Although ballcarriers aren't supposed to be taken to the ground in practice, Jeremy Langford didn't complain when he was knocked down by an overzealous defender Wednesday.
Bears running back Jeremy Langford returned to practice Wednesday.
The third-year running back hopped to his feet and continued to run toward the end zone. Back at practice for the first time since reinjuring his surgically repaired ankle on the first day of training camp, Langford was thrilled simply to have the ball in his hands again.
"It's good to be back out there," Langford said. "I count the blessings and it's good to be back out there on the field with my pads on, with my teammates again."
Selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of Michigan State, Langford showed promise as a rookie, rushing for 537 yards and a team-high six touchdowns on 148 carries while also catching 22 passes for 279 yards and one TD.
When starter Matt Forte was sidelined with a midseason injury, Langford helped lead the Bears to back-by-back wins by generating 142 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown against the Chargers and 182 yards and two TDs versus the Rams.
Their faith in Langford was a key factor in the Bears' decision not to offer Forte a contract extension. Langford entered last season as the team's starting running back, but he was hampered by an ankle injury and watched rookie replacement Jordan Howard blossom into a Pro Bowler.
Moving forward, Langford hopes to make the most of the opportunities he receives in practice and preseason games. Asked what he wants to show coaches, he said: "Just the reason why I'm here, same thing I did in college. I'm a playmaker, and be that playmaker and be versatile.
"My main thing is getting back to 100 percent and being the player that I am and can be," Langford said. "The rest will take care of itself."
Long story: Coach John Fox told reporters that Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long was absent from practice Wednesday because he was seeing a doctor about his surgically-repaired ankle.
The last time Long was on the practice field—Monday in Bourbonnais—he was sent to the showers early after being involved in multiple skirmishes with teammates.
Asked about a discussion he had with Long concerning the situation, Fox said: "There was some remorse there. He was embarrassed for himself and for the team. Those things happen. Our guys, we've got a bond and he's one of our family and he'll be treated as such, like any kind of thing that happens in a family. Guys adapt and respond and I think everything's fine."
Some have speculated that Long has grown frustrated while trying to rebound following his ankle surgery.
"Anytime a player's injured, they get something that they love taken away from them, there's some pain and suffering that goes along with it and I'm sure those are things," Fox said. "But we have a lot of resources here. Kyle knows he's loved here, by his teammates and by everyone in the building. He'll get through it and we talked about that and I think feels confident in that."
Under the knife: Fox confirmed that receiver Markus Wheaton had surgery to repair a broken pinkie finger. Wheaton was injured last Sunday in his first padded practice after sitting out nearly two weeks following an emergency appendectomy. No timetable was given for his return.
On the mend: Outside linebacker Danny Trevathan continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee he suffered last Nov. 27 against the Titans.
"Coming off that particular injury, it's about stability and confidence in that stability," Fox said. "I think you first do it with no contact on you or no extra weight. You're not really pressing against the linemen trying to block you. It's a lot of 7-on-7, a lot of individual drills where it's just the actual movement of it.
"You kind of build up on that resistance to people throwing themselves at you and leaning on you. It's the stability with that added pressure. We're in that phase now."