Bowman thankful for added opportunities

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- One noticeable tweak on the Chicago Bears' defense lately has been the slight increase in playing time for cornerback Zack Bowman, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season.

The Bears have successfully incorporated Bowman into the gameplan the past few months by using the 6-1 defender in certain packages when taller receivers are on the field. While it's a far cry from 2009 when Bowman started 12 games and led the Bears with a career-best six interceptions, the defensive back is grateful for the opportunity to once again contribute on defense after losing his starting job in early 2010 to Tim Jennings.

"The coaches have pulled me aside and told me that, 'You're going to get some plays here and there,'" Bowman said Wednesday. "[Bears defensive backs coach Jon] Hoke said it was more of a reward for working hard in practice and keeping a positive attitude. That's what I do. I come in, I work hard, and in a game situation if they need me to go in and play, I'm ready to play."

There is a chance Bowman could see an increased role when the Bears travel to Lambeau Field on Sunday night, after he replaced Jennings at cornerback in the second half of the loss to Seattle. Coincidentally, it was against the Packers last year in Week 3 that Bowman got benched in favor of Jennings.

Bowman was asked if any hard feelings remain over the coaches decision to pull the plus so quickly and move forward with Jennings, even though the Bears' 2008 fifth-round draft choice was coming off a career year.

"It is what it is," Bowman said. "You just learn from it and move on. I don't think about, I don't worry about it, I just move on from the past.'

"It's a business. I wasn't producing good enough at the time and Tim came in and did a fabulous job. So we just went from there. I just got to sit back and wait, and be ready, so when it's my turn to go in there and play, [I'm ready] to go in there and play."