Jay Cutler getting his first taste of the Bears new offense.

The Bears have been in the early stages of preparing for the upcoming 2012 season at Halas Hall this week. Organized Team Activities or OTA’s as they are commonly known, are underway in Lake Forest as the Bears bring the veterans, rookies, and players in between to gel together for the upcoming season.

But while the team is learning the new offense, bringing the new players up to speed on defense, and helping the rookies adapt to NFL life, there are some notable absences for the Bears this time around. Brian Urlacher has yet to take the field as he is still recovering from his knee injury he sustained in last season’s finale against Minnesota on New Year’s Day.

According to Urlacher he narrowly avoided surgery after the injury happened. He spent the off season rehabbing, strengthening, and exercising his knee back into shape. Urlacher said that he probably won’t be on the field for this round of OTA’s. He said there is a slim chance he will participate in the OTA’s June 4-7, but he did say that he could see the field during the full-squad mini-camp June 12-14.

But one thing is for sure, Urlacher will be ready for training camp in July. Another Bear that is absent due to injury is Wide Receiver Johnny Knox. It is highly likely that Knox won’t be able to play during the 2012 season, but he has been at Halas Hall rehabbing his injured back. As much as we all love Knox’s big time catches, it’s a miracle that he’s even walking today.

I’m sure we all remember this injury from Week 15 of the 2011 season:

Knox was carried off the field on the stretcher and was brought to an emergency room where he required surgery to stabilize his vertebra. After a couple of weeks in the hospital, and months of rehab, Knox has been working to get his upper body stronger and to get back into football shape.

While this is promising news, I must reiterate that chances are Knox will not play this season. And then there is the most talked about Bears absence from OTA’s in Running Back Matt Forte. He continues to holdout while seeking a long-term contract. Currently the Bears have offered him the $7 million franchise tag which he refuses to sign.

While the Stalemate continues, Kahlil Bell and free-agent signee Michael Bush got the reps at running back with the #1 offense this week. Cornerback D.J. Moore has been excused from practice for personal reasons, and Cornerback Kelvin Hayden also did not practice today.

Despite the notable absences from practice this week, the Bears added a player to the roster. Defensive Tackle Nate Collins was added to the mix, he previously played with Jacksonville and the New York Giants. The Bears now have 90 players which the off season limit for NFL teams.

This Sunday night at 9pm you will be able to hear me on the radio. I’ll be on WVON-AM 1690, I’ll be a featured guest on the show “Stats and Stilettos” talking Chicago sports. You can follow the hosts on Twitter: Faruq Basir: @Ruq77 Thai Eileen: @ThaiEillen You can also follow the show itself: @StatsStilettos

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