Bears-Browns preview: Can Santonio Holmes still play and contribute?

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When the Bears brought in veteran wide receiver and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, they wanted to see what the 30-year-old still had left in the tank. Through one preseason game, Holmes hasn’t had much time to display what he can do, at least not in game situations.

Holmes will have that opportunity Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns in the preseason finale. For the sake of the offense, both the Bears and their fan base are hoping Holmes can at least fill that third receiver role until Marquess Wilson returns from his broken clavicle.

Marc Trestman hinted that Holmes may get an opportunity to return kicks against the Browns, and although the Bears sorely need to figure out that position, I can’t see him being the answer to their problems. Holmes’ best shot at making the roster is proving he can contribute as the third receiver on one of the league’s most explosive offenses. That might be difficult to prove in a meaningless preseason game with the team’s rookie third-string quarterback throwing passes to him, though.

Jay Cutler seems to be optimistic about Holmes’ chances of making the roster and contributing.

“He’s done a great job of picking up the offense,” Cutler said. “It’s hard for him to get all the way up to speed with Alshon [Jeffery] and [Brandon Marshall] and some of these guys because we just have so much volume. But … he’s played really high-quality football throughout his career. So it should be an easy ­transition for him.”

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