BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was among a handful of veteran players who didn't participate in the Chicago Bears' first full-pads practice of the summer Saturday night. Coach Lovie Smith, however, said Urlacher's absence was unrelated to the season-ending wrist injury he suffered last year.
"It was just me [holding him out]," Smith said, adding that Urlacher should be ready to practice Sunday.
It's not unusual for veteran players to take selected practices off during training camp. But in Urlacher's case, the decision pushed back the first football-related contact Urlacher was scheduled to have since he suffered the injury. Urlacher recently told the Chicago Tribune that he was anticipating that first hit.
"I still haven't fallen on it," Urlacher said. "I know it's going to happen eventually. But the one thing I know is that it's fully healed. That's all there is to it."
I'm planning a Bears "Camp Confidential" piece for Sunday afternoon, so I'll be brief with observations this evening. A few nuggets from Saturday night's practice:
Just for the fun of it, I again tracked quarterback Jay Cutler's passes during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. If Friday was focused on tight ends, Saturday centered around running backs. Cutler directed nine of his passes at running backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor. For those keeping track, Cutler threw seven times toward receiver Johnny Knox and three times to receiver Devin Hester, by my count.
Forte finished off the best pass play of the night, beating Lance Briggs down the left sideline and cradling a nice touch pass from Cutler about 25 yards downfield.
On the first play of full-pads in 11-on-11, Julius Peppers lined up as the left end over top of tight end Greg Olsen. Peppers pushed past Olsen and confronted Forte in the backfield. As promised, Peppers lined up on both sides of the defensive line at various times.
Rookie safety Major Wright walked off the field carrying safety Craig Steltz's helmet. Wright said he never had a second thought about doing it. "I'm not like that," he said. "I do what they tell me to do."