Adding a safety just became a bigger priority for the Chicago Bears.
The team announced Thursday that safety Chris Conte will be sidelined for 4-5 months after undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury that has bothered him since the 2012 season.
"I know I'm going to have to compete for my position on this team," Conte said, via the Bears' official website. "I am prepared to do that and felt having this surgery was the best way to be 100 percent healthy and be the best player I can possibly be."
The recovery timetable leaves Conte's status in doubt for the beginning of training camp in late July.
It's a costly injury for a player who recorded 95 tackles in 16 starts but was too often beaten for big plays. Conte, 25, is now in danger of losing his starting job to Packers castoff M.D. Jennings or an early-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft next month.