BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Defensive tackle Henry Melton missed the majority of the team portions at the first practice of training camp Thursday “getting over a little sickness,” he said, but expects to participate fully Saturday when the Chicago Bears return to practice field.
Asked whether he was suffering from the flu or food poisoning, Melton said, “a little bit of both.”
Signed to the franchise tender worth $8.45 million in 2013, Melton participated during every session of individual drills with the defensive line, but stood on the sidelines when the group started full team work, as backup Nate Collins took his place in the lineup.
Melton joined teammates near the end of practice for a series of plays during the final full team segment of practice.
“I was just trying to get over a little sickness,” Melton said. “They were just taking care of me today.”
The Bears practiced for 2 ½ hours Thursday without pads, with Melton spending the majority of the session standing around, taking few repetitions.
A fifth-year veteran coming off his first Pro Bowl season, Melton ranked No. 3 among defensive tackles in the NFL with six sacks, and also contributed 33 tackles, two forced fumbles and five stops for lost yardage. Melton’s 13 sacks since 2011 rank No. 2 among defensive tackles over that time span (Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins is No. 1 with 20 sacks).
“It’s exciting (to be back at camp),” Melton said. “It’s good to be back out here with all the teammates and fans. I’m just excited for the season. You can’t help but feel different. Of course, the practices are completely different from what we’ve been doing. We’ve still got a lot of the same guys, a lot of the same chemistry. We’ll be alright.”