The Bears confirmed some bad news on Thursday as they ruled out a pair of players for Sunday’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Wide receiver and kick return specialist Devin Hester has been ruled out after suffering a concussion last week while guard Chris Spencer will also sit out while he recovers from a knee injury suffered against the Vikings.
Eric Weems will replace Hester as the primary returner for kickoffs and punts and will probably see an increased role on offense. With Alshon Jeffery also expected to miss the game as he recovers from a knee scope, Earl Bennett, Weems and Dane Sanzenbacher would all have to pick up the slack alongside Brandon Marshall for the wide receiving corps.
Hester won’t be missed too much in the return game; he’s on one of his down years. According to head coach Lovie Smith, Devin could miss “a while” as he recovers from his concussion. I wonder how it’s possible he can’t pass his baseline test. Maybe he’s mixing it up with his Wonderlic test? If Weems knows how to run backwards and make poor decisions, he’ll do just fine. It’s also possible Earl Bennett could see some action on punt returns.
On the offensive line, it looks like Gabe Carimi will get his first start at guard with Spencer out. Carimi held his own in emergency duty last week when the Bears lost two starters on the offensive line. Edwin Williams will go at left guard while Gabe will get a shot on the right side.
To get a little more insurance, the Bears promoted James Brown, the godfather of the hold, to the 53-man roster. They also signed a former Pro Bowler in Andre Gurode, who had been on the couch waiting for his phone to ring. If he’s seeing any real time on Sunday, the Bears are in trouble.
Returning to practice on Thursday were Peanut Tillman, Lance Briggs and Kellen Davis, joining Matt Forte in Limited Participation. All are expected to go on Sunday barring any setbacks.
Brian Urlacher joined Alshon Jeffery in the Did Not Participate group, but it’s more of a veteran’s day off for Urlacher. No reason to think he’d miss any time.