LAKE FOREST, Ill. (The Sports Xchange) – Forget about John Fox getting caught up in the hype surrounding a game against the team that didn’t want him when last season ended.

The game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday means too much to the Bears in terms of playoff possibilities to worry about personal battles.

“I think somebody asked me about, well, you know, the familiarity and all of that,” Fox said. “When you’ve been doing this for 26 years you kind of run into a lot of people you know. When you’re with your eighth team you end up playing your ex-team a bunch.

“I think everybody has that maybe the first time, whether you’re a player or a coach. I feel for the people who have got to play against family. You know, that’s the ultimate of really knowing somebody. I think that becomes maybe the hardest thing to do. But like I said, a lot of close friends there, a lot of people I have shared some great moments with. But it’s the next team on the schedule.”

Broncos Bears

– Matt Forte’s availability will be a big question this week after two straight missed games. He did not make the trip to St. Louis.

“I still have fluid in my knee and stuff like that,” he said, prior to the game. “But it takes time for that to get out. So I’m just taking it day-by-day really to see where I get from there.”

More on his availability for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field against the Denver Broncos will be updated Wednesday.

Forte said the field at St. Louis was one of the determining factors for whether he would play. It’s a notoriously hard surface at the Edward Jones Dome.

Forte had run on the artificial surface in the Payton Center when the Bears practiced there during poor weather last week.
Playing at Soldier Field this week could make a difference.

“But you can say that Soldier Field’s grass isn’t always the best surface, either,” Forte said. “So I’ve seen guys hurt themselves on their own at Soldier Field. So it’s difficult to say.”

Forte said one of the biggest factors in making a decision when to play is his future. He is a free agent after this season.

“Because you go out there for one game and then ruin the rest of your season and maybe your career, then that’s a big factor,” he said. “There’s a lot of football left to be played. So you don’t want to chance it for one game.”

– LB Shea McClellin didn’t mind admitting it has occurred to him that he might be in a better situation as a player if the Bears hadn’t moved him first to defensive end and then outside linebacker under the coaching regimes of Lovie Smith and Marc Trestman, with direction from former GM Phil Emery.
“For sure,” he said. “I think you always have those thoughts. And definitely with (Brian) Urlacher and Lance (Briggs) here, that would have helped out at a young age just learning from those guys. I think it would have helped out a lot.”

Instead, McClellin came into this season at the end of his rope, and the Bears declined an option for an extra year on his contract. So he has played himself into line for a new deal next year.

“Coming in they wanted me to play defensive end,” he said. “I’m going to do what they want. I can’t really regret it. The coaches told me they wanted me to play D-end. It wasn’t my choice.

“You know what I mean? I was just trying to do the best I could at that position.”

NOTES: Wide receiver Eddie Royal (knee) missed Sunday’s game against the Rams after also missing the San Diego game. His status will be updated later in the week. Marquess Wilson started in his place. … Linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) missed Sunday’s game after missing practice all week. He has been bothered by the injury much of the season and his status will be updated later in the week. … Center Hroniss Grasu (neck) did not play Sunday for the third straight game. Left guard Matt Slauson again played center and the Bears stuck with the same line for the third straight week.

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