(MCT) — CHICAGO — Superstorm Sandy has ravaged the East Coast and claimed the lives of at least 88 people so Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice is just happy his family and friends are safe.
Tice, who was born in Bay Shore, N.Y., felt uneasy after news of the storm broke.
“(Tuesday) night when I went home, I actually had a chance to sit there for an hour and just watch ... and I was shocked,” Tice said. “Especially the Jersey coast and Long Island because I still have relatives there. They’re inland, in the middle of it, but everything’s OK.
“My sister’s in New Jersey and all they had were trees (going down). They didn’t have the water problems because she’s inland. Her husband coaches at Rutgers (defensive line coach Jim Panagos). Fortunately, I haven’t heard of anybody losing a house.”
In the running: Titans running back Chris Johnson still is a feared man. He has the NFL record for most 80-yard runs in a career with four and has 10 touchdown runs of 45 yards or more.
“Chris Johnson is a home run hitter, man,” Bears weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs said. “Any time he gets some daylight he is a threat to score. If he gets to our second level untouched it’s going to be tough to get him.”
The Bears, who own the league’s second-best run defense (77.9 yards per game) have seen Johnson before. He had the second-worst game of his career against them as a rookie in 2008 when he carried 14 times for 8 yards in a 21-14 loss at Soldier Field.
Conte fined: Bears safety Chris Conte was fined $21,000 for contact to the head of a defenseless receiver during Sunday’s 23-22 victory over the Panthers.
Although the replay showed Conte’s action wasn’t intentional, the official flagged him for a personal foul for striking Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.
Conte said he’s in the process of appealing the fine, which amounts to nearly 77 percent of his $27,353 weekly game check.
After the game, he expressed his displeasure with the call.
“It wasn’t a penalty,” Conte said. I didn’t do anything. He’s diving into me. I don’t know what you want me to do.”
The Panthers scored on the drive when kicker Justin Medlock nailed a 22-yard field goal.
Injury update: Briggs showed up on the injury report Thursday with a toe injury. He was limited in practice. Fellow defensive players Brian Urlacher (knee) and Julius Peppers (foot) were held out of practice as part of a normal routine.
Urlacher was asked about the health of his knee.
“Yeah, I’m there, as 100 percent as I’m going to get,” he said. “Especially seven games in, I don’t think anyone’s 100 percent in this league but close as I’m going to get.”
Reserve offensive lineman Jonathan Scott (groin) was held out of practice while tight end Matt Spaeth (ankle) was full-go after being limited Wednesday.
In Tennessee, starting offensive linemen David Stewart (knee) and Leroy Harris (knee) remained sidelined.
Chicago Tribune reporter Brad Biggs contributed to this report.