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Bears Notebook: Marquess Wilson nears return; new punt returner?

Marquess Wilson’s return from short-term injured reserve after breaking his collarbone in training camp is all but official.

And, while the Bears might be hungrily searching for any positives, players believe the return of the second-year receiver can be a morale-booster at this point in the season.

“Getting him back is a little bit of a boost for us,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “Morale-wise and in the huddle, he has fun, so it’s fun to have him back.”

Any expectations for Wilson should be tempered, considering the amount time of he’s missed this season and his experience level. Even Cutler said that Wilson appeared “a little bit shaky” in his first practices.

But the Bears felt confident enough in him to release veteran receiver Santonio Holmes, the team’s punt returner and fourth receiver since Week 1, this week.

“We got out of Santonio Holmes what we wanted to get out of Santonio Holmes,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “Marquess Wilson is back and so we needed a roster spot. Santonio Holmes was an upstanding citizen here, he was a joy to be around, he was a model teammate.”

Williams takes over

Chris Williams’ 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Packers looked great, but his decision-making still requires work.

Coach Marc Trestman continues to stress the Bears have rules for when to return kicks that are deep in the endzone.

“Special teams have got to do their part, “ Cutler said. “Offense, we’ve got to do our part, and defensively, of getting good field position and trying to create some short fields for the offense.”

Williams will get those chances. He’s the Bears’ punt returner with Holmes gone.

“Chris has shown that hopefully he can handle it,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said. “I think he can. He did a nice job in the game [in Green Bay]. He had a 14-yard return and also had a fair catch. He just needed to get more catches. He didn’t have enough of them in the preseason. We’ll hopefully get some juice from him and get started.”

The injury report

Right tackle Jordan Mills missed his second consecutive practice with a ribs injury.

“It’s muscular around the rib,” Trestman said. “That’s really where he’s at right now is day to day.”

Receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), tight end Martellus Bennett (ribs) and linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) were limited in practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Cornerback Tim Jennings (knee) had full participation after missing Wednesday.

As for the Minnesota Vikings, running back Jerick McKinnon, who has 446 rushing yards this season, was limited with a back injury.


Twitter: @adamjahns