Bears' Hester eyes clock as HOF tilt vs. Rams approaches

In Devin Hester's mind, there's a ticking clock on the Chicago Bears' chances of playing in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 7 against the St. Louis Rams.

The Bears are scheduled report to training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., on July 23, a week earlier than most to prepare for the preseason showdown, but all of that is up in the air thanks to the NFL lockout.

"If we play Friday and the lockout ends Tuesday, it's going to take a day and half for us to get to the dorm room and settle in," Hester said. "That's an extra day and a half. If we get at least a week and a half to prepare, I think that (would be enough time)."

The Hall of Fame Game is actually scheduled for a Sunday, but either way, his point was clear -- the Bears need time to prepare.

Bears safety Chris Harriswondered out loud to the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday what the point would be of playing the game if training camps don't start on time.

"No one wants to play four exhibition games, but that's what we do," Harris said. "I'm cool with playing game if we get training camp started on time. But anything past (July 22), then I'm not cool with it."

With the lockout wiping out organized team activities, Hester and the offensive skill players have been working out three times a week with quarterback Jay Cutler acting as the de-facto coach. He said that "helped a lot" as the Bears try to build on last year's run to the NFC title game, but the offense remains a huge question mark entering the second season with Mike Martz as coordinator.

There are issues on the line and at wide receiver, and time with the coaches certainly wouldn't hurt. Whether they'll get that soon remains to be seen.

For all the signs that a deal could be close, Hester has his doubts.

"You're hearing two sides to the story," he said. "You don't know the truth. You've got your team advisers telling you that the lockout, whatever they're saying, is negative. And then you hear the TV saying that they just met, it seems like something's getting done. You're head's just spinning. You don't know what to do. I try not to get involved. I'm going to get ready so when the time comes and I get the phone call, I'm ready."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.