Bears report back to work Tuesday, hope to stay healthy

The Bears are going back to work Tuesday at Halas Hall, beginning the first phase of their nine-week offseason program with the hope that there will be fewer distractions this time around.

A year ago, receiver Alshon Jeffery trained in Florida, rather than with his teammates, after receiving the franchise tag. Two years ago, tight end Martellus Bennett, skipped workouts after asking for a raise.

Neither returned until mandatory minicamp in June. And neither stayed with the Bears for long.

The offseason program is technically voluntary, though teams expect their players to attend.

Bears WR Kevin White had surgery in October. (AP)

After finishing last season with 19 players on injured reserve, the Bears will pay particular attention to keeping players healthy.

Guard Kyle Long (ankle surgery) and linebacker Danny Trevathan (torn patellar tendon) are recovering from serious issues.

Receiver Kevin White, who has played only four games in two years, has said he expects to be ready for the offseason program after having surgery in October to fix a spiral fracture in his left leg.

“I’m excited about where [White is] at right now, where his mindset is at right now, and it’ll be exciting to see that moving forward,” general manager Ryan Pace said last month.

New receiver Markus Wheaton and linebacker Pernell McPhee are recovering from shoulder surgery. McPhee said earlier this month he didn’t know if he’d be ready for organized team activities. Leonard Floyd, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, should be recovered after suffering two concussions.

The team has revised aspects of its training regimen  to prevent minor injuries.

Quarterback Mike Glennon and backup Mark Sanchez already have been throwing to their new teammates, including Wheaton and Cam Meredith, at Deerfield High School.

NOTE: Former Bears center Jay Hilgenberg will announce the second-round pick next week alongside Kate Foster. Foster, a Rockford native and former St. Jude Research Hospital patient, has been devoted to athletics even after leukemia forced doctors to amputate her left leg.

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Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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