Bears linebacker John Timu spent the summer in training camp battling for his professional life before ultimately failing to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
Timu, however, was signed to the practice squad the next day and ultimately promoted to the active roster after injuries sidelined Jerrell Freeman and Nick Kwiatkoski.
The uncertain job security is nothing new for Timu, who seemingly has always been on the proverbial roster bubble since entering the NFL with the Bears in 2015 as an undrafted free agent from Washington.
“That’s kind of been the story of my career; up-and-down, you never know and really just anything can happen,” Timu said. “Don’t let the circumstances define what you know you can do and don’t let it affect you. Just keep preparing like you’re going to play and when you get that opportunity, don’t look back.”
Timu’s next opportunity will come Monday night against the Vikings when he is expected to start in place of veteran Danny Trevathan, who will be serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams.
Asked what the chance to join the No. 1 defense means to him, Timu said: “It means I get to be the starter; I don’t look at it as anything else. Just go out there and do my job, execute as well as I can and make sure we’re all on the same page and give ourselves a chance to win this game.”
Since joining the Bears in 2015, Timu has appeared in 20 games with eight starts and recorded 51 tackles and two forced fumbles.
“We’re confident in John,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “John knows our defense. He’s been here for three years. The game’s not too big for him. He loves to play. He is instinctive and smart. So we think he’ll go in there and do fine.”
Health update:After being limited in practice Thursday due to a triceps injury, outside linebacker Willie Young was held out of Friday’s workout.
“It’s kind of a one-day-at-a-time and we’ll see how it does,” said coach John Fox. “Ideally, you’d like to give him the best chance to get to Monday night.”
Also for the Bears, Kwiatkoski (chest) did not practice; and defensive end Akiem Hicks (foot) and center/guard Hroniss Grasu (hand) were limited.
For the Vikings, tackle Rashod Hill (knee) did not practice; and quarterback Sam Bradford (knee), safeties Andrew Sendejo (shoulder/illness) and Jayron Kearse (groin) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (back) were limited.
Same offense: It’s unclear whether Bradford or backup Case Keenum will start at quarterback for the Vikings Monday night, but the uncertainty hasn’t really affected how the Bears have prepared for the game.
“Their offense hasn’t changed at all with Keenum in there,” Fangio said. “They’re running exactly the same offense. Keenum’s done a very nice job running it. They’re in a good spot. They’ve got two good quarterbacks; got a quality backup and obviously Bradford’s good.”
Keenum has started Minnesota’s last three games, completing 61 of 100 passes for 755 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 94.4 passer rating.
Crystal ball: An avid baseball fan, Fangio is predicting that the Cubs will defeat the Washington Nationals in their National League Division Series.
“Well, I saw [Cubs manager] Joe Maddon last weekend, talked to him, got the game plan from him,” Fangio said. “He’s feeling good. I like where the Cubs are at. They’ve got a good team. They’re a bunch of good baseball players. Washington’s got good pitching. If Washington’s pitching doesn’t dominate, I like where the Cubs are headed.”