Chicago Sun-Times

Era over? Bears place Mike Brown on injured reserve

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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.

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31 Comments

How tragic. If any player on the Bears' current roster best personifies the history and tradition of Chicago defense, it's Mike Brown. Let's hope S Craig Steltz is every bit as good as he was billed to be. But first he has to stop middle-of-the-road halfbacks from bowling him over.

Craig Steltz= Adam Archuleta 2.0

I hope this is only temporary so he can heal, but it does sound like it might be over, calf injury IR???, must be a tear or something if they went that far, he could have ready next week, if they get in under normal circumstances.....
The stat line on Mike Brown says it all, fumble recoveries, returns for touchdowns, hard (sloberkoncking) hits and the most important solid LEADERSHIP on one of the most feared defenses of his era....I love Mike Brown and what he meant to the team and the city while he has been here.....We would not be where we are this season without him, my hope is that his health returns and that it is his decisions of wheather or not to play again or return to the BEARS, too many of our established stars get run off when they age and not given any jobs wihtin the organization they served with distinction in Chicago, this guy may be our next coach as far as I'm concenred in a few years....I put the first mention up to give him a staff job immediately if he retires and start grooming him for the job.... Mike may you be blessd in whatever you chooce to do in your career....one of your biggest fans..."chitownbear"

The only real surprise here is that it took this long in the season before the IR took place.

Brown is like Jim McMahon, a great player when healthy, who just couldn't stay healthy enough to make it worth the while to keep him around.

Not his fault, things happen...but it's time for the Bears and Brown to move on.

Mark Liptak

I like Brown, I just wish he wasn't so injury prone. He is without a doubt a valuable asset. I would like for him to retire a Bear, but I don't see him in a Bears uniform next year, because along with his "great spirit" and play-making skills his injuries also make an impact on the team and they're unfortunately consistant. I hope the best for him, and as I said I would like the man to retire a Bear, but if not, who knows.

Mike Brown certainly was a good safety for the Bears, if not for the injuries, he might have made a few more pro bowls, also, I think if Chicago would have had Brown for their super bowl appearance, well, you just never know?. Its hard to tell if Angelo brings him back or not, and who knows, Brown might decide to retire, we'll just have to wait and see?

Either way, free safety is the Bears biggest need going into the off-season. Kevin Payne is a nice young safety, but he is better suited at strong safety, where he can be a beast in the box. Brandon McGowan is coming back, but he is also a better strong safety, and very injury prone. Maybe Danieal Manning, but he seems to be pretty good at his nickle position, and as a return man. You don't want your starting safety returning kicks. Craig Steltz has come in and looked good, also, he has the instincts to make the big play, so maybe?

I would still draft a free safety regardless, the Bears need a big play guy with some range to shut down the center field, someone like William Moore of Missouri maybe? Chicago has shown in the past they can bring in a rookie to start at safety. I say William Moore of Missouri, if Chicago can even land him from their mid first round pick? Maybe in the second round they can land Derek Pegues of Mississippi state? Scouts say Pegues plays his best against the best, Pegues has 12 career ints, 3 of them are pick 6's. Pegues would be my guy if the Bears can't get William Moore. Either way, Chicago is going to have to pay close attention to the safeties coming out this april, like I said, "the Bears need a guy with coverage ability to man the free safety position. GO BEARS!!

You know why Mike Brown gets injured all the time? Look at the hits he makes.

If the Bears don't resign Mike Brown next year, they will only keep the reputation of being one of the dumbest franchises in in NFL history! We never go out and get the best players to help us win championships. When will the bears ever be considered a dynasty? The best quarterback to ever put on a Bears jersey was Erik Kramer! No notable recievers, & plenty offensive busts'. No wonder he stays injured, he's on the field too long. Too many plays increases the risk of injury, especially to a really nosey defender such as Mike. If they let him go , who will replace him? And will that the defense better or worse? And will we have to sit and watch as he go to a team with a better "O" and see him go on to beat us, go to more por bowls, or even worse, win a Super Bowl against us? If all your players want him to stay, let him stay. He makes others better, whether he's in cleats or on crutches. Letting him leave will hurt the morale in the locker room, and lets face it, we're not an elite NFC team, let alone the NFL! Do you see Dungy getting rid of Bob Sanders? Even if he had two more seasons of game missing injuries? NO! Thats why Tony has the ring and Lovie has an ongoing mess! In bringing Mike Brown back, we have a chance to content for it all next year. With Plaxico Burress, Matt Cassell, Darren Sproles, Derrick Ward, Koren Robinson, Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs, Bertrand Berry, Dwan Landry Albert Haynsworth, Dawan Landry, Darren Sharper(to pair safety w/ Brown), Koren Robinson, and either one of the Bengals WR's Chad Ocho Cinco/Johnson or T.J. Houshmanzadeh available. Maybe even Donovan McNabb to teach Orton for a yr. or two. Why not play to win it all next season and look like a contender every yr.? BRING MIKE BROWN BACK. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD. Or explain why are we as a franchise so stupid, and refuse to compete like all other teams/cities.

