BOURBONNAIS — After a much needed day off, the Chicago Bears went back to work Thursday morning at Olivet Nazarene University.

As the competition continues heating up, so does the contact. Offense against defense took center stage, with some tackling among the linemen on both sides, and the skill positions endured light contact.

“Going through the series of live, short yardage situations was great for the guys,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “The offense did great in those situations, and the defense was great during the 7-on-7 drills. The guys handled coming back from a day off really well. Sometimes, when you come back from the extra day of install, you tend to forget a couple details from plays. But overall, a positive days from both groups.”

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Chicago special

So far in his five-year career, the “Philly Special” is the defining moment of tight end Trey Burton’s career. But because he got a Super Bowl ring out of it, he probably doesn’t mind.

However, he’s a Bear and ready to start a new, exciting chapter of his career.

“It’s been great. I’ve had a lot of fun making this transition to a new team,” Burton said after practice. “Coming into the tight end room not knowing either Adam [Shaheen] on Dion [Sims], I’ve been really impressed with how they are on the field and great off the field along with the other guys.”

While Burton isn’t the oldest player on the field, he has an advantage most of the players on the roster don’t — experience and not just from the Philadelphia Eagles’ championship run last season but also from being in meetings with longtime Eagles tight end Brent Celek for the past four years.

Now, he’s bringing that value and leadership to the team.

“Having played in this type of offense before gives me a huge advantage,” Burton said. “It gives me the freedom to not have to study as much. This way, I can help out the other guys who have any questions. I have an open door policy, and the guys know they can come to me with anything.”

Next level

Entering his eighth season, Akiem Hicks quickly wondered where time had gone.

“It’s kind of funny how everything works,” Hicks said. “I was the rookie under Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Sedrick Ellis and all of those other guys who had been in the league for so many years. You turn around seven years later, and suddenly you’ve become that guy, so it’s an interesting dynamic.”

Hicks is coming off his best season during his seven-year tenure, as he racked up 39 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks in 2017, which led the team.

As one of the leaders of the defense, Hicks is aiming to help take the unit to the next level and become one of the best in the league.

“We have to sharpen,” Hicks said. “Even in the places you feel don’t need as much work on, you still sharpen those areas. We were one of the better run-stopping teams in the league, but you continue to work on it while working on other areas that need to be up to par such as interceptions. We want more picks, and it needs to be a focused effort to get those.”

Player of the day

Rookie undrafted running back Ryan Nall took advantage of the light contact practice and decided to showcase his power and agility game.

The Oregon State product took a handoff from 31 yards out and busted through the left side before breaking a tackle and sprinting to the end zone.

Later in the drill, the 232-pound back showed off his power game as he barreled through multiple defensive linemen and two linebackers to reach paydirt for the second time on the day.

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