Bears tight end Zach Miller is eager to get to New England. Practicing against the Patriots for a few days will help him get back into football shape after missing nearly two weeks because of a concussion.
“I’ve been doing stuff off the field, but you can’t replicate football shape,” Miller said. “We’ll ease into it. As we move forward and I start feeling better with all that stuff, I’m sure we’ll just increase it each day.”
Miller practiced in limited fashion at Halas Hall on Saturday. It was his first time on the practice field since July 31 in Bourbonnais. He’ll practice on Sunday before the team departs for New England.
“[We’ll] see how he feels and reacts to that, and we’ll evaluate it,” coach John Fox said.
Miller suffered his concussion during the Bears’ second practice in full pads at Olivet Nazarene University. He said it occurred when he was hit by outside linebacker Lamarr Houston in the backfield during a play at the goal line.
On Aug. 1, coach John Fox announced that Miller was out with concussion after experiencing delayed symptoms.
“I was trying to just get through it, and maybe, it would clear up,” Miller said. “But it didn’t.”
The Bears’ depth at tight end is a concern, making Miller one of the team’s most important players. Miller, though, has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He broke out with 34 catches for 439 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games last season. But he still played through a broken rib.
“It’s never fun standing on the sideline and watching,” said Miller, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason. “Or, sitting inside and watching. So it’s hard to do that but I’m happy to be back out here now.”
A bad run of major injuries — a dislocated shoulder, tears in his Achilles tendon and calf muscle, a concussion and a Lisfranc injury — had derailed his career in previous seasons.
Before last year, Miller hadn’t appeared in a regular-season game since 2011 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even though a concussion is on Miller’s list of past ailments, the 31-year-old said he doesn’t consider himself as having issues with head injuries.
In and out
Tight end Greg Scruggs (bruised lung) and rookie outside linebacker Roy Robertson-Harris (illness) returned to practice.
Running back Ka’Deem Carey (concussion), running back/special teamer Senorise Perry (hamstring), defensive end Cornelius Washington (ankle, knee) and DeAndre Houston-Carson (neck/concussion) did not participate.
Rookies linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (hamstring) and tight end Ben Brauncker (ankle) also remain out.
The Bears signed veteran offensive linemen Shelley Smith and Khalid Holmes. Offensive linemen Dan Buchholz and Donovan Williams were released.
“We’re always looking to get better,” Fox said. “We’ll see how that pans out. Obviously, they’re a little behind as far as knowledge of our systems. But our coaches will work with them.”