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Bears LB Danny Trevathan takes first step back after hamstring injury

BOURBONNAIS — Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan isn’t afraid to set the bar too high.

“We want to be the best defense in the league,” Trevathan said Monday after practicing on a limited basis following a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the first 10 days of camp. “There’s no settling. We had a glimpse last year. We ended up being one of the top 10 defenses. Now we’re more hungry. We’ve got guys back that know the defense. So it’s all about getting together, working together — let’s go out here and get this thing done.”

The Bears’ defense was 10th in yards, 11th in yards per play and ninth in points allowed. They have 12 players who started at least four games last year.

“We want to get after teams and make them get off the field,” said Trevathan, a six-year veteran who had 89 tackles, two sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and five tackles for loss in 12 games last season. “No matter what position we’re put in — up against the wall, backed up, whatever — we want to get off the field and make them pay the ultimate price.”

Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan lines up during a game against the Lions in 2017. (Jeff Haynes/AP)

Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan lines up during a game against the Lions in 2017. (Jeff Haynes/AP)

Trevathan’s biggest role could be staying on the field. He missed seven games because of injuries (thumb, knee) in 2016 and three last year (calf). He opened camp in the medical tent after suffering a hamstring injury in workouts just before heading to Bourbonnais.

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“Just training. Working hard. No days off. It just popped,” Trevathan said. “I’m happy it happened as early as it did. Now I’m just working my way in and trying to get back and help this team get better.”

Nick Kwiatkoski has emerged as a potential impact player in Trevathan’s absence. But the Bears are counting on Trevathan, 28, to anchor the middle this season — at least until rookie Roquan Smith grows into that role.

“It’s good to have Danny back because we all know he’s a leader on that defense, and he’s played the game a long time,” coach Matt Nagy said. “When you have a guy that has the experience, the confidence and the playing demeanor he has . . . we always welcome that back.”

As one of the Bears’ surest tacklers and biggest hitters, Trevathan could be challenged by the NFL’s new rules to prohibit lowering-the-helmet hits. He was suspended last year for a dangerous hit on Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

“I understand the rule; I was an example last year,” said Trevathan, who disputed the infraction. “They made it real clear what they want . . . and I’m going to do my part as a player. It’s tough, but I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do. That’s why they pay us the way they do.”

Want your Bears training-camp update without delay? Each day of summer practice, Sun-Times beat writers Patrick FinleyAdam Jahns and Mark Potash will share exclusive insights on the workout and interviews in a livestream conversation at 1 p.m. daily through Aug. 12. Catch their live analysis and ask questions on Twitter using the hashtag “#BearsBeatLive” or send them directly to @suntimes_sports. Also, follow Sun-Times Sports on Periscope to be notified of each live report.