Bears guard Josh Sitton reports to camp after paternity leave

BOURBONNAIS — Guard Josh Sitton had the best reason to miss the start of Bears training camp: the birth of his first child, a girl.

He said he missed his teammates but not necessarily the work.

‘‘I think training camp’s too long anyway,’’ Sitton, who is entering his 10th season, said after his first practice Wednesday. ‘‘Missing a week, I think I’ll be just fine.’’

One of two Bears to make the Pro Bowl last season, Sitton is relearning an old position — right guard, where he played early in his career with the Packers.

Josh Sitton #71 of the Bears moves to block Nigel Bradham #53 of the Eagles at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagles defeated the Bears 29-14. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

‘‘Football — and I can only really speak for offensive linemen — is a muscle-memory thing,’’ Sitton said. ‘‘When you do something on one side of the ball for so long, your body just gets used to it. It takes awhile to train it.

‘‘Little things. Hand placement — missing by an inch or two. Your footwork — missing by an inch or two. It takes time to build that muscle memory back.’’

And to interpret play calls.

‘‘Seeing the defense from the other side of the ball and getting used to that,’’ he said. ‘‘You get used to hearing a call, and that means a certain thing to you. Then you gotta flip that in your head. It’s not a big deal.’’

The Bears will lean on their offensive line leading up to their season opener Sept. 10 against the Falcons. All five starters return, with Sitton and fellow guard Kyle Long — who has been limited in practice as he recovers from ankle surgery — switching sides.

Last year, the Bears signed Sitton and moved Cody Whitehair to center the week before their opener. In 2015, Long moved from guard to right tackle at the end of the preseason.

‘‘Hopefully we can avoid those situations this year,’’ coach John Fox said.

Cleared for liftoff?

Famous for his online flips, rookie running back Tarik Cohen said he won’t do one on the field without his boss’ permission.

‘‘Coach Fox is going to have to give me the OK,’’ he said.

One way he can get his hands on the ball is on punt returns. Fox will get his first look at Cohen, cornerback Bryce Callahan and others in that role in the preseason opener next Thursday.

‘‘That’s why we drafted him,’’ Fox said. ‘‘We’re going to let him compete.’’

This and that

Safety Harold Jones-Quartey rolled his ankle during seven-on-seven drills and was carted off the field. Fox said he didn’t know the extent of the damage, but ‘‘it doesn’t look to be too serious.’’

• Cornerback Prince Amukamara missed practice because his wife had appendicitis, Fox said.

• Running back Jeremy Langford (ankle) and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) remained out, but guard Eric Kush (hamstring) returned.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.



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