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Bears Inside Linebacker Issue Vexing

Danny Trevathan has been eligible to come off injured reserve but hasn't yet, and the Bears have a week after this one yet to activate him.

Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan remains conspicuous by his absence. 

It's not an absence from the practice field. He's out there now. It's his absence from the 53-man roster because he's eligible to return. 

The Bears have a week after this one left on the window to activate Trevathan from injured reserve, but to date they seem entirely pleased with the play of Alec Ogletree, who had a key fourth-down pass defense in the end zone last week in the 24-14 win over Detroit.

"We continue to evaluate that," Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai said. "We started his clock because we felt that he was healthy enough to come back and start practicing with us. 

"That's what you need to do when a guy comes off that, and now we evaluate that every day."

The question really is whether Trevathan is even considered the starter anymore.

"I think I answered that last week," said defensive coordinator Sean Desai on Thursday a bit testy at the question. "Those decisions are made on a game-to-game basis on performance and where we think our defense best fits, because you guys see we've got a lot of players playing on defense, so what does starting mean? You play the first snap and you’re out the second? 

"Those kind of things will be decided on a game-to-game basis."

If he isn't the starter, the Bears could do just about anything with him from play him to trade him or cut him. Cutting him would barely bring them any cap savings, $482,353 according to Spotrac.com. Trading him before the deadline at the end of this month would allow them to save on his guaranteed salary, but it's difficult to get a team to take a veteran in a deal because they'd have to pay that same guaranteed salary, or about $3 million Trevathan's case.

There is no positive report coming from the team on Trevathan, no negative report either.

"He's out there practicing with us," Desai said. "That's nice. In terms of the logistics of getting him back up, that's beyond my scope."

Trevathan had a knee injury the Bears were watching at camp, and after the last preseason game he went on IR. In the meantime, Ogletree flourished in inside linebacker his spot.

"I think he's done outstanding," Desai said of Ogletree. "He shows why he's been a successful player in this league. He's a leader. He's got a lot of veteran savvy-ness. He understands the defense. 

"He's a starting-caliber player."

Ogletree made a key fourth down pass defense in the end zone against Detroit last week. Pass defense has always been a strength of his and the Bears made use of it after they signed him as a street free agent in preseason. 

Ogletree is second on the team in tackles with 24, trailing only Roquan Smith (40). He's had two pass defenses and a tackle for loss.

"You've got 32 teams and for us to be one of the few guys to make the team you have to enjoy the process and enjoy the opportunity you have and then capitalize on that opportunity," Ogletree said. "Because you never know when your last down will be or even if you will get in. 

"So if you're in, you have to enjoy it while you're in it. And just have fun with it and appreciate the opportunity to strap it up and play along with your brothers."  

With Trevathan at least practicing it could make for an uncomfortable situation since someone else is in his place.

"I mean, Danny has been the same guy since I got here," Ogletree said. "He's always been engaged and trying to help and doing whatever it is. 

"I mean it's not my decision on who plays and who doesn't. But what I do know is that when you go out there on the field, you have to produce. And if you’re not producing while you’re out there, there’s no need for you to be out there. Like I say, I appreciate the opportunity to be out there and doing my part and he feels the same way as far as I know."

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