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Bears’ Jeremy Langford ready to play: ‘You can’t simulate football’

Bears running back Jeremy Langford is coming off an ankle injury. (AP)

It has been about a year — dating to the high right ankle sprain he suffered in the third game last season — since running back Jeremy Langford felt right.

So when he talked Thursday about getting back into shape, he had a smile.

“I can run as much as I want to and do all that stuff,” he said, “but it’s different when you get back on the field, actually. Playing football again will be fun.”

Langford, who said he was as busy at practice Thursday as he has been all preseason, could get his first game action Sunday against the Titans. Coaches will be watching.

Although Ka’Deem Carey’s wrist surgery Tuesday took some pressure off Langford to make the roster, he’s no better than third on the depth chart, behind Pro Bowl player Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen. Benny Cunningham, a kick-return specialist who ranks second in Bears rushing yards this preseason, is pushing Langford for a job, too.

That’s a precipitous drop for a player who began last season as the heir apparent to Matt Forte, only to average 3.2 yards per carry and never reclaim his starting job from Howard. He had as many carries in the first three games, which he started, as he did the rest of the season.

The good news this year, Langford said, is that his ankle finally feels better. He had surgery at the end of last season but hurt it again during the Bears’ first walk-through of training camp when he tripped over a teammate.

Though the team maintained the two were unrelated, the frustration remained the same.

“I trust [my ankle],” he said. “Now it’s back getting into conditioning and getting into football. You can’t simulate football.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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