Wednesday's OTA revealed that defensive tackle Tommie Harris remained where he was when the media was last allowed in to watch veteran players work--on the sideline. Harris finished up the final day of the three-day minicamp in March observing and that is where he was again with the action going on around him. It's probably a preventative measure with Harris' balky left knee. It's only going to take so much grinding and what good is grinding in May? Maybe only a little better than grinding in March, and that's not saying much.
Fellow tackle Marcus Harrison, who had an ACL injury before his final season at Arkansas, was also sidelined with a brace on his knee. No word on when those guys will return to action, and if the Bears had deep concern they'd probably have already ventured into free agency to see what is available.
But the competition that's been waiting at strong-side linebacker will continue to wait until Hunter Hillenmeyer returns. The veteran, who was excused from minicamp two months ago because of injury and to attend the NFLPA annual meeting, is still out. He is recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia. It's unknown when he will get back on the field. If the Bears sign Pisa Tinoisamoa, it might be too late. The free agent visited practice and would be considered the immediate frontrunner at the position if the Bears reel him in. In that situation, Hillenmeyer could be forced to make the roster as a backup middle linebacker and special teams contributor. He's never been outstanding on special teams.
The Hillenmeyer development makes it evident he was dealing with more than minor hand surgery last season when he lost his starting job to Nick Roach midway through the year. He was inactive for the Week 17 finale at Houston but was listed on the injury report that week with an ankle issue.
The most important thing is for Hillenmeyer to be in shape and ready to roll at training camp, which is 10 weeks off. We detailed here how he was much more productive in 2007, a season when he was on the field for nearly 70 percent of the action.