Matt,

I hope you are dead wrong, but I couldn't help but think the same exact thing while I watched the game at Soldier Field. I haven't had a chance yet to watch it on my DVR, but he looked EXACTLY like Archuleta from my seat. Now that's scary!

All of you crying over Brown he was a good safety key word WAS its time to move on. But, I will say he already is a better choice for defensive coordinator then the guy manning the post now. And the free safety is already on the team CHARLES TILLMAN he already has the flair for the turnover and the size and ability to handle TE's and most RB's The draft should be dedicated to [1] WR, [2] OL, [3] quality backup RB and DL depth in that order.

MIKE" SLOBBERKNOCKER SMASHMOUTH CAPBUSTIN ASSKICKING NUTBUSTER QB SLAYER BUGSTOMPING RING YOUR BELL LOUDER THEN THE SALVATION ARMY" BROWN, you are loved and wanted back in Chi town,you my friend are one of a few players I would say are the definition of a Chicago Bear-come back please

For those lamenting over Mike Brown there is a reason Chicago has been patient all these years: our safeties suck.

Chicago runs a Cover-2 and the safeties are horrendous. Kevin Payne couldn't tackle me while I gave Creighton a piggy-back ride. Daniael Manning isn't a safety. Brandon McGowan is a beast but suited for SS and a liability in pass coverage. Craig Steltz (as someone aluded to earlier) is a poor man's old and busted Adam Archuleta.

Chicago needs a safety whether it's by free agency or draft. You cannot have a cover-2 and safeties who cannot make plays. Mike Brown will be back if only because Chicago has no viable options.

Too bad we traded Chris Harris for a bag full of magic beans ... I hear he's slightly above average nowadays but it's probably just rumors.

I don't care if they bring Brown back or not, but they certainly need to address the safety position.

I think moving Tillman is inevitable, especially if Bowman proves he can play next year, or if they are content on giving Vasher another shot.

That said, this simply reminds me of one of the worst decisions made by JA since he was here.

The Bears had no business trading Chris Harris last year.

Harris, who was at least a servicable player with ball-hawk skills, has blossomed in Carolina. Meanwhile, what they kept was a player coming off a horrible year (Archeleta), two injury-prone safeties (McGowan, Brown) a player who they don't like at safety (Manning) and a kid (Payne).

To this day, that has to be one of the dumbest moves this team has made. And they may again pay for it Sunday.

They better put Manning back there, because he can at least run down Johnson and Slaton when they get behind the defense.

I'm not as big of a Steltz hater as others -- I think he's Todd Johnson 2.0 -- but he clearly is a special-teamer.

What are you talkign about deputy-DUMB!!?? mike brown still IS a very good safety!! didnt he have over 100 takles???? angelo definitly NEEDS to sign him back!

and what is this?: "Kevin Payne couldn't tackle me while I gave Creighton a piggy-back ride." i thought this was a football blog but its cool if you want to sail that way.

Too bad for Mike Brown. The guy is just good. Too bad he had unlucky injuries happen to him. I hope he comes back next year. He can play till he craps out again. Better to have him a little bit, than not have him at all.

And Mike Brown would make a terrific D-coordinator.

Craig Steltz is simply not good enough to play safety in the NFL.

McGowan could be a good back-up.

Charles Tillman could move to free saftey, but that is unlikely unless something unforseen happens (like Zack Bowman being too good to keep off the field, or signing a FA CB).

A real good free safety is already on the team. It is Daniel Manning. All of the safeties have had trouble covering the last 2 seasons. That also coincides with less pressure on the QB. Daniel Manning made a lot of good plays in 2006 when the D-line was playing nuts.

The problem with the safeties (and with the whole defense) is the D-line is weak. That must be addressed. You must control the line of scrimmage before you control anything else.

And Kevin Payne will be a good strong safety for years. He is a Chris Harris type.

Go Bears. Go Giants. Go Raiders. Go Philly.

The Bears would be foolish not to bring him back in a backup role next season.

