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Bears’ Kyle Long returns to practice, eyes new deal and teammate

Kyle Long practiced for the Bears on Monday. (AP)

Having successfully recruited another three-time Pro Bowl guard to the Bears offensive line, Kyle Long returned to the practice field Monday for the first time since injuring his shoulder against the Patriots two-and-a-half weeks ago. Next up: a contract extension, reportedly worth $30 million guaranteed.

It’s good to be the Bears’ right guard.

“It’s been weird sitting out,” he said. “But I haven’t had a smile on my face as big as when I went out there and was in practice. Just trying to get as healthy as I can be.

“When I’m ready, I’ll go. But our training staff and our coaches have done a great job not rushing me back into anything.”

Long seems likely to play in Week 1 against the Texans. He could have to monitor his shoulder injury throughout the season, though he wouldn’t say whether it was merely a manner of pain tolerance.

“It’s Monday of Week 1,” he said. “So we’ll see how this goes.”

He could take the field Sunday a much richer man. The NFL Network reported this weekend that Long and the Bears have agreed to a four-year deal worth $40 million, with $30 million guaranteed. GM Ryan Pace wouldn’t confirm the move “out of respect for the process, for the players and the agents.”

Regardless, a deal is likely to be announced soon.

Long tried to plead ignorance — even though his brother Chris, the Patriots defensive end, has already joked with him about his new multi-millionaire status.

“I heard some reports too, but I don’t know anything,” Long said. “I’m just trying to get ready for Houston. That’s up to Ryan and my agent. Who knows.”

The Bears front office was busy Sunday signing a starting left guard.. Long got ahold of Josh Sitton once he was released by the Packers — “He sent me a text pretty quickly,” Sitton said — and continued the recruiting process Sunday at Halas Hall.

“I just wouldn’t let myself get out of the loop on it,” Long said. “I wouldn’t get out of his ear. Getting him here was really big. Credit our guys upstairs for making it happen.”