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It was interesting to learn Friday that one of the contributing factors to Terrence Metcalf’s benching late last season was a broken hand the guard suffered.

Obviously, Metcalf wasn’t around at rookie minicamp to make this revelation a la Muhsin Muhammad at the fan convention in 2006 when he explained away some late-season drops in 2005 by making it known he’d been playing with a broken hand.

Metcalf, who has 25 career starts, didn’t reference his injury when he was benched but that doesn’t mean he faces any less of an uphill battle this year. The third-round pick from 2002 is at a crossroads with the Bears looking to revamp the line. He’s got to assert himself to claim the starting job at left guard. In the past, he’s been useful to have around as a backup because he’s a veteran who understands the playbook. The team wants to get younger up front and if he can’t pin down the job, there’s no guarantee he sticks as a backup with a salary-cap figure of just more than $1.56 million.