-8, 310-pound Marten was a third-round selection (67th overall) of the Cowboys in 2007. He was on the Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2007 but was inactive for all 16 games. He was claimed off waivers by the Raiders before Week Two last season and made his NFL debut Sept. 21 but was inactive for the final 14 games.


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