Cutdown day: Bears release Clark, Taylor, Harrison
By Jay Mariotti
Tribune News Services
3:42 PM CDT, September 3, 2011
In the last 10 years, only two undrafted rookie free agents have stuck around to make any kind of impact.
The Chicago Bears look like they will carry five of them on their 53-man roster when final cuts are due at 5 p.m.
The club has not made any formal announcement, but according to a variety of NFL sources, the team is down to 54 players right now. It's unknown if a decision has been made on the final spot, but multiple sources say the front office is considering placing rookie linebacker J.T. Thomas, a sixth-round pick from West Virginia, on injured reserve with a back issue.
The Bears informed three veterans they will be let go. Running back Chester Taylor, tight end Desmond Clark and defensive tackle Marcus Harrison are headed out. Clark was re-signed at the start of training camp. He spent the last eight seasons with the team.
The Bears informed running back Robert Hughes, wide receiver Kris Adams, tight end Andre Smith, guard Ricky Henry, offensive tackle Levi Horn, defensive tackle Jordan Miller, linebacker Patrick Trahan and safety Anthony Walters they will be waived.
Per sources, Hughes, Adams, Smith, Henry, Horn and Miller are candidates to return to the practice squad, which can be formed beginning Sunday.
If Thomas is indeed placed on injured reserve, this means five undrafted rookie free agents stick. It's important to note the Bears could make waiver claims or other transactions as the weekend progresses, so the "final 53" really isn't that. There could still be turnover at the bottom of the roster. But right now, it looks like wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, H-baaack/tight end Kyle Adams, defensive end Mario Addison, linebacker Dom DeCicco and safety Winston Venable will stick for at least the time being. If Thomas isn't moved to injured reserve, another cut must be made.
It also appears that defensive end Nick Reed, who stood out in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, will make it through the cut deadline. The Bears have also made the decision to keep a fullback with Will Ta'ufo'ou apparently in good position to make the team. The team did not carry a tight end on the roster last season.(LOL)
It would have been much easier had the Bears just told Chester Taylor he was free to leave on Monday when he bolted Halas Hall after a meeting with coach Lovie Smith, believing he was being released.
But the Bears had Taylor stick around while they no doubt looked to trade him and also evaluated the health of Marion Barber (calf) and Kahlil Bell (ankle). In the end, Taylor had to go one year after signing a $12.5 million, four-year contract that was heavily front loaded. The Bears informed him he is being released.
Harrison, a third-round draft pick in 2008, showed up for training camp out of shape for the second time in three summers. Harrison was caught in a numbers crunch and would have been the sixth defensive tackle. Considering he was entering the final year of his contract, the Bears couldn't keep a player who wasn't motivated to show up for the season ready to play.