Prince Amukamara excited to make his real Bears debut

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Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara (AP)

The tackle had been made and the play was nearly over when Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

That’s how Amukamara was injured on the second play from scrimmage in the Bears’ third preseason game against the Titans.

The force of linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and safety Quintin Demps’ tackle of receiver Taywan Taylor propelled all three of them into Amukamara, whose right ankle was trapped, then bent.

Four weeks later, Amukamara — who signed a one-year, $7 million contract in the offseason — is ready to make his Bears debut Sunday against the Steelers at Soldier Field. For the first time since his injury, he participated fully in practice Thursday.

Does he feel fully ready to play?

‘‘I feel like I have no choice,’’ Amukamara said. ‘‘Even if I can’t, you just have to will it. But I think I can [play], for sure.’’

It’s unclear what Amukamara’s role will be against the Steelers. He wasn’t exactly missed against the Falcons or Buccaneers because cornerback Kyle Fuller played well in his place.

Fuller, the Bears’ first-round pick in 2014, seemingly has won over defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, making what looked like a thin position a possible strength.

But Amukamara’s availability will give Fangio more options against Steelers receivers Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster.

‘‘Kyle’s done well the first two games,’’ Fangio said. ‘‘I like where he’s at; I like the direction he’s heading in. I think he’s playing better than he played in [2015]. Has he been perfect? No. But I like where’s at.

‘‘We’ll see how it shakes down with him and Prince and how that works this week based upon on how Prince does throughout the week.’’

In other words, it might take Amukamara time to re-establish himself in Fangio’s defense. The strong training camp he had is a distant memory.

‘‘If I’m just out there playing, I feel like everything is going to take care of itself,’’ Amukamara said.

The Bears need Amukamara. He knows that. So staying on the field means everything. He knows that, too.

Since being drafted in the first round by the Giants in 2011, he has appeared in all 16 games only once in his career because of injuries.

‘‘I’m excited for this week to be my debut,’’ Amukamara said. ‘‘It’s been definitely frustrating, especially with my career so far and not being able to play all 16 [games]. But I can’t really worry about that. I have to worry about the 14 [games] ahead of me and do the best I can to help this team out.’’

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns.



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