Back from injury, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix ‘so glad to be a part of’ Bears

The safety was hurt on the last play of the final day of the Bears’ mandatory minicamp.

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Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix catches a ball at during the Bears’ minicamp in June.

AP Photos

BOURBONNAIS — A Bears teammate fell to the ground, trying to catch the ball, and rolled up on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s knee from behind. Clinton-Dix fell to the ground in pain.

It was the last play of the final day of the Bears’ mandatory minicamp in June.

‘‘Anytime you go down in OTAs, when it really doesn’t count, it’s a scary moment for you,’’ Clinton-Dix said. ‘‘But if you’re taking your job serious and you’re really working and competing, it happens.’’

Playing on a one-year contract, Clinton-Dix couldn’t be blamed for watching his future salary flash before his eyes. The injury proved innocuous enough, however, costing him only four training-camp practices.

The Bears activated Clinton-Dix (and offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings) off the physically unable-to-perform list Tuesday. An hour later, Clinton-Dix was on the field with his teammates, participating mostly in individual drills during a light practice at Olivet Nazarene University.

Clinton-Dix said he had hoped not to start camp on the PUP list, but he understood the Bears’ caution. It was new territory. In five seasons, Clinton-Dix never has missed a game. He has started 74 consecutive games, dating to midway through his rookie season.

‘‘He had a great [offseason program] with us mentally, running around, physically,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘And then he just had that little deal there at the end. I like where he’s at, and it’s good for him to get out there.’’

Outside linebacker Khalil Mack was happy to see Clinton-Dix, whom he first met when they went through the 2014 NFL Draft process together.

‘‘It’s going to be fun,’’ Mack said. ‘‘I was talking to him today, and, yeah, I’m excited to get him back out there, get him rolling.’’

The Bears need him around. As the only new member of the Bears’ base defense, Clinton-Dix has all preseason to get used to his fellow starters — and vice versa.

He’ll need to be able to communicate with fellow safety Eddie Jackson without saying a word. And while the two have been friends since their college days at Alabama, familiarity off the field isn’t the same as on it.

It might help, however.

‘‘Being back with Eddie, it’s about trust,’’ Clinton-Dix said. ‘‘And I trust him with my daughter. I’m so glad to blend it back with him, but these guys have done everything in their power to make me comfortable here. You know, no big egos. Everybody loves the game of football.’’

The Bears essentially swapped safeties with the rival Packers during the offseason. The Packers gave Adrian Amos a four-year, $36 million deal with $12 million guaranteed; Clinton-Dix got a one-year, $3 million deal from the Bears. Clinton-Dix had perhaps his worst season in 2018, spawning a midseason trade from the Packers to the Redskins.

Clinton-Dix, who called himself ‘‘so motivated,’’ described the season opener against the Packers as just another game. It didn’t sound convincing.

‘‘I always want to get better,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not about competing against Green Bay. It’s about winning here, creating that culture that’s already started from last year and . . . being a part of something special.

‘‘There are only a certain amount of teams in this league that are winning, and once I got that chance to come here and play with the Chicago Bears and coach Nagy and this incredible defense, I had to take that offer.

‘‘[There’s] something special going on here. And, man, I’m so glad to be a part of it.’’

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