Originally posted on BroncoTalk  |  Last updated 8/7/12

(Image courtesy of Joe Mahoney/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

The Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning will be relieved—or, in Manning’s case, disappointed—to know that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has been ruled out for the team’s preseason opener Thursday evening in Chicago. Urlacher has missed six consecutive training camp practices.

Sidelined with a sore knee, Urlacher has been excused from practices by Chicago for “personal reasons,” according to NFP.  The Bears remain confident that Urlacher will be back in time for the regular season.

Second-year linebacker Dom DeCicco is listed as Urlacher’s backup on the Bear’s depth chart and may start on Thursday.  DeCicco played in sixteen games and recorded twelve tackles during his rookie season in 2011.

Meanwhile, Broncos’ rookie running back Ronnie Hillman, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, practiced on Tuesday and may be able to play on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Cecil Lammey.  Hillman, who was drafted 67th overall by the Broncos in April, is currently listed as the 3rd RB on Denver’s depth chart.

The Broncos will hold practice on Wednesday morning before flying to Chicago for their upcoming preseason game.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evening. Denver has a 4-3 all-time record against the Bears in the preseason.

If Hillman is able to play (and even if he doesn’t), the Broncos’ running back situation will be one to keep a close eye on.  At least three backs (Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball and Jeremiah Johnson) will be competing for one spot behind Willis McGahee and Hillman.


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