They could easily get him for the lague Veteran minimum, keep him on the second team to back up Kevin Payne and use his leadership to help coach up the younger players around him. It would be a good way to keep the herat and sooul of the Bears defense in the fold, allow him to play part time to manetain his health and kick start his new career after his playing days are over as a defensive coach of his beloved Bears !!

Problem solved.

Brown comes back as a coach working with safeties and D backs, maybe even getting into special teams some to.

Asoumaga (whatever the spelling) CB for the Raiders is brought in at Corner at a high cost but he is the real deal, a true shut down corner.

Peanut moves to free safety where he would be an animal, the D would be awesome because they could go with man coverage anytime and the blitzes and attack against the QB would be reminiscent of the the 85 Bears.

What is this about piggy back rides for Creighton?

Go Bears and what happens if the Bears don't pick in the middle of the draft lets say they luck out and get in the playoffs and run the string. Oh yeah I believe that but miracles do happen ask the USA hockey team way back in the early 90's.

Go BEARS, kick some ARS and bring back Brown as a coach, within a few years he would be a hell of a D coordinator and maybe future NFL head coach, certainly he is smarter than what the Bears have in place now. Unfortunately the Bears can't bring Singletary back as a head coach because the niners just signed him up as their coach.

Look to the West Coast, San Fransico, and see Mike Brown's future. He is this generations Mike Singletary. With Mike B's dedication to film study, preparation, and love of the game someday he will be a wonderful Head Coach. Let's hope it is in Chicago or Lincoln and not some other NFL city!

If at all possible, get Mike brown back. Character is never overpriced, and the rest of the team could all take lessons on that from Mike Brown. Could you imagine Urlacher, Briggs or Hester taking a pay cut even if they had the worst season of all time? Being honest with oneself is also the Bears ingeneral could gain from Mike's example.

Mike brown should be brought back again next season in a back up role, and split playing time with a sold rookie, and in run downs....his time is at a end but if he wants to play better off on our team for a low money contract...a calf injury is not the end of the world maybe a week or two out but they are thinking texans not super bowl right now.

DCoDC wrote:
"Too bad we traded Chris Harris for a bag full of magic beans ... I hear he's slightly above average nowadays but it's probably just rumors."

I agree that we shouldn't have traded Harris to Carolina but the bag of beans we got is Zack Bowman. You might have heard of him. Ok, for one game. Bowman has potential; but Harris would solve our need at free safety.

dahlillama wrote:
"Oh yeah I believe that but miracles do happen ask the USA hockey team way back in the early 90's."

You missed by 10 years. But what is 10 years among Bear fans. :)

"Character is never overpriced."

Paul, I think you hit the nail right on the head. That's the perfect reason why Mike Brown should at least be tendered an offer to return to the Bears. He works hard, he gives it 112% every snap, he pays attention to detail etc. etc. Losing a guy like that would be detrimental to the team, even if he never plays a snap.

Kevin A., is McGowan coming back? From what I heard it seemed very doubtful that he would return after his third injury in his third season. I think he's an intense player that flings himself at the ball carrier, and he would be a good player to resign, but from what I heard he wasn't returning.

"Kevin Payne couldn't tackle me while I gave Creighton a piggy-back ride."

Let's keep our private lives to ourselves, shall we?

Brad Biggs, your one of my favorite sports writers, inside the Bears is probably the best place to come on the net to find out info on the Bears, its quick, and not as bias as other sites, like the Bears official web site. But with that being said, whats up with you and Mulligan, in back to back weeks, going after Matt Forte? I strongly disagree with your opinion, in your article "Rookie Slaton is Texans Forte," that Slaton is better than Forte, are you kidding me?? You mention that Slaton has wide receivers like Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, and tight end Owen Daniels, so think of how many catches he would have had if he was on the Bears? Auh.. Brad, don't you think it would actually be easier for Slaton to get receptions with such a great core of receivers, I would think Slaton should actually have more receptions with such an advantage?? Also, Brad, I'll ask you like I asked Mulligan, I wonder what Fortes' stats would look like if he had Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter their as a threat, I guarantee Forte faced a lot more 8 man boxes than Slaton did. Mark my words, if Forte was a Texan, he would be rookie of the year with the kind of stats he would of put up with such an advantage.

Also, I say wait a year before knocking the Bears for taking Forte and Bennett over Jackson and Slaton. Jackson is good, don't get me wrong, but I think Bennett can be a good one also, not every rookie is NFL ready straight out of college. Remember, the same guys on this very blog a year ago were bashing guard Josh Beekman because he never seen the field as a rookie, are the same guys that think he is a pretty good guard in his second season, you got to give these young players a chance. GO BEARS!!

