Coaches often talk about players playing their way onto the 53-man roster in the final exhibition game but it doesn't always work out that way. Take Kevin Malast, for example. The former Rutgers linebacker started at middle linebacker in the Bears 13-10 loss at Cleveland on Thursday night and recovered a fumbled snap on the Browns' first play of the game.
He finished with a game-high 12 tackles and even had a sack but still got a pink slip from the Bears on Friday, not that he didn't see it coming.
"I learned a lot from the linebackers I was with," Malast said after Thursday night's game. "[Brian] Urlacher has been great to me, and so has Lance [Briggs] and all those guys. I have definitely learned a lot from them. If I go somewhere else I'll take it with me."
Al Afalava, who started all 13 games he played as a rookie, was the biggest name the Bears cut on Friday, although the move was expected. Cornerbacks Cornelius Brown and Woodny Turenne, safety Aaron Webster and tight end Richard Angulo were among several players who learned their fate while what must be an agonizing wait continues for several others, including ex-NIU and Holy Cross running back Garrett Wolfe, who is battling Kahlil Bell for the job as third running back behind Matt Forte and Chester Taylor.
NFL teams must trim their rosters to 53 by 5 p.m. today.
"I went out and played as hard as I could," Wolfe said after Thursday night's exhibition finale in Cleveland. "That's that. "Simply stated: I did what was asked of me, played as hard as I could and continued to show the things that I've shown in the first three years I was here, that I can be a dynamic football player and a guy who goes out and plays special teams."
Although Bell at times looked like the better ball carrier, Wolfe's value on special teams will likely give him the edge.
"It's not something I worry about because it's not something I control," Wolfe said. "If the decision hasn't been made already, if I haven't done enough at this point to alter that, it's not something I can change over the next 48 hours. If you worry about stuff you can't control you'll drive yourself crazy."