By Brad Biggs Tribune reporter 10:30 a.m. CDT, April 26, 2011
The Bears arenít in a position to offer defensive tackle Anthony Adams a contract just yet, but they welcomed him into Halas Hall on Tuesday to receive the annual Piccolo Award. Tackle JíMarcus Webb was the rookie recipient.
They were not the only Bears have been in the building. With the lockout lifted by a federal judge Monday night, kicker Robbie Gould, the teamís player representative, and defensive linemen Israel Idonije and Matt Toeaina came and went. NFL clubs are not permitting players to work out at team facilities, which leaves them the option of hanging out or working out elsewhere.
Adams is an unrestricted free agent and has expressed a desire to return to the Bears. The team has also said it would like him back but no contract was done before the NFLís lockout began. The team approached Adams with an offer before the regular season ended. Suffice to say, he and his agent were not prepared to accept the offer.
Adams has been a valuable member of the defense and is the starting nose tackle. Itís possible he will enter the open market to establish a contract value that is more to his liking. The Bears need to replace him and Tommie Harris, who was released in February. Theyíre expected to prioritize the under tackle position in the draft, and re-signing Adams should not be difficult. But a deal hasnít been done yet
By Brad Biggs Tribune reporter 1:28 p.m. CDT, April 26, 2011
J’Marcus Webb took a heartfelt approach to the Brian Piccolo awards ceremony Tuesday at Halas Hall.
When Webb started preparing for the event a week ago, he placed a phone call to Joy Piccolo O’Connell, the wife of the late Chicago Bears running back. Webb wanted to find out more about the man whom the award is named after. His approach led to a touching speech in the auditorium of the team’s headquarters.
“I called Joy and she told me that I was the first Bears player that actually called her before accepting the award and I thought, ‘Wow, I've really got to get this done right.’ So thank you so much. I was up here sweating.”
Webb started 14 games as a rookie, including two postseason contests, and offensive coordinator Mike Martz was effusive in his praise of the seventh-round draft pick from West Texas A&M.
“(He) easily made the most progress of any player I’ve witnessed in my time in the NFL,” Martz said.
The Bears are expected to revamp the offensive line and the first step will be adding a part or two in the three-day draft, which begins Thursday. Then, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team step out in free agency and make another addition. Where Webb stands when that work is settled remains to be seen. There have been subtle rumblings that he could get a chance at left tackle, which was manned for most of last season by Frank Omiyale.
“We have a lot of options with him. He’s a heck of an athlete and he can play a lot of different spots,” coach Lovie Smith said. “We’re excited about this next year figuring out exactly where he is going to play.”
Webb is intrigued about the idea of a position switch but said he didn’t hear a thing from Martz of offensive line coach Mike Tice before the lockout began.
“I wish (playing left tackle) was possible,” Webb said. “They are real secretive. They haven’t necessarily talked to me about it. I would love to be in any position ready to do the job.
“I played four years in college and I feel natural there. It’s the premier position. That’s where players get paid. It’s a big challenge. That’s what I am all about.”
Webb looked sleek and said he’s been working out for two months after taking four or five weeks off following the season. He said his body was shot at the end of the season. He’s been training and Austin, Texas, and is ready to be back at Halas Hall when clearance is given.
“It’s hotter down in Texas so I can get in shape quicker,” Webb said. “I’m running mountains. You’ve seen 'Rocky,' right? I put on 'Eye of the Tiger' and say, ‘Let’s do this.’ I am ready to go now.”