Chicago Sun-Times

Mike Brown, Ruben Brown: A year older and hoping for work

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One turned 36 on Wednesday and will not be returning to the Bears.

The other reached 30 on the same day, and his future remains very much up in the air.

Both had their 2007 seasons ended by injury. Both still want to play football.

``It was great,’’ the elder Ruben Brown said Thursday afternoon. ``I got a call yesterday from Mike [Brown] and he wished me a happy birthday. It was his birthday too. Man, I hope they bring him back. He’s such good person on and off the field.’’

The Bears are expected to wrap up their organizational meetings today at Halas Hall, and the decisions reached will shape the offseason. General manager Jerry Angelo said last month he couldn’t count on Mike Brown, the safety, for 2008 after he’s missed 43 of the last 64 regular-season games. He didn’t say Mike Brown, who has one year remaining on his contract, was out of his plans.

Their injuries were only part of a series of health issues that marred the Bears’ 2007 season. Mike Brown was lost in the season opener at San Diego when he tore the ACL in his left knee. Ruben Brown was lost after eight games when he succumbed to a right shoulder injury.

``I’m feeling great,’’ Ruben Brown said, now three months removed from surgery. ``I’ve got my own gym out here [in Buffalo] where I work out and I’m pretty much just waiting for something to happen. I’m excited.’’

Free agency opens at 11 p.m. on Feb. 28, and Ruben Brown is headed to the open market, but the action has already started.

Nope, guard Mike Wahle will not be coming to the Bears, who figure to be in the market for a replacement for Ruben Brown. Wahle rejoined forces with Mike Holmgren in Seattle, it was reported Thursday afternoon, and could fill a void the Seahawks have had since Minnesota signed away All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson in 2006. Wahle was originally drafted by Green Bay when Holmgren was still there, and at 30 he wouldn’t help the Bears’ desire to get younger on the line.

Meanwhile, a league source revealed early this evening the Bears had yet to respond to wide receiver Marty Booker, who said Tuesday he is interested in coming back. Interest remains strong in Booker. Minnesota, New England and Tennessee are projected as possible suitors, and perhaps also Dallas. More veterans are joining Booker on the street. Miami is severing ties with seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Zach Thomas. Wide receiver Peerless Price has been dumped in Buffalo for a second time. The Bears figure to be casting off a few players of their own soon.

It’s good business to keep a player until you have a replacement on hand, but teams generally respect veterans not in their plans and release them early as a measure of respect. It’s much easier to job search in late February than it is late May. Defensive tackle Darwin Walker is expected to be let go with a $5.2 million roster bonus due in just more than three weeks. There’s nothing promising right tackle Fred Miller he will return with a $500,000 roster bonus due and base pay of $4 million.

All the while, players the Bears might have had interest in are being scooped up. Running back Justin Fargas re-upped in Oakland and Carolina agreed to terms with right tackle Travelle Wharton.

Brace yourself. Free agency will be in full gear in two weeks and two hours.

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22 Comments

Hate to see it end like this, but Mike Brown needs to go. He either needs to sign a reduced deal, or go elsewhere. He is a passionate, talented player, but he doesn't help when he doesn't play, and 43 out of 64 on the sideline is not a good record. Ruben Brown is a warrior, but we need youth and increased agility on the OL, and he is slowing down a bit too much to play at a Pro Bowl level any more. Alan Faneca is the guy we need. We can draft a young Left tackle in the 1st round, move Tait to the right side, and let Faneca and Kreutz man the inside and help the youngsters on either side of them. Beekman should get a chance to beat out Garza, and before you know it, we have a totally new OL going in to 2008. And lord knows we need it after the season that group put together in 2007.

Agreed. The problem with the bears OL plan is due to roster size they don't like to groom young OL instead singing proven vets that can be plugged in right away. Unless they can draft a OT that can start quickly they probably will look somewhere else. I like Faneca but he is also 30 and how many decent years does he have left? But if we sign him and win the superbowl who cares if he is ineffective the last years of his contract.

I agree with Joe for the most part except Mike Brown. Since he only has 1 year left on his contract, I say let him try to play it out one last time, but have a backup plan in place through the draft in the event another freak accident happens again or if he's just not yet fully recovered. I don't think he's injury-prone. I just believe he was a victim of really bad luck with injuries stemming from an opponent cheap shot and in an unfortunate position of a gang tackle pileup. He is still only 30 years old and in my opinion, the smartest player and the heart & soul of our defense. I'm just not ready to give up on him yet.

Otherwise, the Bears must do what it takes to sign Alan Faneca, one of the best in the game at his position. My belief is that for any offense to work, it all starts down in the trenches, the offensive line. I've said this many times even in the beginning of the season last year, you can put Tom Brady behind our offensive line last season and we still would have gone nowhere. Just take a look at the last Super Bowl, for example.

