Backup fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo is practicing, playing in preseason games and preparing. But he will serve a league four-game suspension for a substance-abuse violation.
Backup fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo is practicing, playing in preseason games and preparing.
Preparing for that first month of the Chicago Bears’ 2007 season which will go on without him. He will serve a league four-game suspension for a substance-abuse violation.
That means the 7 p.m. Thursday home game against Cleveland will be his final chance to wear a Bears uniform until October.
“You have a certain idea of how things are going to go,” he said. “The difficult thing to prepare for is mentally, as far as how the preseason goes because they know I’ll miss four weeks. The best-case scenario is I’ll be here after four weeks.
“It’s kind of hard to figure out what the mental approach is. I try to block it out as much as I can and play every game like it’s my last — and, hopefully, it’s not.”
Ayanbadejo, signed in June after Arizona waived him, said feedback from the organization “has been good.”
“There’s nothing that’s alerted me to things that might be negative,” he said. “I think the preseason is what it is supposed to be — a feeling-out process to some extent when you’re a new player with a new team. You just want to improve week to week, eliminate the mistakes and get yourself feeling good to play games.”
Through it all, he’s never doubted his ability on the field and to get through this ordeal off the field.
“For me, I’m not going to be able to play a game for a while,” he said. “I know I can play and know what I can do. I know what I’m capable of as a player. Is it safe or fair to say I’ve shown that in every preseason game? I think I have at times. Those guys on the other side of the ball are getting paid, too.
“You want to keep mental mistakes to a minimum, and when you get an opportunity, you want to take advantage of it.”
Cornerback Nathan Vasher also has a Lamborghini, as does linebacker Lance Briggs. Does Vasher find other drivers want to see what he — or more precisely his car — can do on the highway?
“Because it’s a high-performance sports car, they want to pull up next to you and sometimes do that,” he said. “I don’t really get into that. I just try to get from Point A to Point B, and that’s it.”
Return man/receiver Devin Hester returned to practice Monday without limitations. He came out of Saturday’s game against San Francisco in the first half with a bruised shoulder.
“It’s not even a bruise ... It was a bruise, but I don’t feel anything right now,” he said. “So I’m 100 percent.”
Seen sitting out Monday’s practice were corner Charles Tillman, defensive lineman Israel Idonije, safety Kevin Payne and wideout Rashied Davis.
“We had a scare when you see one of your best players go down,” head coach Lovie Smith said of Hester. “At the time we didn’t think it was anything serious, and seeing him on the football field is confirming that.”
The Bears waived eight players Monday — wideouts Timon Marshall and Clinton Solomon, LB Leon Joe, guard Tyler McMeans, punter Joel Stelly, safety Jay Staggs, DT Justin Frick and kicker Nick Novak. They also waived/injured receiver Brandon Rideau, and said running back Jermaine Allen will be carried on the practice squad.
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Reach him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.