Tommie Harris 'may be up this week'

Updated: September 29, 2010, 11:35 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith continued to cite performance as the reason defensive tackle Tommie Harris was inactive against the Green Bay Packers on Monday.

"Tommie is always motivated. I have no complaints about how Tommie Harris has done anything this offseason or what he's done on the practice field," Smith said Wednesday. "We just thought, based on performance and where we were at the time, that someone else deserved an opportunity. I don't have any complaints about Tommie. Tommie will go through practice this week and may be up this week."

Harris recorded one tackle and two quarterback hits in the Bears' first two victories of the season.

According to the organization, Harris had an injury-free offseason for the first time in several years. That alleged good health allowed Harris to practice on an almost daily basis, a far cry from the defensive lineman's former limited practice schedule.

How can a healthy player get worse by practicing more?

"That's what we are trying to figure out, all right," Smith said. "But you don't have to figure that all out after three games. We like what Tommie has done. Maybe sometimes taking a week off helps for whatever reason too, but Tommie is still a big part of what we are going to do around here."

A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Harris was benched for a game last season and suspended for one in 2008 because of detrimental conduct. He has also been limited by knee and hamstring injuries over the past four years, although he was not listed on the Bears' injury report leading up to Monday's game.

"Tommie is an asset to this team, and to our line," Bears defensive end Israel Idonije said. "We need him, especially for the run we are going to make. We are just getting warmed up, just getting started, and he's a special piece of that puzzle."

Harris failed to make himself available to the media on Wednesday.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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