Brian Iwuh may start for Bears

Updated: October 14, 2010, 4:54 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears perennial Pro Bowler Lance Briggs sat out practice again Thursday, increasing the odds the team will be without the starting linebacker Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field.

Briggs was forced to exit the Bears' 23-6 victory over Carolina after injuring his left ankle.

"Lance Briggs' ankle is a little bit of a concern," Bears coach Lovie Smith said Thursday. "Whenever you don't practice for two straight days, it's a little bit of a concern."

The Bears are preparing Brian Iwuh to start at weakside linebacker in place of Briggs.

"I'm really looking forward to it [the chance to start]," Iwuh said before Thursday's practice. "I think I prepare well, and I'm still learning things. I've been in the system for a little while now, and I've been practicing hard. I'm really looking forward to getting the chance to go out there and play, if it happens."

Known primarily for his work on special teams, Iwuh started three games at linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2006-09. Two of those starts occurred last season when Iwuh accumulated a career high 38 tackles. Cut by the Jaguars in late April, Iwuh was picked up the following month by the Bears, and immediately became a core member of the special teams.

"I'm not Lance, so I'm just going to play within my capabilities," Iwuh said. "I'm not going to do anything that's outside of the defense and not try to be Lance Briggs. He is a Pro Bowler and has done a lot of great things for this team. I just want to try and play inside myself."

Iwuh suffered a knee injury and high ankle sprain early in training camp, but later returned and started in place of Briggs in the preseason finale versus Cleveland. He is currently tied with Rod Wilson for third place in special teams tackles with six.

"He's been a good player right from the summer when he got here," Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "He knows the defense, knows the concepts of the defense really well. When he gets a chance to play defense, he does well. He had a good training camp at weakside linebacker. If he's playing next to me, I definitely trust him."

Cornerback Charles Tillman (calf) returned to the practice field Thursday, while rookie safety Major Wright (hamstring) ran on the side for a second consecutive day.

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.