Until yesterday, the Bears never mentioned the fact that Tommie Harris hadn't practiced since August 21st to the media. He didn't play the final preseason game, but it was said to be precautionary -- like, "we can't possibly risk heading into the season without our defensive line's anchor." Unfortunately, it looks as though the Bears may have to cross that bridge, despite being in a state of denial:
A source said the Bears' medical staff has expressed concern Harris' knee injury might be more serious than the team first thought, but team officials rejected that idea Tuesday night.
We'll know more when the NFL injury reports are released -- they are due to the league today -- but a dark cloud is looming over the team right now. Tommie Harris is a stud, simply put. If you are Lovie Smith, leading a team with so many question marks heading into the season, you'd like to be able to not worry about your pro bowl defensive tackle.
The absence of Harris would put a damper on one of the main avenues to success in the upcoming tilt in Indy. The Colts are missing their pro bowl center, Jeff Saturday. In his place is a dude named Jamey Richard. While the Bears scheme doesn't use a nose tackle, Harris could line up around the A-gap all game and terrorize the middle of the Colts patchwork offensive line. Also, for the first time in his career, Peyton Manning is a bit fragile in the pocket. It would seem that middle pressure by the Bears defense is one of the only sure ways to gain an advantage over a clearly superior Colts team.
Harris missing the game would put an irreparable dent in that plan.