Chicago Sun-Times

Bear tracks: Booker, draft tidbits & extra points

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Tying together the loose ends from another busy offseason day even if the Bears did not sign any free agents Thursday ...

Wide receiver Marty Booker, fresh off a Jamaican vacation, checked in on a conference call. Some highlights:

Q: What are your thoughts on returning to the Bears?

A: It’s good to be back. Plus, No. 1 it’s good to have a job. For a point there I was pretty worried about whether it was going to happen or not. To finally have a job and to be back with the team I started with is awesome.

Q: What do you make of the quarterback situation?

A: I’m not too familiar with Kyle [Orton], I’m pretty familiar with Rex [Grossman]. My understanding, I am thinking it will be an open competition and whoever wins the job is going to have it. No matter who is in there, I will be supportive of whoever, just going out there and trying to make plays. That’s pretty much all I know right now, how it’s going down.

Q: How would you compare yourself to when you left here in 2004:

A: I feel I am still the same guy. I just feel I didn’t get the opportunities I wished when I was in Miami having to take the backseat to being the No. 1 guy and everything. Given opportunities, I know I can still play this game at a high level.

Q: What do you recall about Rex?

A: I know I was the person to catch his first touchdown pass, I know that. We’ve got a little bit of history. I think Rex the time he has been there, I think he has done a real good job there. He is the type of guy who has gotten a lot of backlash about injuries and staying healthy. The whole year they went to the Super Bowl and then a lot of controversy there, but I think Rex is a good player. The time I was there, I really like Rex. Unfortunately, I had to leave, and I thought we would be a good connection. By coming back hopefully we can get that connection rekindled.

Just for fun, we’ve compiled a list of starting quarterbacks Booker has played with.

Henry Burris, Chris Chandler, Rex Grossman, Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, John Beck, Daunte Culpepper, A.J. Feeley, Jay Fiedler, Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon and Sage Rosenfels. Don’t forget, Corey Sauter got on the field for the Bears in the 2002 season finale (in relief of the starter Burris). If you had the name of every quarterback to play anywhere in the league since 1999 in a fish bowl, it would be hard to blindly draw 17 and get a more motley bunch.

*** Agent Joe Linta reported the Bears were one of about 15 teams in attendance for Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco’s pro day Thursday.

The Bears have been tracking Flacco since the middle of his junior season when college scouting director Greg Gabriel saw him play while there to examine former Blue Hens tight end Ben Patrick. Flacco impressed scouts at the combine and the Bears also kept close tabs on him in January at the Senior Bowl. No private workouts have been scheduled at this point, according to Linta, but word last month was the Bears were expected to bring him to Halas Hall this month.

*** The team doesn’t appear to have matching interest in Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson. Maybe they saw all they needed of him when Gabriel visited Lexington last Nov. 18 for the quadruple-overtime thriller with Tennessee.

The Bears did not attend Woodson’s pro day workout at the school Wednesday.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported representatives from 25 NFL teams were on hand. The Louisville Courier-Journal identified the seven not there as the Bears, Atlanta, Buffalo, Tennessee Seattle, Oakland and Washington. A coach who was there for the workout confirmed the Bears were not one of the teams present. Woodson skipped out on the workouts at the combine last month. His stock has been falling but reports were he might have steadied himself.

It will only take one team to like Woodson come the first day of the draft. He’s got good size at 6-4, 229 pounds, and a strong arm. But his slow release has been knocked and he was susceptible to being sacked in school. He wasn’t the only high-profile quarterback to not work out at the combine. Boston College’s Matt Ryan will hold his workout later this month.

*** Now that the fast and loose spending is pretty much wrapped up in free agency, teams are looking for bargain buys. Wide receiver Rashied Davis, a restricted free agent, just might be one of those. The Kansas City Chiefs are believed to be interested in him, and why not, they have only four receivers on their roster—Dwayne Bowe, Jeff Webb, Bobby Sippio and Maurice Price.

Davis would probably be angling for a three- or four-year deal in an offer sheet. The Bears tendered him at the low level of $927,000 and had informal discussions about a potential multi-year contract at the combine.

*** Defensive tackle Antonio Garay has been informed he’s not in the team’s plans. Garay is rehabilitating his fractured right leg suffered in the Washington game Dec. 6. The Bears are on the hook for the rehab until he can pass a physical. The team liked what it saw in rookie Matt Toeaina after signing him off the Bengals’ practice squad following Garay’s injury. Agent Brad Blank said he hopes to have Garay placed elsewhere by spring.

*** Think the Bears can’t recover from losing Pro Bowl special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo in free agency to Baltimore?

Defensive backs Todd Johnson, Dante Wesley and Cameron Worrell all departed following the 2006 season when they combined to account for 51 tackles on special teams and the Bears ranked No. 1 in the league according to the system devised by Dallas Morning News’ writer Rick Gosselin. Without those three, the Bears were tops again this past season.

*** Cool unrelated note of the day ... veteran punter Sean Landeta officially retired, making him the last player to have played in the USFL to call it a career. The USFL kicked off 25 years ago today.

