The Chicago Bears will start Stephen Paea at nose tackle in the team's season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday afternoon, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The second-year player missed a significant amount of time during training camp with an ankle injury.
It has generally been expected that Matt Toeaina would start on Sunday for the Bears while Paea further recovers from his sprained left ankle, but the Oregon State product has been making consistent progress over the past few weeks, practicing with the team of late.
Paea, 24, is considered one of the key up-and-coming pieces on a defensive unit that primarily consists of aging veterans. Last season, he recorded 14 tackles and two sacks over 11 games with Chicago during his rookie season.