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Charles Tillman questionable for Steelers game

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman returned to practice Friday on a limited basis and is listed as questionable for Sunday night's road game against the Steelers due to a knee injury.

The two-time Pro Bowler, who has made 50 straight starts beginning with the 2010 season opener, was back on the field after sitting out practice Wednesday and Thursday.


Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has not missed a game since the 2009 season finale.
"He worked today," said coach Marc Trestman. "He worked about half the reps. We'll leave it up to Charles and our trainers to see where he is. We're optimistic. But we don't know right now. That's why he's listed the way he is."

Tillman has been very durable since joining the Bears in 2003 as a second-round draft pick from Louisiana-Lafayette, missing just six games over the last eight-plus seasons. If he's unable to play Sunday night in Pittsburgh, Zack Bowman would likely start in his place.

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall (back), tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and guard Kyle Long (back) are all listed as probable after practicing without restrictions Friday.

For the Steelers, tight end Heath Miller practiced for the third straight day and is listed as probable. Barring a setback, the two-time Pro Bowler will play Sunday night for the first time since tearing knee ligaments in Pittsburgh's second-to-last game last season.

Also for the Steelers, cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) is out; running back Le'Veon Bell (foot) is questionable; and cornerback Curtis Brown (illness), linebacker Jarvis Jones (heel), defensive end Brett Keisel (calf) and defensive tackle Steve McLendon (hamstring) are probable.

Same page: Jay Cutler has enjoyed working with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, though the 30-year-old concedes he might not have felt the same way earlier in his career.

"I think I'm older, a little bit more mature," Cutler said. "He's a grinder. He's a guy that comes in every single day and he's looking to help me get better. Sometimes on Wednesdays, it's hard. I don't really want to do that, I'm tired, but he pushes you through it.

"He does a good job. There's some give and take there. In my younger days it might have been a little bit more rocky than it is now, but right now it's going real well."

Cutler sees some of himself in Cavanaugh, an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons who won two Super Bowl rings as a backup, but insists he won't follow him into coaching.

"I do think we do have some similarities," Cutler said. "I would never coach after playing as long as he did. So he's crazy for doing that. But he's got a tough job, working with 'Trest' and then relaying things to me, keeping me up on the protections. There's a lot on his plate-red zone, third down. It's hard, but he's a grinder. I don't know if the guy sleeps."

Statistically speaking: A swing pass from Cutler to Matt Forte that lost two yards on the Bears' game-winning drive last Sunday against the Vikings has been officially changed to a run by the NFL because it was actually a backward pass.

The switch means that Forte rushed for 88 yards on 20 carries and caught 10 passes for 73 yards, while Cutler completed 27 of 38 passes for 292 yards.

Moving up: A missed field goal attempt by Rob Bironas last Sunday enabled Robbie Gould to leapfrog the Titans kicker and become the third most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history.

Gould, who made his only attempt from 20 yards last Sunday against the Vikings, has connected on 85.7 percent of his career tries (210 of 245). Bironas has now converted 85.5 percent (218 of 255). The top two kickers are Mike Vanderjagt (86.5) and Nate Kaeding (86.3).

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