John St. Clair isn't the only Bears player to reach the open market that the team wants back.
Add running back Kevin Jones to that list. The Bears have made him a contract offer but there is considerable interest in him right now. Jones told the Sun-Times that most of the teams in need of a back, including Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay have expressed interest in him. It's not known if he has fielded any other contract offers.
Jones said last season that he would like to return to the Bears even though he was used sparingly, getting just 34 carries and being a healthy inactive for a stretch of four games late in the year. He petitioned coach Lovie Smith for a chance to participate on special teams and then got back into the mix.
"I've have been telling you all along, and you may have thought, `This kid is crazy,' during last year, I want to come back to the Bears,'' Jones said. ``I like the staff, I like all the teammates. If you want an example of what an NFL team should be like, the coaching staff, everything, that's it. I'd love to be back but sometimes business gets in the way."
Jones signed a one-year deal for the minimum-salary benefit last summer after the club had cast off former No. 4 overall pick Cedric Benson. He was about six months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL at the time. As much work as rookie Matt Forte received--he was fourth in the league with 316 carries--Jones never really got into the mix on offense.
Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo have both said they want to see a more diversified running attack next season. Jones would be in position to compete with former third-round pick Garrett Wolfe for playing time if he returns. He might find better assurances for playing time elsewhere, however, and he's evaluating the situation with his agent Drew Rosenhaus.
*** Rex Grossman expressed interest in being a backup to Tony Romo in Dallas last week when he appeared on Sirius NFL radio. That was if he couldn't find a team that would give him an opportunity to start. That seemed like a curious match for Grossman to hope for considering the fallout he had with Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson that was exposed when Wilson left the Bears following the 2006 Super Bowl season.
Well, it doesn't look like it will matter after Dallas traded veteran cornerback Anthony Henry to Detroit on Saturday for quarterback Jon Kitna.
Meanwhile, there was other action on the quarterback beat. Dan Orlovsky has visited Houston, Kurt Warner will visit San Francisco, Ryan Fitzpatrick signed in Buffalo and, oh yeah, Matt Cassel got dealt from New England to Kansas City where he'll play for former Bears wide receivers coach Todd Haley. And in news related to another Indiana-raised quarterback, the Denver Broncos have reportedly been exploring trade possibilities for Jay Cutler. Best of luck to rookie head coach Josh McDaniels in smoothing that one over.
What's interesting is Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reports that the Bears could be one of three teams Cutler could be dealt to now. The quarterback is irate with the Broncos and wants out. From Williamson:
The source said Denver is no longer interested in dealing Cutler, who made the Pro Bowl in 2008, his second full season as a starter. The source said Tampa Bay, Detroit and Chicago could be possible destinations if Cutler gets his way and is traded. The source pointed out that until Cutler heard about the trade talks Saturday, he was completely happy playing for McDaniels and being in Denver.
The only problem with that is the Bears have been effusive in their support for Kyle Orton and prying Cutler out of Denver would require a substantial package, the kind general manager Jerry Angelo would be unlikely to put together.
*** Wide receiver Bryant Johnson landed a three-year deal from the Detroit Lions. The Bears had at least some interest in him a year ago but they were not known to show any for him this time around.
Stay tuned as we track more updates Sunday in Day 3 of free agency. Four Down Territory returns Monday.