Chicago Sun-Times

June 2008 Archives

A new face will loom over the Bears’ cuts this summer.

Football operations assistant Jeremy Snyder was the turk for the last four seasons, summoning players who were being let go to bring their playbook and head upstairs.

Snyder has moved on to a promotion with the Philadelphia Eagles where he might not have to be the bearer of bad news to so many. He has joined the Eagles as a pro scout making him the second front office member to depart. Assistant director of pro personnel Morocco Brown departed for a job with another NFC East club already. He’s become the director of pro personnel for the Washington Redskins.

The Sun-Times has learned that three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris has agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension that will keep him in place through 2012.

Check back later for more details.

Five weeks until the Bears report to training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., the team feels good about its running back situation.

Good enough that you can forget about the possibility of the club pursuing any free agents like Shaun Alexander, Kevin Jones, Ron Dayne or anyone else. That’s what coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday after the club wrapped up its offseason program at Halas Hall minus linebacker Brian Urlacher, who was not in attendance.

The Bears have already passed judgment on Cedric Benson, placing the running back on waivers Monday.

Benson's fate in with law enforcement officials in Austin, Texas, remains very much up in the air.

He's dealing with his boating arrest from May 3, when he was charged with drunk boating and resisting arrest, and then he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving Saturday. That led to his release.

Benson's Austin, Texas-based attorney Sam Bassett says he has viewed a tape of the field sobriety tests Benson was given in the crowded downtown party district.

We interrupt this vacation to bring you the latest in the Cedric Benson situation.

Well, maybe not the latest. We’re simpy going to try to tie a bow on this one and be done with it as efficiently as we can.

While it’s been suggested at least in some places that Benson will count $3.5 million vs. the Bears’ salary cap this season, that’s not accurate. Benson will not be owed his base salary of $820,000, and the only thing left on his contract to figure is the $4 million signing bonus he received in 2005 and the $7.1 million option bonus the contract included.

Using those figures he will count $2.575 million against the cap this year and again in 2009. It actually represents a savings for this year and that’s hardly a burdensome figure in terms of dead money for ’09. This is all provided Benson, who was placed on waivers, is not claimed. If he’s claimed, there will be acceleration and the Bears will be looking at a different scenario. It’s doubtful anyone will claim the troubled former fourth overall pick.

This promises to be the biggest football weekend until training camp convenes in late July.

The Bears have renamed their fan convention the Bears Expo and moved it from the Hilton and Towers to Soldier Field.

It takes place Saturday and Sunday and offers fans some new opportunities, including the chance to tour the home locker room, kick a field goal and run through drills on the field.

More than 55 current and former players are scheduled to attend, including the entire 2008 draft class, Hall of Famers Gale Sayers and Mike Singletary, Super Bowl XX MVP RIchard Dent, and current players with Pro Bowl experience including Marty Booker, Lance Briggs, Robbie Gould, Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher.

Veteran safety Mike Brown stopped Sunday at the end of the team's three-day minicamp to talk for the first time since rupturing the ACL in his left knee during the season opener last September at San Diego.

He's been cleared for a full return and looked like his old self, stepping in front of a hot read for Rashied Davis and picking off a Kyle Orton pass in team drills. Brown was off to the races for an imaginary touchdown to the delight of teammates.

The Bears released veteran punter Glenn Pakulak on Sunday.

He struggled in Saturday's practice and was outperformed by Zac Atterberry, the Lindenwood pickup.

If Atterberry does well he could be kept for training camp but with reduced rosters now (from 86 to 80) keeping specialty players is not going to be as common. Teams will use the depth for linemen.

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