Three prominent Bears were not on the field at Monday’s first OTA at Halas Hall. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is no-showing in his contract staredown with the club, and running back Cedric Benson was also absent. Benson’s initial court date stemming from his Texas arrest earlier this month was scheduled for Monday, but he was not required to appear and attorney Sam Bassett said the next preliminary hearing will be June 30. Benson will not be required to attend then either, Bassett said.
No word on where Benson was. Attendance has never been an issue with him. He’s already missed a few days of the voluntary workout program after a delayed return from Texas following his arrest. If Benson has more than six absences, he will be required to repay the club $100,000, part of his signing bonus that was classified as workout pay.
Defensive tackle Tommie Harris has not been cleared medically to return following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. Harris can do individual drills, but has not been given the go-ahead to participate in team practice. We’ll see what more we can find about this situation on Wednesday when the doors at Halas Hall swing open for media.
Harris, who is seeking a longterm contract extension, played on a bad left knee most of last season after being leg whipped by Dallas’ Marc Colombo in Week 3. He battled hamstring issues also, and then skipped the Pro Bowl after having his knee scoped. He said last month he was fine, but apparently the team is giving him a little more time. Again, we’ll do our best to track down some more information to tie this news together soon.