I also like the idea of getting back Marty Booker. How can it hurt? We will likely lose Berrian anyway and there's really not much else out there. Bryant Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals is also another decent option.

As for Darwin Walker and Fred Miller, both were horrible last year, total busts. Just get rid of them and use the extra money elsewhere on the offensive line and DEFENSE!

Quarterbacks - I am still a Rex Grossman supporter and fan, always have been, but a change of scenery is best for him. Under the right system, he can play in this league for many years. I wish it was here, but most fans and reporters will continue to place him under a microscope of scrutiny. All the negative attention will continue to cause unnecessary distractions to the team. I'm sick of reading and listening to it, so let him play elsewhere. Leave it for Orton and Griese to battle it out. Hey, if Eli Manning can do it surrounded by the right personnel, then Orton or Griese can as well.

Running Back - give Benson another chance with hopefully a better offensive line and we'll see. No doubt, he has to get his act together mentally. However, address another RB in the mid-rounds of the NFL Draft.

Go Bears!!

Keep Mike Brown and hope he stays healthy, dump both Ruben Brown and Fred Miller,and hope some great offensive linemen show up in the draft.

Let Mike Brown stay with the BEARS, and either retire here or let his contract expire while on the roster. They plan to draft a safety and also have young safeties (Payne) on the roster, who better to train and teach them how to play the position than a Pro-Bowler. We should not be counting on Mike to play heavy minutes, especially early in the season. Too many fans want to cast off players who can help the team in ways other than on the field. This off-season we must not only bring in play-makers, but leaders also. Winning in the league is not just about talent, its about understanding the game. Look to the Pats as an example, they have a lot of cast of veterans over there, and look where they ended up.

Beekman should get a chance to beat out Kreutz, not Garza. Kreutz has dropped some effectiveness, botched snaps.

Yeah, I'm a year older too and I'm sick of seeing them get off the bus and NOT run the ball. Fix it Lovie!

All things depend on how the draft actually goes there could be some value in trading down if certain players are of the board when the Bears turn comes up. But O-Line should be tops on the board. In the later rounds you can still find a college tackle who would be better suited playing inside but is a road grader. All the lines in the NFL now are huge we must do the same if we are to get off the bus running. Stay tuned

Please dont let Mike go, He is a game changer, with big play ability. He is the most fun saftey to watch and is always around the ball. He deserves a chance to play again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep Mike Brown - he may be done with his freak injuries. Move Tillman to safety to team with him. McBride played well as the second corner. Vasher will return. That is a good foursome. And there is depth with our Mannings, Graham, Payne and McGowan.

If Brown goes down again, there is D Manning, Payne, MCGowan. All have MORE potential and ability than Chris Harris - who got burnt more than toast and was out of position way too many times. He also took horrible angles on run plays.

I agree with keeping Mike Brown. And those who don't should first figure out who'll replace him. Archuleta STINKS! I'd rather see "Cooper" Manning (Peyton & Eli's older brother) play safety than Adam! I still believe that Rex (with a DECENT running back) can get it done. But not by himself. Drop Griese and get a kid late in the draft to groom for the future. I agree with getting Faneca, but how many times have we targeted a top free agent and seen a half-hearted attempt by Da Bears to get him? Are the Redskins interested in him? I spent 20 years in the USAF, and for several of them, I got up at 0200 just to watch my Bears win and lose! I'd rather watch them lose with a guy who tries (Rex, Mike B.) than win with guys who don't (Cedric, Bernard)!!!

Clear some money let both Bowns go .
Also Miller Walker +Mushin.
Tag Berrian try to sign Booker.
See what the draft brings.

FANECA. we need him. let's get him.

not hearing any talk about Ayanbadejo. couldn't the Bears franchise him and pay him the avg of the top 5 special teams players? that would seem to be a fair deal. we need him to help spring HESTER free.

They ought to sign BRIGGS, the selfish ass he is. now with urlacher on the fritz... we need briggs.

anyone notice that Drew Rosenhaus is KILLING the bears?

I agree with BBB. It all starts with O-line
O-line - O-Line - O-line!!!!!! The best O-lines are the one that can run the ball well when everyone in the stadium knows that
the next 4 calls will be power-O inside the takles!!!! The best lines today and in recent NFL history are made to be HUGE...BIG & MEAN. Forget zone blocking and 290lb lineman (With maybe an acception for centers) We need and across the board line of 335-355lb HOGGS!!! Look at Dalls & Philly for example thay have it figured out and that takes lots of pressure of your passing game when the other teams D-Lineman have but put on the ground for a couple of quarters. As for mike I also feel we cant count on him.....BUT we should not get rid of him. Let him come back for camp and fight for his job (hopefully with a good young prospect.)If he wins and stays healthy than we have a best case senario if not then atleaste we can plug in a youners cheaper player and put mike on the IR and atleaste not take the cap hit for cutting him.

