Tommie Harris not one of Bears' best 45 players?

The Chicago Bears have an interesting situation developing with Tommie Harris and it’s impossible to tell what direction it will head.

Harris was de-activated for Monday night’s victory over the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field, benched by coach Lovie Smith. Harris isn’t injured and wasn’t on the injury report last week. Team officials announced it was a “coach’s decision” and Smith reiterated that after the game, saying the move was made to get the team’s best 45 players in uniform for the game.

It wasn’t a stunning development considering Smith has sent Harris to timeout before. Months after receiving a $39 million contract extension in June 2008, Harris was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Harris was blowing off rehab sessions for his knee and treating the team’s training staff poorly.

Last season, Smith benched Harris for one week, holding him out of the Cincinnati game. Two weeks later, Harris missed nearly an entire game when he was ejected for punching Arizona’s Deuce Lutui.

“We have everybody healthy right now,” Smith said. “Just felt like we wanted to get a look at Marcus Harrison, him and (Henry) Melton inside a little bit, just performance based. Tommie’s been doing everything we asked him to do. (Wide receiver) Devin Aromashodu didn’t dress tonight. We have good players on the sideline right now, one-game situations. We’ll go practice next week and see who gives us the best chance at winning.”

The Bears would be far better off right now if Smith had revealed that Harris was held out for disciplinary reasons. If they believe the three-time Pro Bowl performer is not among their best linemen, and can’t help them on Sunday, then that is a far bigger problem than having a player who acts out.

Harris didn’t have surgery this past offseason for the first time in five years. He was supposed to be healthier, and he hasn’t missed practice time. But he’s not the same players. Warren Sapp trashed Harris in comments to “The Mully & Hanley Show” on WSCR-670 AM and called him a “blind dog in a meat house.” Seems like Smith might have a similar evaluation right now and that’s not good for the Bears.

Harris declined to answer questions after the game, saying he would talk on Wednesday. Asked if he was disappointed, he said, “Not at all. We won.”

Rest assured, Harris is plenty disappointed. Who knows? Maybe he’s hacked off enough to ask for some action before the Oct. 19 trading deadline.

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