If Mike Brown's tenure as a Bear is over, at least the franchise gave him every opportunity to contribute. This much is certain, he will not play football for the Bears again this season.
The veteran safety was placed on injured reserve today, ending his season after he aggravated the calf muscle issue that has plagued him for the second half of the season. No one expected him to be available for Sunday's game at Houston and the determination was made he will not be able to help the team in the event it reaches the playoffs. He was put down to make room for ex-Bear Cameron Worrell, who was signed to add depth to special teams.
It marks the fourth time in five seasons that Brown has finished the season on injured reserve. The Bears have shown patience with Brown like no other player before, working with him as he returned from a torn Achilles tendon, torn Lisfranc ligament and torn ACL, major injuries that led to him missing 43 of 64 regular-season games over the previous four seasons. Each time, Brown was brought back because of the intangibles he brings, as a quarterback of the defense and the heart and soul of the locker room.
He will be a free agent following the season and while it's too early to forecast what direction the club will choose, it's at least a good bet that he will not return, a subject we addressed here. Brown, who made 15 starts for the first time since 2003, will close the season with 101 tackles, fourth in the team.
In bringing Brown back, the club restructured his $2.44 million base salary for this season. They reduced his base pay to $950,000 and made $1.49 million earnable in play-time incentives, which he has hit.