Left guard Cody Whitehair returned to practice Wednesday, starting a 21-day window for the Bears to activate him off injured reserve.
Whitehair has been sidelined since injuring his knee in a Week 4 loss to the Giants. The seventh-year pro has missed the last four games and is eligible to return Sunday when the Bears host the Dolphins at Soldier Field.
"We'll see where he is," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He's in a good spot mentally. He has been working his tail off with the guys in rehab. His strength numbers are good. His jump numbers are good. His velocity and speed in his jumps are good. We think he is going to be good."
I am the captain now: Defensive tackle Justin Jones was honored to be named a Bears captain in place of linebacker Roquan Smith, who was traded to the Ravens Tuesday in exchange for 2023 second- and fifth-round picks as well as linebacker A.J. Klein.
"I don't take that for granted, man," said Jones, who is in his fifth NFL season and first with the Bears. "The fact that these guys chose me to lead the team and everything, I'm really grateful and I really appreciate it. I wish it was on different terms … but I definitely appreciate the opportunity, and I'm not going to let these guys down."
The Bears started the season with four permanent captains: Smith, defensive end Robert Quinn, quarterback Justin Fields and Whitehair. When Quinn was dealt to the Eagles last week in return for a 2023 fourth-round pick, safety Eddie Jackson replaced him as a captain.
The Bears select an honorary fifth captain for every game, a role that cornerback Jaylon Johnson will fill this week versus Miami.
Together again: Tight end Cole Kmet is thrilled to be reunited with former Notre Dame teammate Chase Claypool. The Bears obtained the third-year receiver Tuesday from the Steelers in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick.
"He's going to bring a lot of juice to the locker room; ultra-competitive dude, and that's a thing we need on the team," Kmet said. "He's going to bring that competitive spirit, so I'm really excited about it."
The 6-4, 238-pounder joins the Bears having appeared in 39 games with 27 starts in three seasons in Pittsburgh, catching 153 passes for 2,044 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"He's a big-bodied dude," Kmet said. "We've been running the ball and he's a willing blocker and obviously he can go up and get the ball as well. Special talent, for sure."
Kmet vowed to help Claypool assimilate to his new surroundings.
"My family's from here, so we're going to be helping him out for sure," Kmet said. "He's family, so [we're] always going to take care of him."
The Bears hit the Halas Hall practice fields Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Sunday's matchup with the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field.