Tuesday, December 17, 2013
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Chicago Bears  PlayerWatch

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[December 17, 2013]  (The Sports Xchange)  The Bears left themselves needing to sign their top two quarterbacks after this season by giving Josh McCown a deal for $840,000 instead of $840,001, according to a report by CBSsports.com's Jason La Canfora. The one extra dollar, or else a package that would have given him a bonus per start, would have allowed them to keep the right to extend McCown's contract. Instead, he becomes a free agent after this season. Before this season, few would have cared if they gave McCown that extra money, but his 3-2 record as a starter and a passer rating of 109.8 have all but cinched the likelihood some other teams will be interested in signing him.

CB Charles Tillman is done for the season due to his torn triceps. The team had originally put him on injured reserve with the right to bring him back after the regular season for the playoffs. Tillman would have been eligible to begin practicing this week to return for a playoff run, but his injury did not heal at the rate expected. Zack Bowman, who had two interceptions Sunday, has been starting in Tillman's place since the injury occurred Nov. 10 against Detroit.

LB Lance Briggs will practice this week and his status for Sunday's game will be announced by Trestman at that point. Chances appear favorable for his return from the shoulder fracture that has kept him out since Oct. 20.

RB Matt Forte's season-best 127 rushing yards on 24 carries Sunday marked his third straight 100-yard rushing game. It's the first time in his career he has had three straight 100-yard games, and he has four 100-yard games on the year, which is a career-high.

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DT Jeremiah Ratliff played 44 percent of the snaps for the second straight week and appears to be cementing his spot as a starter and contributor after a comeback from a groin muscle tear. He played more than both DT Stephen Paea and DT Landon Cohen. He had been off the field since last November while with Dallas, before joining the Bears and becoming healthy enough to play three weeks ago.

WR Earl Bennett caught his fourth touchdown pass Sunday, a career single-season high. He seemed a forgotten man coming into the season with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte all chief targets in the passing game. A concussion that knocked him out of preseason set him back further, but he has 30 catches for 231 yards and he has become a bail-out option on third-down or goal-line situations.

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