IN NO WAY SHOLUD MIKE BROWN BE LET GO!!!!

Fly
i agree with you
i like to see effort and from some players you just dont see it
I think Mike Brown should be kept its crazy to let him go and keep rex too

Keep mike brown, play him less minutes, he can tutor the young ss(hopefully 1 drafted). get Faneca and draft a tackle, then get the most talented players left on the board. Cut Archuletta, Greise,and Walker. Sign rex but he should have to compete with orton for the job And Same for Benson. We should sign Briggs if Urlacher is not 100%, or any signs pointing to less productivity. Berrian I don't know,But do you think Moose, Bradley, and Hester will scare any Defenses? Lastly I think the coaching staff didn't push this group hard enough from the beginning, it seemed like the treated them like a veteran team easy practices trying to protect them from injury. Competition for jobs and more full pad practices are necessary. It would help the tackling, and they would be more ready from the outset.

Let Berrian go, too many dropped balls. Musin must go too, same problem, plus hes never going to run by anyone. We have big tight ends so we don't need him. I'm torn about MB, but walker, brown, miller and archuleta need to pack as well. I thought I saw #38 get burned, and be out of position, hes a back up, period. Will the Bears actually spend, or will they be content with a patchwork team. Well, lets not hold our breaths.

Face it the entire Bear offense has to be revamped. The only starters as of right now are John Tait, Olin Kreutz, and Desmond Clark (unless Greg Olsen becomes a beast over the summer). There's going to be a lot of competition for spots offensively. I have a feeling the Bears will draft offensively. The defense needs tweaking but the offense total face lift of Joan Rivers' proportion.

KEEP MIKE BROWN FOR EVER DONT U DARE CUT HIM

Like it or not Bears nation but or beloved Bears are in a rebuilding mode on offense especially on the o-line. Alan Faneca would be a great signing but I don't see the Bears giving him the kind of money he wants. That being said I think the Bears are going to get very young at the o-line position, thats good and bad. The bad being they will be a little slow at the start of the season but hopefully with time together they will develope into a good o-line. The good being they will be younger, stronger, and hopefully better. Here's one route the Bears could go on the o-line starting at center Olin Kruetz I still think he has 3-4 more good seasons in him. At guards on the left side Josh Beekman his 320 lb frame will be a good addition yes he is young but what elese can the Bears do, you got to put Beekman in there and see what he's got I think he will be a good one. He fell to the 4th rd but he was a projected 1st day pick who slipped because of his ht at 6-2 and because a lot of the scouts saw him as more of a center prospect. At right guard Roberto Garza, althought Garza does not have the power you would like out of a guard he does get to the second level and seal of the linebackers nicely. At last but not by any means least the tackles starting at right tackle move Tait there only if the rookie the Bears bring in is ready to man the left side but if the rookie is not ready let Tait man the left side for one more season until the rookie is ready. Now the rookie I think the Bears should bring in is Pitts Jeff Otah at 6-6 340 he will be a nice addition to our line. Otah will bring much needed power to the position. Also I like Otah because he played against some of the best d-linemen in the nation and held his own includeing Virginas Chris Long who is a projected top 5 pick Otah held Long to 1 tackle and zero sacks. Yes this will be an inexperienced line but all they can do is play and hopefully develope into something special GO BEARS!

Hadi, I agree about the O-Line upgrades, but it doesn't necessarily mean they need to be in "rebuilding mode." As you suggest, if they plug one or two linemen in, with our seasoned TE's and FB's, they should still fare well in pass protection this season. But we still need a BEAR running back! I agree with open competition at QB. I'm just unsure whether or not Kyle is an upgrade over Rex. I also agree with letting Moose, Greise, Berrian, and Ruben go. With Marty Booker, Perrless Price, and whatever other WR cast-offs on the open market, a vet #2 or #3 should be fairly affordable. Mark Bradley should step-up or step-away, at this point. Hester can stretch the field. The TE's continue the thrive. Again, our problems start and end with a decent running game. And I refuse to blame that entirely on the O-Line. Wolfe seems like an intense kid, but c'mon! How could we not acquire a safety-net for Benson, who had a questionable attitude the year before? Don't get me wrong; AP is a great #2 or third down back! We just need a decent starter!
On D, Babich is a major concern. Sending Rivera away for the sake of promoting a pal to DC is extremely puzzling. Especially after falling short in the Bowl. Hopefully he's spending the offseason figuring out what went wrong. I'm optimistic that Angelo's D-line picks of Dvorecek and Bazuin will shore up that area for us. Briggs is gone, so let's hope one of the young LB's are ready to shine by mini-camp.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 14, 2008 8:40 PM.

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