BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The week-long suspension of tight end Martellus Bennett at least let the Chicago Bears learn how much depth they have at the position. They are stronger at tight end than they were last year.
Bennett was apologetic after the team reinstated him Sunday. He was fined and suspended after he slammed cornerback Kyle Fuller to the ground last week in practice.
"I think I could have handled the situation differently," Bennett said.
Bennett threw down Fuller after the rookie reached for the ball in a non-tackling scrimmage, missed, caught the veteran by the shoulder pad and took him to the ground.
Bennett said afterward he could take a fine because he makes plenty of money, but following his return, he said of the fine and penalty, "You never know what's going to happen nowadays."
Bennett said he must tone down his approach in practice. He was involved in several other practice scrapes since joining the team last season.
"Now I understand how they want me to practice," he said. "I've always been a guy who practiced hard. I understand what they want me from me and just do it the way they want it to be done."
Former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Zach Miller caught six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns, and Dante Rosario added two catches for 28 yards in the preseason opener. Matt Mulligan looked impressive prior to the game as a blocking tight end while displaying more receiving ability than he showed with the New York Jets and New England Patriots in previous stops.
It is likely to be a close battle for the last two of three tight end spots, and Mulligan thinks he can add something as a 280-pound blocker that Miller or Rosario cannot.
"To be honest, in the National Football League ... there's a lot of guys that do a lot of things pretty good, but it's really the guys who do something really great, and a lot of times, that's how they stick around," Mulligan said.
"You see the blocking tight end -- as much as I don't want to say it -- is kind of a dying breed at this point. A lot of teams are spreading it out and are throwing it. So I think if you can really bring something to a team that they don't have and they feel like is a necessity and maybe change things up on teams they don't see on an everyday basis, hopefully I can do that and in my best potential to help the team win."
A year ago, the Bears hoped Fendi Onobun might develop into a tight end, but an inability to make the most simple catches ended that experiment. Chicago released him in June, and he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
Rosario played in 15 games last year but finished with just one catch for 13 yards. However, he didn't get the opportunity to go through training camp with the team in 2013 because he was signed just as the regular season was about to begin. Being in Chicago a year is helping.
"Just the ability to walk into a huddle, hear something and, boom, this is where I'm lining up, this is the route I have, this is the depth, this is the footwork, that's where I've made strides from last year," Rosario said.
Miller made a big impression with his two-TD effort against the Philadelphia Eagles, but blocking remains an issue for him.
"That's always something that I'm going to have to improve on," he said, "so I'll take that and probably cut up tape and see what I can do to improve in that area."