Sunday's game against the Ravens will be special for Pernell McPhee, who will face his former team for the first time since leaving Baltimore to sign with the Bears in 2015.
"It means a lot, but getting a win is everything for me at the moment," said the veteran outside linebacker. "But it means a lot; I get the opportunity to go against the team that raised me, that gave me my identity as a defensive player and as a man in this game."
McPhee was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Mississippi State. After recording six sacks as a rookie, he won a Super Bowl ring in his second season. In back-to-back playoff wins, McPhee generated a strip/sack of Peyton Manning and tipped a Tom Brady pass that resulted in an interception.
In McPhee's four seasons with the Ravens, he was mentored by veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, a six-time Pro Bowler and the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year who is now in his 15th season.
Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee rushes off the edge against the Vikings.
Asked what impressed him most about Suggs during their time together as teammates, McPhee said: "Just the way he played the game. The way he studied. The way he takes the game seriously. That's my guy. He was a great guy to come up under. I'm thankful for all the things I learned while I was playing with him."
McPhee, who missed all of training camp and the preseason following arthroscopic knee surgery, played a season-high 45 snaps last Monday night against the Vikings.
"It's a concern," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of McPhee's workload. "We probably loaded him up a little too much this past game, but that's kind of the way the game was going. We'd like to not have to play him too much, but we'll see how it goes."
Homeward bound: Another Bears player who's returning home to Baltimore this weekend is safety Adrian Amos, who grew up in the city. As a senior at Calvert Hall College High School, he was named the Baltimore City Defensive Player of the Year.
Amos estimated that more than 40 of his friends and relatives will attend Sunday's game at M&T Stadium. "Some of them are diehard Ravens fans, but they're going to have Bears stuff on or they can't go," he said with a smile.
Amos played in the stadium once a year while in high school and was an avid fan of the Ravens and especially star defenders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. "I watched every game every Sunday," Amos said. "That was the first football I watched."
Back to work: After serving a one game suspension for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams, inside linebacker Danny Trevathan is thrilled to be back with his teammates preparing for Sunday's game against the Ravens.
"It hurt just to not be there," Trevathan said of last Monday night's contest versus the Vikings at Soldier Field. "But I grew from that and it made me enjoy it a little bit more when I got back. So I'm here just grinding once again."
Trevathan told reporters that he reached out to Adams via text to explain that he wasn't trying to hurt the Packers receiver.
"He texted me back," Trevathan said. "We communicated back and forth. I talked to him twice. So we're good. He was real cool. He plays football. He plays it hard and he plays it good."
Injury update: Guard Kyle Long did not practice Thursday, but his absence was explained by coach John Fox as maintenance on the ankle Long broke last season.
"We're just trying to get him to Sunday," Fox said. "It's not a new injury or anything."
Linebacker John Timu (ankle/knee) also did not practice, while cornerback Marcus Cooper Sr. (back), center/guard Hroniss Grasu (hand), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) and receiver Markus Wheaton (groin) were limited.