Bears rookie linebacker Kwiatkoski ready, able to go if Trevathan can't

 
 
Updated 8/3/2017 6:02 PM
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BOURBONNAIS -- Last year as a rookie, inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski got off to a slow start when he suffered a hamstring injury in the first training camp practice in full pads. It practically eliminated his entire camp.

But the fourth-round pick from West Virginia eventually caught up well enough to start the final six games of the season, when veteran Danny Trevathan wound up on injured reserve. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Kwiatkoski finished seventh on the team with 52 tackles and tied for second with 5 tackles for negative yardage.

"Especially from where I started," Kwiatkoski said, "to end the season with good reps like that meant a lot. That was big, just getting that experience, playing more snaps."

With Trevathan being brought back slowly while he continues rehabbing his knee, Kwiatkoski is getting plenty of first-team practice reps in camp.

"It's a totally different feeling," he said. Being in the training room, watching people practice, not being out there, it was hard.

"Especially being a rookie, and already being behind, it put me even further behind. It made me work hard in the film room. But being in the film room AND on the field, it's a great situation now."

Trevathan hopes to be close to 100 percent by the regular-season opener, but if he's not, the sixth-year veteran is confident his understudy can step in.

"He's ready," Trevathan said. "Nick came in with the right attitude. He was thrown into a tough position (last year), but he handled it well. You want to see that in young players, and he blossomed. You want to see that, guys filling in, and you're not missing a beat. He's going to be a great player."

Mr. Salty:

Wide receiver Kevin White says he doesn't pay attention to criticism, but he seems offended by negative stories that have labeled him a first-round bust after injuries limited him to four games in his first two seasons.

"I really don't pay attention to the outside noise," the seventh overall draft pick in 2015 said. "I've been like that ever since I got in the league. So, you guys can criticize.

"I probably criticize myself 100 times harder than anyone else can. So, criticize. That's what you're here to do. I'm here to play football, have fun and play at a high level."

White has played well in camp, showing the ability to separate from defenders with his 4.35 speed, size (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) and strength.

"He's a big, strong, fast guy," quarterback Mike Glennon said. "When he plays fast, he plays really well. I'm really excited to have him. He's working really hard to be that really good receiver. I think he's going to be there."

Coach John Fox has been impressed with White's play in camp, but he said he understands the angst that comes with his inability to stay on the field.

"I'm sure there's some frustration level," Fox said, "to be somewhere two years and played (four) games. That'd frustrate a Good Humor man. But he's battled it; he's tough-minded guy, he's a competitor, he's got physical skills. Now it's just a matter of practicing football and getting better."

Coming and going:

Undrafted rookie running back Joel Bouagnon of Northern Illinois University was waived injured, and free-agent rookie running back Joshua Rounds was signed.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Rounds played in 47 games at Tulane and rushed 226 times for 1,168 yards (5.2-yard average) and 8 touchdowns. He also caught 40 passes for 288 yards (7.2-yard average) and returned 29 kickoffs for 516 yards (17.8-yard average).

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound Bouagnon was a second team All-MAC selection last year after rushing for 885 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Change of plans:

Stormy weather forced Thursday's practice inside and scaled back the intensity of the workout.

Rather than a practice in full pads, the Bears went through the motions of a walk-through in the Olivet Nazarene University fieldhouse. Friday's practice, which is closed to the public, was originally scheduled as a walk-through but will now be in pads.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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