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Training Camp Report

Bears to hold first padded practice Tuesday


After opening training camp with five non-contact practices, the Bears will conduct their first padded workout Tuesday at Halas Hall.

"What we expect out of that is really you get to see guys play the game," said coach Matt Eberflus. "So far you've seen pass rushers rush against offensive tackles who have no pads on. It's hard to evaluate that.

"When you get the pads on, now you can really see [that] guys will either rise or they'll fall a little bit based on the pads. I've seen it every year. So we're looking for that. We're looking for guys that can play with leverage, play with the pads on and the guys that are physical because we covet the guys that are physical, that want to play the style we want to play."

Eberflus described that style succinctly a few days ago when discussing the intensity he demands from players during practice.

"We can't live soft and play hard," he said at the time. "You just can't do it. That's not the way football is. We've got to play hard and be a hard team."

The first opportunity that NFL teams had to practice in pads was Monday. But the Bears were off Sunday and Eberflus wanted to "ramp up into it," so the team held another non-contact workout Monday.

"I think it's better for the players to get them back into the swing of things and then put the pads on," he said.

"It's an exciting time. Everybody in the league's doing it and everybody in ball's doing it. They put the pads on for the first time and it's still exciting. Even veterans that have been doing it for 10 years, they're still excited about it. I'm still excited about it, all these years being in football. It's going to be a big day for us."

Each year in training camp, the intensity level typically rises in the first padded practice. There may even be a minor scuffle or two.

"Everybody will be a little bit amped up," said offensive lineman Sam Mustipher. "That's the best part. First day of pads, that's what you dream about as a football player, first day of school. I'm not one of those guys who lays out my cleats and stuff like that, but the first day of pads, that's when you really find out who loves the game of football."

"This is where we get to see what we are made of as a team, as an offense really," said tight end Ryan Griffin. "I know coach 'Flus' is going to have the defense ready to go. I take personal responsibility in setting the tone offensively. It's always a fun day. It's a testy day. It's testy, but it's fun. Hopefully, it's going to be nice and hot and we will see what we are made of."

Roster Move: In other news Tuesday, safety Dane Cruikshank was removed from the non-football injury list and is now eligible to practice. Cruikshank signed a one-year contract with the Bears March 31 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Titans, registering 65 tackles and one interception while appearing in 44 games with four starts.

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