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Chicago Bears Training Camp: It's time to put on the pads (Open Thread)

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Jul 26, 2012; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears fans ask for autographs during the opening day of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
Jul 26, 2012; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears fans ask for autographs during the opening day of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

Not to take away from the Olympics, but this is definitely more exciting than handball.

This weekend, they get to put on the pads. Camps everywhere in the NFL are underway, with endless amounts of story-lines across the league. The Bears will practice under the lights tonight starting at 7pm.

For the Chicago Bears, it's full-steam ahead without contract distractions, injury concerns, or coaching drama. Kinda nice, right?

While most eyes will be justifiably focused on the Cutler-Marshall connection and the revamped offense, I'm particularly interested in how rookie DE Shea McLellin will perform off the edge. His skill set should translate over to the NFL pretty easily, and as Israel Idonije learned in 2010, there can be significant success playing opposite of Julius Peppers.

Sophomore OT Gabe Carimi, who basically served a redshirt year after being injured in week 2 against the Saints, will also hopefully step in and turn some heads. Mike Tice has plenty to worry about with the challenging Bears offensive line as is, and I'm sure worrying about Carimi is not on his wish list.

The veterans will be trying to knock off all the rust, and plenty of younger guys will just be trying to earn a roster spot... Lots going on in Bourbonnais over the next couple weeks.

Oh, and then there's that other thing to get ready for that's scheduled for twelve days from now: Preseason Game #1 versus the Denver Broncos.

Enjoy your Saturday night Open Thread, and feel free to drop in practice updates into the comments section.