Mike, good point on McGowan, I was thinking he was signed through 2009, come to find out, its 2008, so yeah, you would think with the injury history he wouldn't be coming back. This just means the Bears are not only going to need a free safety, but depth at strong safety if McGowan is not re-signed.

Biggs, one more thing I forgot to mention above on the Forte vs Slaton comparison. Steve Slaton runs in a zone blocking scheme that mass produces 1000 yd runners. The Houston Texans brought in Alex Gibbs, as their assistant head coach, to help implement the zone blocking scheme he teaches so well this off-season. This is also advantage Slaton, I don't think its a coincidence so many runners over the years have put up a 1000 yds in this scheme. The key for runners in this scheme is vision, Forte has great vision. Also, Forte is a one cut then go type of runner, can you imagine the type of rushing numbers Forte would put up in this scheme, and on top of it, have a number one receiver like Andre Johnson to get rid of that pesky safety in the box?? Its something to think about GO BEARS!!

HE IS THE MARK PRIOR OF FOOTBALL GOOD BYE TOO YOU.

Brown should be happy he played in 15 games and for him that is great. They need to bring him back for another season or there secondary is in trouble. He is the smartest player on the field and that has always been his greatest asset. As for what to do if he does not come back. Payne can't play SS and Manning is a liabilty in coverage. Steltz stinks and that is all there is to that guy.

Kevin why are you going off about Forte? We all know he is a good back. What Slaton can't be good too? Why are you asking what Forte would do if he was in the Texas offense. Last I checked you thought Orton was the best QB in the NFL, tht Bears had the Best oline in the NFL and Hester was the Best reciever in the NFL.

But to take a poke at your question, my guess is he would have fewer carries and the ball would be passed to him less because they run a different offense. My guess is sense the offense is based around the passing game that Forte would not account for some 60 percent of the touches on the team. So his numbers may actually be a little lower in the passing game while in the run game he is actually suited better to the Bears power O. Like you said one cut, similar to Thomas Jones in that way, similar work ethic too.

Anyway I hope Brown comes back, they don't really have anyone who can replace him Kevin your right about Moore but do you really see him or maybe Mays out of USC falling to the Bears? Besides there is no shot Angelo goes saftie in round one, he will look at that position later in the draft. it will be either WR or DE. I would say reciever was a lock for the first pick but Angelo does not like to go after them in the first round, so unless Crab falls really far it will probably be DE another position he has not drafted very well over the years. Not that Brown is bad he is just noty a pass rusher. Bears can go so many directions with there first pick this year, they have a lot ot address.

I love Mike Brown.

But he can't stay healthy and it's time to face facts. The Bears need his big play capability, but can't afford to continue shifting the secondary safeties and nickels everytime he gets injured. With the pass-defense (pass-rush and defense-coverage) as bad as it's been this year, I think the Bears could really use some consistency in the secondary.

To add to Creighton's comments, I say bring Mike Brown back, make him the de-facto nickel back and have him work as a player coach to the younger guys on the sidelines. If he can finish the season at nickel, he can still make plays and help the team in the postseason--if they can ever make it back.

Go Bears.

Me again,

Other than the issues at the safety and corner positions,does anybody have any insight on how the Bears are going to address their horrific pass defense this past year?

Is it the scheme? (see Tampa Bay vs Oakland) or is the coaching (see Bob Babich's numbers since he took over for Rivera) or is it the line? (see Tommie Harris, Ogunleye, Dvoracek).

Is it straight execution? I know the Bears coaches say they "don't run a true Panther defense" - they blitz a ton, but that doesn't seem to work. The league seems to have a formula for the Bears and the Tampa defenses and most competent starting QB's are able to carve that front-line blitz, mike and corner man, and everybody zone scheme.

Now I've confused myself.

I do see that safety is a need position for us, but certainly not our most pressing need. Our problems stem from the trenches on both sides of the ball. We can't stretch the field because our tackles are abused on every play. We can't cover down the field because our pass rush is anemic at best.

Alex Brown, who is probably our most consistent player on the D-line, only got 6 sacks, and will never be a 10 sack guy. Ogunleye was supposed to be that guy, and he struggled badly this year. Tommie Harris seems to always be hurt, but when he had flashes, he was impressive. But when we were a dominant defense, the front 4 could stop the run and pressure the passer, so there were 7 guys in coverage, and by the time someone came open down the field, the QB had already dumped the ball off to an underneath route. That is what will make our safeties better. We could use an upgrade, but we need to upgrade our pass rush first and pass protection second. Safeties can be found on the second day. Chris Harris was a 5th round pick, James Butler went undrafted. Sure, a first round safety would be better, but what does it matter if we can't pressure the QB? No DB can cover forever, and that's how much time we are giving the opposing QB.

