Daily Herald
Harris '100 percent' but getting limited reps
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 8/5/2009 7:33 PM

BOURBONNAIS -- The day before training-camp practices began, Bears coach Lovie Smith addressed the health of defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who has been plagued by bothersome knee injuries the past two seasons. It seemed Harris would be fine.

"Tommie wasn't 100 percent during some of the off-season work. He is now," Smith said a week ago. "Our plan is for Tommie to get right into the mix just like the rest of our players. He's ready to go, and he's healthy right now."

Based on his inactivity in every practice so far, Harris doesn't look healthy. He is rarely on the field in 11-on-11 drills or in individual drills that involve contact. He has taken fewer practice reps than any of the first- and second-team defensive linemen.

"Tommie is working the amount that we would like him to right now," Smith said. "We know what he can do. He's had some injuries in the past. He's getting great individual work. Yeah, we've limited some of his team reps. We've done that at other positions, too. But there are no problems with Tommie. He is just going on the routine that I want him to go on."

Helping each other: After working against the defense for seven days, quarterback Jay Cutler is impressed, but he hopes his performance challenges them, too.

"They're a really sound defense," Cutler said. "I've got a pretty good feel for what is going on, and I'm able to work those guys a little bit and probably show them a few things that they can go back (and watch) on film and look at as well as I do.

" 'Lack' (Brian Urlacher) got me Tuesday (the second time he's picked off Cutler). He's huge running around out there. You just have to be careful with him. But I think both sides working really well together."

Good man down: Second-year cornerback Zack Bowman, who has been the star of training camp while filling in for injured Charles Tillman (back), suffered a hamstring strain during a 7-on-7 drill while covering rookie wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias.

"I don't think it was a real bad pull or anything like that," coach Lovie Smith said. "He should be back in time. We've had hamstring pulls (in training camp) just about every year we've been here, and (sometimes) a lot more, so one isn't all bad."

Bowman had surgery on both knees at Nebraska, and he suffered a season-ending torn biceps last year in his first NFL game.

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer was unable to finish practice because of a sore calf, and tight end Desmond Clark sat out with general soreness. Wednesday's practice was the fifth straight day in full pads.