Landeta was an NFL rookie in 1985 with the New York Giants when they came to Soldier Field for a divisional playoff game. Punting from his own end zone with a howling wind, he nearly missed the ball, just barely touching it off the side of his right foot. Shaun Gayle scooped the rolling ball up at the five-yard line and scored the first touchdown in a 21-0 rout on the Bears' way to Super Bowl XX.

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17 Comments

So none of the other teams in NFL wanted Marty they told him he wasn't a number one and so he came to the Bears and begged for a job, got almost no money to play for them and he is there number one guy now. Ummm even the Chiefs would rather have Davis than him. Marty thinks he is a number one and thinks he is as good as he was 6 years ago even though he is now 32 and has had multiple knee surgeries. In all the interviews I have read he basically says this was the only place he could be a number one in all of the NFL and basically says the Bears WR corp is garbage. Nice, he is gonna fit in just fine. Whats he making league min to be a number one. Oh this is the best. He thinks he can get it done but not another team in all the NFL agrees with, except the Bears who have not had a true #1 in forever. Awsome, boy is Marty gonna show them how good he really is. Guy had to beg for a job. That is so sad. Should have taken is millions and retired.

That is just a exclamation point on the F/A crop of WR's this season. Teams were trying to create chicken soup from chicken bleep. Now teams who have a surplus ( i.e.Detroit,Washington)will be sniffing around for draft choices. Bottom line this is going to be the best year for OL & RB jump on it running is going to be at a premium this season more than ever.

The thing I find most interesting in the above article is how Dave Toub was able to keep his special teams tops in the NFL after losing a significant number of his players after 2006. Hester notwithstanding, since he's not in on coverage, maybe its not the players so much as its the coaching.

Lovie take note.

Can I comment that:
Joe Flacco played against DI-AA Teams. That means he played against very undersized secondaries. (its the nature of DI-AA to be smaller athletes)

Thus, a 6'3" reciever looks quite a bit better when against a 5'6" CB.

Its fact. He Played against Villanova(and had 13 points). I dont see how hes worthy of all this hype.

Wait a minute, do you mean to tell me that only a week ago, Marty Booker was headed out of the NFL, because no teams wanted him, and now he's the Bears #1 Receiver?

That's like a Fortune 500 company hiring another company's laid off cubicleguy to be it's CFO.

What the heck are they doing over there at Halas Hall?!?!?!

The saddest part is, as loyal Bears fans, we just have to sit and take it. There's nothing we can do about our mismanaged franchise, except watch it go down in flames. I'm so sick about what's happened to our Beloved Chicago Bears.

Booker was contacted by the Pats about joining them, if I'm not mistaken. They seem to do a decent job identifying talented receivers. I don't expect Booker to come in and turn around the offense, but can we quit acting like having Booker somehow makes our offense worse than it already is. He should at least be a decent possession receiver. Also, Booker never said he was a number one, only that he wanted the opprotunity to compete for a number one job. I think he was just stating the obvious, the Bears don't have a clear cut #1. I think we all new that.

WE all know that Booker's no #1 receiver.
It remains to be seen whether the Bears feel the same way.
As a #3 guy, he'll do well.
But #1? come on.

I just looked at a Suntimes article that said the Pats made an offer to Booker. I don't know what Booker did to you personally Creighton, but you are obsessed with hating Marty Booker. Relax, our offense was going to struggle even if we brought in Randy Moss. The O-line is the major problem, and the one Bears fans should be concerned with most.

The fans of the Bears were so mad to see him leave, and now there mad that he is back.So quick to bash the guy, when he hasnt even suited up for a game.Joe Gallaway made a come back when he went to Tampa,Why cant Marty do the same.I dont expect him to grab a 100 balls this year.I can see him get 40-75 catches this year.
I would rather have him at the #1 WR then to see Hester or Bradly at the #1 spot.
When Hester or Bradly can prove themselfs throughout the season then maybe they can move into the #1 spot later in the season.
As far as Marty being a #1 in the NFL, He probably isnt.But on the Chicago Bears it seems that he is a #1.Doesnt seem like a good situation, but the Cheifs has been getting it done with a group of #2 and #3 WR for years.
The Bears have 2 TE that can make alot of catches.2nd most in the NFL by 2 TE.Colts TE as a pair had a few more catches.
With that being said, It should give the Bears time to develope a WR to be their #1.Realy if you look at it how many teams have a true #1 WR.
But Remember I never played D1-A or H.S. football so what do I know.

Losing Todd Johnson, Worrell, and Wesley was not a big deal.
But losing 3-time Pro Bowler Ayanbadejo? And the assistant ST coach?
Hester's returns might suffer a bit this time.

Marty Booker himself said he got no calls, his agent went to the Pats, they never made him an offer, they looked at him and considered him for there number 4 reciever. #4 not #1, and they did not come to him. His agent came to them. He even says he was on vacation wondering if he would have a job because he got not offers. Those are his words.

