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Bears notebook: Robert Quinn takes first step back

The outside linebacker, who did not play in the season opener against the Lions because of an ankle injury, returned to practice — on a limited basis — Wednesday.

Dallas Cowboys v Chicago Bears
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn (58, chasing Mitch Trubisky last season) missed the Bears’ season opener against the Lions with an ankle injury.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Outside linebacker Robert Quinn took the first step toward making his Bears debut when he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Quinn missed the season opener against the Lions with an ankle injury. He was limited or inactive in team drills for much of training camp as part of a “ramp-up” after dealing with a personal issue. Now it’s just a matter of being healthy.

“[He’s] a really good football player that we can’t wait to get back,” outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. “I don’t believe conditioning will be an issue.”

With Quinn out, the Bears’ pass rush was generally ineffective against the Lions. Akiem Hicks had the only sack, though the Bears had five quarterback hits.

The Bears had no injuries in the Lions game — a particularly noteworthy event considering the Lions lost starting cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman to hamstring injuries, which helped fuel the Bears’ fourth-quarter rally.

Khalil Mack was limited with a knee injury. He was the only other player limited by injury. Tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Ted Ginn were given the day off.

Peanut on Hall ballot

Former Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time.

Tillman is one of 130 players nominated for the 2021 modern-era class. Linebacker Lance Briggs and center Olin Kreutz also were nominated.

Tillman’s Hall of Fame candidacy has picked up steam since he retired in 2015 after his lone season with the Panthers — largely because of an appreciation for the “Peanut Punch” that changed the way defensive players force fumbles.

Tillman had 42 of his 44 forced fumbles, 36 of his 38 interceptions and all eight of his defensive touchdowns in his 12-year career with the Bears (2003-14).

Saubert cut

The Bears cut tight end Eric Saubert to make room for kicker Cairo Santos on their 53-man roster. With Eddy Pineiro on injured reserve and out for at least three games with a groin injury, Santos was 2-for-2 on field goals against the Lions, hitting from 35 and 28 yards.

Saubert, a Hoffman Estates product from Drake, caught two passes for 21 yards last season.

Bears lose Rashad Smith

The Bears lost veteran guard Jamon Brown and impressive undrafted rookie linebacker Rashad Smith from their practice squad when both were added to 53-man rosters. Brown was claimed by the Eagles, Smith by the Cowboys.

The Renaissance Man

With Quinn out, backup outside linebacker James Vaughters played 35 snaps against the Lions and made a key play in the fourth quarter, when he stopped Kerryon Johnson for a two-yard loss that led to a Lions punt.

“James is one of those renaissance guys who does a lot of things really well,” Monachino said. “He prepares as well as anybody in our building. He’s always a little bit ahead of it because he prepares so well.”