Conte was required to wear a harness after dislocating his right shoulder during the preseason. He reluctantly played with the harness up until the last week’s game against Carolina, when he decided to ditch it for the entire contest. He'll do the same for Sunday's game at Tennessee.
"It feels good,’’ Conte said of his shoulder. "Certain movement … I can’t throw the football. There are certain things that I can’t do. But I don’t think it’s at the point where if I hit somebody, it’s going to come out. It’s stable where I can play football and do everything that I need to do.’’
Conte became fed up with the protective device prior to a Week 3 matchup versus the Rams, but the medical staff caught him trying to remove it with a screwdriver. Conte took it off for the second half of the Detroit game two weeks ago.
"It was holding me back,’’ he said. "I felt like I was playing with one arm the whole time. "Now I’m a lot freer. I feel like I can run a lot better, use my arms and get into people. I can jam them now. I just don’t think (the harness) was really protecting me.’’
Conte has absorbed his share of shots to the right shoulder, including last week’s hit against Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell that resulted in the fine.
"I don’t feel it,’’ Conte said. "When I’m hitting people, it’s been normal. That’s why I’m not worried about my shoulder.
"I guess it’s kind of on me if something else happens. I guess I’m taking a little bit of a risk with it. But, I think everyone is out there taking risk when they step on the field. … I don’t think it’s an injury where I’m putting myself at a larger risk.’’
Conte has started all seven games and is tied with Lance Briggs for the team lead in tackles at 52.
As for the fine, Conte still can’t believe the league came down so hard. He thought it was a joke.
"I know Robbie (Gould) has done it a few times to guys, where they’ll make up a fake e-mail or something,’’ Conte said. "And then I looked at the website and it wasn’t a joke.’’
Conte is in the process of appealing the fine. The fine amounts to nearly 77 percent of his $27,353 weekly game check.