LAKE FOREST- Whether it was the visit by Bears’ legend Mike Ditka, or a force of nature that inspired them, it was a positive sign for the Bears to see defensive tackle Henry Melton and wide receiver Earl Bennett back on the grounds at Halas Hall on Tuesday. Both men have been sidelined with concussions since the beginning of the month.
Bennett received his injury during a hit taken during training camp drills back on August 2nd. Although he was not officially removed from competition until the next day. Melton had his bell rung in the preseason opener at Carolina two weeks ago. Not only have both men been kept off the field since sustaining their injuries, they have pretty much been kept in seclusion.
Both players were sent home to recover. Even though both men were present at Tuesday’s practice, they are still doubtful for Friday’s exhibition tilt in Oakland. They did not practice with the team and they are still being evaluated under the NFL’s new guidelines on concussions. Those new guidelines were implemented during the offseason.
The Bears medical staff will continue to monitor their progress, and continue to test them for concussion symptoms until they completely pass the impact testing. Once that is completed they will be cleared to play. Melton is key to the Bears defense and his presence has been sorely missed. His ability to be both a run stopper and a pass rusher is vital to the Bears’ success.
Bennett on the other hand is arguably Jay Cutler’s second favorite receiver. He’s a solid slot receiver and he can get open when opposing defenses are focused on Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Rest assured that both men will be very welcomed when they are cleared to play again.
Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82