Few if any Bears players have had a more impressive training camp than receiver Eddie Royal.
The eight-year veteran produced another impact play in Friday's practice, diving to catch a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in team drills. The cohesiveness that Royal and Cutler developed when they were teammates with the Denver Broncos in 2008 has been evident in Bourbonnais.
|Eddie Royal during a training camp drill.|
"I've known Eddie for a long time," Cutler said. "I think over the years he's gotten better and better and better. Where he is right now in his career, you can line up him inside, you can line him up outside, you can put any coverage on him and he knows how to beat it how to get open. He's kind of a safety valve out there and it's fun having him back on the same team."
Royal's most productive NFL season remains his rookie year in 2008 when he caught 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns while teaming with Cutler.
In seven NFL seasons with the Broncos and Chargers, Royal has caught 338 passes for 3,750 yards and 25 touchdowns while appearing in 98 games with 61 starts. He has also averaged 10.6 yards with two TDs on 111 punt returns and 24.1 yards with one TD on 57 kickoff returns.
Royal showed veteran leadership Friday when he spent 15 minutes after practice playing catch and working on footwork with rookie receiver Kevin White, who remains sidelined with a shin injury.
Blame me: Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio accepted blame for the Bears' ill-fated offseason signing of free-agent defensive lineman Ray McDonald.
Fangio, who had coached McDonald with the 49ers, signed off on the move despite McDonald's checkered past. McDonald was released by the Bears after being involved in another off-the-field incident.
"I don't regret trying to vouch for him," Fangio told reporters. "At the time I believed it was the right thing to do. The only thing I regret is that because it didn't work out and the club put its faith in my recommendation, George [McCaskey] and Ryan [Pace] and John [Fox] took some hits from you guys and you really should've been hitting me and not them. So that's the only part I regret, is that the guys above me took the hits for it."
Camp news: Running back Ka'Deem Carey (shoulder), tackle Tayo Fabuluje (asthma/allergies) and offensive lineman Michael Ola (knee) did not practice Friday. Veteran left tackle Jermon Bushrod was given the day off... Former Bears long-snapper Patrick Mannelly, who holds franchise records for games (245) and seasons (16) played, attended practice and gave long-snappers Thomas Gafford and Rick Lovato some tips... Tight end Martellus Bennett made a nice juggling touchdown catch, not securing the ball until he landed on his back in the end zone... Rookie receiver Cameron Meredith also produced an impressive TD, snaring a pass while tip-toeing across the back of the end zone.
Snack time: The Bears' Family Fest practice Saturday at Soldier Field will conclude with three live sessions of 12 plays apiece, a precursor to next Thursday night's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins.
"It'll be just a snack of what they are going to experience next Thursday night as far as playtime and it being live," said coach John Fox. "Preseason games even the quarterbacks are live. We won't be that way [Saturday]. Other than that, I want to see how they respond to game conditions even though it's only 12 plays. So it's a little taste for them to experience and feel that before we start games against opponents."