Bears bench veteran safeties Harris, Meriweather

The Chicago Bears have talked about needing to improve their safety play for weeks and now they’ve done something about it.

Veterans Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather have been sent to the bench. The team will start Major Wright at strong safety and rookie Chris Conte at free safety on Sunday night when they host the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune broke the news.

The Bears have been giving up big plays and Calvin Johnson’s 73-yard touchdown reception and Jahvid Best’s 88-yard touchdown run led to their demise on Monday night at Ford Field in a 24-13 loss to the Detroit Lions. Big plays have popped up every week against the Bears and they are precisely what Lovie Smith’s Tampa Two scheme is designed to stop.

Harris played against the Lions after missing the previous three games with a pulled hamstring. The Bears – coaches included – talked about how much they missed him. Now, after one game back he hits the sideline. Meriweather has been displaying the same kind of undisciplined play that got him run out of New England. Amazingly, the Bears are paying him $3.25 million this season.

“(Crap) happens,” Harris said after practice. “It is what it is. Nothing that happens here surprises me.”

Harris says he believes he’s been playing disciplined football for the most part. Wright has struggled with his opportunities and Conte has just 11 snaps this season.

“I’ll take the brunt of it,” Harris said. “Man, I’m a professional, this is my seventh year. Like I said, nothing that happens really surprises me, this is the third time this has happened to me since I’ve been here, so I’m not really shocked by anything. It is what it is, I’m a professional, you move on. They’re paying me to do a job, so I’m going to come here to work every day with a smile on my face and do my job.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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