BOURBONNAIS --- The best-case scenario for the Bears involves Tommie Harris shedding his injury-prone label, which is exactly what both the former Pro Bowl defensive tackle and coach Lovie Smith expect him to do this season.
"Like I said, all our players are ready to go," Smith said as players began reporting for training camp at Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday. "When I say ready to go, I mean practicing every day. We'll adjust guys as practices go along. Tommie went through every offseason workout. He's healthy. We're not talking about his injuries anymore. It's all in the past."
A team that may be under a make-the-playoffs-or-else mandate better hope so, because the ability of free-agent prize Julius Peppers to draw double teams should help players like Harris rise to their former glory while improving an overall defense that relies on rushing the passer.
Harris, who in the past has routinely sat out training camp and regular-season practices to rest his ailing knee, among other injuries, said he is physically able to be a full-time practice player.
"I'm more than able to go through every practice," Harris said. "I was able last year. But I do what the doctors tell me to do, I do what coach Smith tells me to do and what they feel is best for this team. I have gotten up in age since I've been playing. If they say I need to sit I'll sit. I don't think the Super Bowl is won during training camp. I will be ready for the season."
Harris freely admits he's not a fan of training camp. If Smith or the team's medical staff do recommend he sit out a practice or two, he said he won't fight it.
"If they tell me I need to sit I can understand that," Harris said. "As I'm getting older now I can understand when a vet needs to sit out."