Mike Brown is a solid player who was on the way to greatness when his legs failed him. I will never forget the SF and Cleveland games back to back when he won them both. He deserves a place of honor in Bears lore, and should be welcomed to the coaching staff as a DB assistant coach if he decides to hang it up. If he wants to come back and try it again, they had better not let him play elsewhere. 4 out of 5 years ended on IR....can't get much worse than that. I would rather see him coaching than try to play again. I can't imagine the pain he must be going through year after year, as something in his lower leg goes wrong again...I wish him all the best, but hope he decides to move on to his next chapter, which should be coaching defensive backs. He could be a D-coordinator in 5 years, and maybe even a head coach in 12-15 years with his smarts and dedication...

Creighton, to answer your question, "Why are you asking what Forte would do if he was in the Texans offense?" I was giving my opinion, vs Biggs opinion, on who was better, Forte or Slaton. To me, it sounded like Biggs thought Slaton was better than Forte, I disagree. I was simply saying that Slaton probably put up better numbers because he has more advantages than Forte, Andre Johnson to name one. Again, give Forte Andre Johnson, and I guarantee he puts up better numbers. Heck, we all saw it yesterday, as soon as Johnson stretched the field, Slaton became more effective, the play by play guys even pointed it out. Is that OK with you Creighton????

Secondly, what the #uck does my support for Orton, the Bears o-line, and Hester, have to do with how Forte would fare in the Texans offense????????????? Creighton, what is your problem, you think your making me look dumb with your lies, yes lies, but your not!!

I'll explain lies. First, I never once said, "Orton was the best QB in the NFL," actually, I said something to the effect, in one of our many arguments, "not every QB can be Tom Brady," Brady is who I think is the leagues best QB. My question is, where in my support for Orton did you get I thought he was the best QB in the NFL?????????? LIE #1

I never once said, "the Bears have the best o-line in the NFL," all I ever said was, " the Bears only allowed 20 some sacks and blocked for a 1000 yd runner, which isn't great, but not bad either." Actully, I once said the Titans have ONE of the best lines in the NFL, I NEVER once said ANY team has the best line in the NFL. So where are you getting I said, "the Bears have the best line in the NFL????? LIE #2

As far as me saying Hester is the best receiver in the NFL, STONE COLD LIE!!! Actually, I knocked the Bears [in very Creighton like fashion] for trying to convert corners into receivers, I then said, "Hester is not turning out to be so bad at receiver." Again, actually I said Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the NFL. So again, where are you getting Hester is the best receiver out of all of this???????? LIE #3
Creighton, stop making #hit up to try and make me look dumb to make yourself feel good, because I choose to support the Bears and you don't, is that cool guy?????? I don't care who the Bears have at QB, o-line, or receiver, I'm gonna support them, is that cool guy???? Creighton, I know you think because I support the Bears, you THINK, Im part of the problem, your wrong. I told you before, and Im gonna have to tell you again, "It doesn't matter if you support the Bears or not, their gonna do what they want." You think by bashing them your gonna change what they do, your wrong, sadly wrong. Neither me or you have any control over what the Bears do, and theres nothing you can do about it. If you want a change, go become a scout, work your way up to GM, and build the Bears yourself, until then, you can bash Bear fans who support the team and crybaby all you want, all your really going to do is be a very unhappy person, and never be satisfied with the team that you CHOOSE to support does, see what Im saying Creighton??????

Creighton, as far as Moore, no, I don't think Moore will fall to the Bears in the mid 1st-round, but Chicago would have to be crazy not to take him if he does fall.

Joe Felicelli, yes I agree the Bears must get better up front, but if a safety of Moores caliber falls, you got to take him. Your right, you can get safeties in the later rounds, but you can get defensive end later on also. Take the Giants Justin Tuck, 3rd round in 05, Green Bays Aaron Kampman, 5th round 02, or the Vikings Jared Allen, 4th round 04, to name a few. A pass rusher and a free safety are definitely our top needs. In the first you take the best player at either position, then hunt for the next position as the draft goes on. I was just saying if a player like William Moore falls, you got to take him, especially since the Bears have no true free safety on the roster, they have Payne, but he is better suited at strong safety. As of right now, I say take either Moore or George Selvie the defensive end out of South Florida, if he comes out.

Oh yeah, Creighton, I still think the Bears are the best team in the NFL, and you can quote me on that one GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 26, 2008 12:18 PM.

Special teams in need of help: Worrell to be signed was the previous entry in this blog.

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