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Bears to begin offseason program Monday


For the first time in three months, Bears players will return to Halas Hall en masse Monday for the start of the team's voluntary offseason program.

The program will begin with a team meeting led by reigning NFL coach of the year Matt Nagy, who begins his second season after leading the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North championship in his first year on the job.

The offseason program will continue through the middle of June. In accordance with the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, offseason programs are limited to nine weeks and consist of three phases.

During the first two weeks (Phase 1), activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehab, with only strength and conditioning coaches allowed on the field with players. Helmets are prohibited, and footballs are permitted on the field only for quarterbacks throwing to receivers provided they are not covered by other players.

During weeks 3-5 of the program (Phase 2), all coaches are allowed on the field. Workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, but helmets and drills pitting the offense against the defense are prohibited.

The final four weeks (Phase 3) may include up to 10 days of organized team activity (OTA) workouts. All coaches are permitted on the field and players may wear helmets, but one-on-one drills involving the offense and defense are not allowed.

The Bears will conduct their rookie minicamp May 3-5 and hold 10 OTA practices May 21-23, May 29-31 and June 4-7. The team's mandatory full-squad minicamp is scheduled for June 11-13.

There will be plenty of familiar faces at Halas Hall this spring, with the Bears returning 20 of 22 starters. The only exceptions are running back Jordan Howard, who was traded to the Eagles; and safety Adrian Amos, who signed with the Packers.

The Bears addressed both of those positions in free agency, inking running back Mike Davis (Seahawks) and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Redskins). Also signed were receiver/return specialists Cordarrelle Patterson (Patriots) and Marvin Hall (Falcons), nickel back Buster Skrine (Jets) and offensive lineman Ted Larsen (Dolphins).

The Bears have also re-signed eight of their own players since the end of last season: right tackle Bobby Massie, outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, tight end Ben Braunecker, safety DeAndre Houston-Carson, defensive tackle Nick Williams, quarterback Tyler Bray, punter Patrick O'Donnell and long-snapper Patrick Scales.

The Bears released kicker Cody Parkey after he struggled in his first season with the team and signed three potential replacements in Redford Jones, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry.

The only Bears player who is recovering from offseason surgery is receiver Anthony Miller. The 2018 second-round draft pick from Memphis had a procedure performed on his shoulder. He played through the injury in 2019, catching 33 passes for 423 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in 15 games.

In addition to the offseason program, there are other activities taking place in the next few months leading up to the start of training camp in late July.

The Bears continue preparing for the NFL Draft, which kicks off a week from Thursday. They have five picks: their own selections in Rounds 3, 4, 5 and 7 and an additional seventh-rounder they acquired from the Eagles last summer in exchange for cornerback Deiondre' Hall. The Bears dealt their first- and sixth-round picks to the Raiders last Sept. 1 in the Khalil Mack trade and sent their second-round choice to the Patriots last year to move up to select receiver Miller.

A week from Tuesday the Bears will announce the rookie and veteran winners of the Brian Piccolo Awards. The honor has been given to a Bears rookie since 1970 and was expanded in 1992 to include a veteran.

Bears players vote for teammates who best exemplify the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and sense of humor of Brian Piccolo, a Bears running back who died from embryonal cell carcinoma on June 16, 1970 at the age of 26.

The Bears Care Gala will be held Saturday, May 18 in the United Club at Soldier Field.

The Bears100 Weekend Celebration will take place June 7-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The event will feature the ultimate gathering of fans, players and alumni. The entire 2019 team and coaching staff, along with Bears Hall of Famers and alumni are scheduled to attend.

The weekend will include autograph sessions, photo opportunities, panel discussions—including one featuring Hall of Fame middle linebackers Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher—memorabilia and merchandise sales, interactive games, kids activities and a walk-though Bears history zone.