Lovie Smith said the Bears have not ruled out pursuing free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, but he believes the team can win with what it has right now.
The team ended its 10-week offseason program on Wednesday afternoon at Halas Hall. The session concluded with the two-minute drill for the second team. Caleb Hanie hit third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias for a deep touchdown pass. Perhaps Smith and management feel good enough about the inexperienced crew of wide receivers on the roster to go forward without making a play for Burress, who his handlers say will not face a trial on gun charges in New York until after the season.
"Plaxico Burress is a good football player,'' Smith said. "Of course, we all know that. We keep all of our options open. We're constantly evaluating all players that are out there. I feel good about our team that we have right now. I feel good about the receivers we have right now.
"The door is never closed on anyone that is available. We've said that every time any player that has been available has been out there. We're saying the same thing right now. It's not like we're aggressively going after him. We evaluate everyone that we think can make our team better. We think we're a strong football team without adding anyone. We would like to improve on every position but right now we feel like we can win with this group.''
Smith said the Bears have had no discussions about Brandon Marshall, who announced earlier this week that he would like to be traded out of Denver like former teammate Jay Cutler was.
Burress faces up to 3 1/2 years in prison for carrying an unlicensed handgun into a Manhattan night club last November. He accidentally shot a hole in his leg. The Bears are one of three teams known to have contacted agent Drew Rosenhaus about the player. The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the others. Rosenhaus said earlier this week that a fourth team has reached out to him.
Besides the legal angle with Burress, teams have to consider what type of sanctions he could face from commissioner Roger Goodell. He is expected to be suspended for violation of the personal conduct policy. Rosenhaus is adamant that will not happen until after the court case is completed, but the NFL office has made it clear Goodell can act at any time.
"We try to weigh all of it,'' Smith said. "That's a big part of the evaluation process. Everybody has a history and you go with their history."
Smith said he has not spoken to Burress. Bears players have made it clear they would be in favor of adding him to the mix. As the roster is constituted right now, only Devin Hester and Rashied Davis have tangible NFL experience. The team is counting on significant contributions from Earl Bennett and rookies Iglesias and Johnny Knox. Brandon Rideau could also figure into the equation. It puts an awful lot of pressure on Cutler, who said he has not spoken with the disgruntled Marshall lately.
Check back later this afternoon for more details from the final OTA.