Linebacker John Timu made the Bears' opening day roster as an undrafted rookie and played in the first four games of the season on special teams.
But Timu was then waived and signed to the practice squad, where he spent 10 weeks before being promoted back onto the active roster Tuesday. Like so many others who transition from college star to the NFL roster bubble, it's been an adjustment for Timu.
John Timu played in the first four games of the season on special teams.
"It's rough, but it comes with the territory in this business," he said. "Things happen. It's up and down. And when you get your opportunity, just make the most of it."
Timu was an impact player and team captain at Washington, where last season he recorded 108 tackles and two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns.
Over the Bears' final three games, Timu may get a chance to show what he can do not only on special teams but on defense as well. He excelled in both roles during the preseason, recording a sack and an interception and tying for the team lead with four special-teams tackles.
"He does have good instincts," said coach John Fox. "He is a powerful guy and he's a young player. That's why we kept him on the football team. I think he's earned the opportunity in what he's done on the practice squad and in practice."
Sack master: Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman leads all NFL rookies with 4.5 sacks, an impressive feat given that he was viewed primarily as a run-stuffer entering the draft.
The 6-4, 336-pounder from Florida State is bidding to become the second Bears rookie to lead the NFL in sacks, joining defensive end Mark Anderson, who had 12 in 2006.
"Eddie has shown flashes, without a doubt," Fox said. "We're pleased with his progress. Much like our whole football team, we've not been consistent enough. That's something we're building on, whether it's individually so that collectively we're playing more consistent."
AP test: The Bears defense will face a difficult challenge Sunday in Minnesota against Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson, who leads the NFL in rushing with 1,251 yards.
"He's a complete back when he has the ball in his hands," said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. "He can run with power. He can run with elusiveness. He'll bounce the ball outside or bring it all the way back against the grain. Once he gets in the open, he's got top-end speed.
"He's got a pretty tough package there to stop and that's why he's perennially one of the best in the league."
In 13 career games against the Bears, Peterson has rushed for 1,499 yards and 14 touchdowns on 298 carries. In the last meeting Nov. 1 at Soldier Field, he ran for 103 yards on 20 carries to help lead the Vikings to a 23-20 victory.
Gradual process: Outside linebackers Willie Young and Lamarr Houston have both played at a Pro Bowl level over the last month or so. But their emergence over the last month after rebounding from season-ending injuries last year hasn't happened overnight.
"It's been gradual," Fangio said. "It's been a little bit each and every week. Once they got more and more playing time, they started feeling a little bit more comfortable and playing better and better."
Young has recorded 4.5 sacks in his last four games and can become only the third Bears player with a five-game streak, joining Brian Urlacher and Steve McMichael. Young also had eight tackles and three tackles-for-loss last Sunday against the Redskins.
Houston has five of his six sacks this season in the last six games and compiled 10 tackles and two tackles-for-loss versus Washington.