BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Joey LaRocque made it through his physical fine on Thursday but he will not make it to the practice field this afternoon.
The Bears released the linebacker this morning according to a source close to the player, a move that will enhance his chances to catch on elsewhere with the Bears having a crowded scene at the position.
A seventh-round pick from Oregon State in 2008, LaRocque was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in Week 3 last season and played in 14 games on special teams. He made nine tackles and was a core member of the unit. A lower back injury prevented him from participating in the offseason program, but he was cleared after arriving at camp and said he felt good.
The Bears have nine linebackers on the training camp roster now starting with projected starters Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Pisa Tinoisamoa. Behind them are Hunter Hillenmeyer, Jamar Williams, Nick Roach, fifth-round pick Marcus Freeman and undrafted free agents Kevin Malast and Mike Rivera. The team will likely keep six or seven linebackers on the 53-man roster, and having appeared in 14 games, LaRocque is no longer practice squad eligible per NFL rules that mandate players cannot have appeared in more than nine regular-season games.
This reduces to 78 the number of players the Bears have on the roster. Punter Richmond McGee is expected to take one of the two available spots after he arrives from Texas today.