Dave what are talking about. At no time did I say I hate Booker and at no time did I say he couldn't be a reciever for the Bears. What I said was he is not a #1 reciever and that he is not as good aas he was 6 years ago. Everything I said was accurate. He is not a #1 reciever period. Heck even in Miami he got knocked down to #2 two years ago, they cut Marty cause he was two slow, thats why they cut him. I don't think he is a bad guy, if he is a #1 on the Bears that tells you how bad the Bears are, that was the point of my post. Not that I hate Marty Booker, nobody in the NFL offered him a number 1 spot and only the Pats showed some any interest in him at all, he called the Bears and even the Bears where not interested at first, then they lost BB and had no choice. Why do think Marty got so little money. If he was in demand as a #1 like BB you would think he would have gotten more than 1/12 of what BB got. Brendon A just got a bigger contract then Marty and he is a Special team player. I hope he has a great year, but I have seen him play in Miami and I know he is a shadow of his former self. It seems to me with guys like you if I don't think everything the bears do is golden that I am hating on the Bears, sorry but I don't think that way, I use my own eyes and my own ears to figure things, I don't wait for Angelo or Lovie to tell me something. Like hey by an Orange jersey you will love it. Or Benson is fine he had minor off season surgery,(he had a metal plate inserted in to his leg to reconnect the bone), or my favorite from Lovie, "BRIAN HAS NO BACK PROBLEMS THAT I HAVE HEARD OF", 2 weeks later "oh you meant the Arthritis, that back problem". You keep buying what there shoveling.

VZA,
I disagree that losing Todd Johnson and Cam Worrell were not big deals. They, along with Chris Harris, were pound for pound arguably the three hardest hitters on the team. Hard to argue with you about Wesley, though. I have never been that impressed with Ayanbadejo as a player. Sure, he did a good job on Special Teams, but had no ability to make contributions elsewhere, or else we would not have been talking about Jamar Williams in the case that Lance left. If he was as good as he said, he would have been making other contributions a la Todd Johnson, or dare I say it, David Tyree. The loss of a ST coach, I again concur, could be disastrous. After all, look at what happened when Lovie lost his def. coordinator. Everybody talks about the offense being so bad, but they were 16th, i believe, in 2006, and 28th in '07, admittedly an awful performance in any regard. However, the defense finished '06 as the fifth best in the league (probably more realistically 3rd, before they laid down on NYE), but in '07 they finished ranked 29th, mostly because of boneheaded play calling. Come on, dropping Tommie Harris into coverage is laughable even when he's playing on two good legs. And still Babich has a job. Sorry, rambling...

Dan - I agree with you on Babich...
this guy...c'mon
he only has a job because of his friendship with Lovie.(period)
how could we go from 1st to last in takeaways? I'll tell you how, the takeaways went with Rivera to SD.
Babich was the source of much anguish for us (fans) last season.
Regardless, Lovie should be able to keep the D on track considering what he did in St. Loius...

Go Bears

I couldn't agree more with Dave and Brando. I think Marty will make an excellent addition. And as was stated many times before, the problem is the O-Line. No quarterback, running back, or receiver is going to perform well with a pourous line. Benson's (and Peterson's) average dropped from 4.1 - 3.4 yards per rush in 2007. Muhammad only had 40 receptions (down 30%). If the Bears kept Muhammad, few would have complained. Personally, I don't think that Marty Booker will struggle to fill those shoes (and I have nothing against Muhammad.)

Yeah, it's easy to sit back and complain that Jerry Angelo isn't "buying" a championship with a spending spree on blue chip players. Just ask Daniel Snyder how that method is working out.

Rather, I applaud Jerry for taking the approach of developing and retaining talent. Whine all you want about the Bears being cheap. I, for one, am glad that he doesn't run the organization based on public opinion.

Hey everybody bashing Booker, lets test that fanhood. He wasnt on his way out of the NFL. In fact the all mighty Patriots wanted to sign him, does anyone remember how disappointed he was about getting traded. Your the same people that dont realize that the Bears had not been to the Super Bowl in oh 20+ year

Ummmmm, Hub the Bears where in the Super Bowl in the 06-07 season, that was less than two years ago and ummm Booker was not on that team. Booker has never been on a Super Bowl team so what is your point. I too like Marty and I did not want to see him traded in 04, but be realistic, this will be his 10th season, his skills have eroded some which is common with all players past age 30, he was never a fast guy but is now even slower, he had more Drops last year than BB and that was on fewer attempts, he does have some injury issues and the Pats looked at him to play a back up role at the number 4 spot. The Bears are looking at him as there number 1 starter. So that is not a good thing. In his 9 seasons in the NFL, he had 2 1000+ seasons and that was 5 years ago. Also he was dropped as a starter last season By Miami. They are not a good team and they dropped him from being a starter. Do you think Marty is going to play like he is 26 years old again. It's not that people don't like him. It's just he is not a number one anymore. If he he is a number 4 on this team it would make more sense. I think people are upset about the whole #1 reciever thing, not the fact that he is back with the team.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on March 7, 2008 12:30 AM.

Booker chose Bears for opportunity was the previous entry in this blog.

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