Instead of deciding between Garrett Wolfe and Kahlil Bell to fill the roster spot as the Bears' third running back, general manager Jerry Angelo kept both when final cuts were announced on Saturday evening. The news must have come as a relief to Wolfe. The former Holy Cross and NIU running back was braced for the worst after the Bears' 13-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in Thursday night's final exhibition game.
"At this point in my life, I've accomplished more than anybody ever gave me credit for," the 5-foot-7, 185-pound running back and special teams ace said. "I remember being in college and people saying there was no place for me in the league. This will be my fourth year. I've played three years in this league of extremely large humans being a small guy. I've done alright for myself thus far."
Josh Beekman wasn't as fortunate when the Bears trimmed the roster to 53 by Saturday's deadline. The fourth-year went from Olin Kreutz's heir apparent at center to the most logical candidate to start at left guard to being released in what might have been the most surprising move. Roberto Garza will assume the backup center job.
Other players released were safety Al Afalava, center/guard Josh Beekman, cornerback Cornelius Brown, defensive linemen Jarron Gilbert, offensive linemen Levi Horn, receiver Juaquin Iglesias, quarterback Dan LeFevour, linebacker Kevin Malast, offensive linemen James Marten, receiver Greg Mathews, safety Quentin Scott, linebacker Tim Shaw, linebacker Kelvin Smith, cornerback Woodny Turenne, defensive end Barry Turner, center Tim Walter, safety Aaron Webster, fullback Eddie Williams, guard/center Edwin Williams, defensive end Mick Williams.
The Bears also terminated the contract of tight end Richard Angulo.
Shaw set a team record with 30 special teams tackles last season despite playing in only 15 games. Ironically enough, he lost his roster spot to Brian Iwuh, who beat out Shaw when they were both members of the Jacksonville Jaguars during last season's training camp, which allowed the Bears to sign Shaw.
"Tim did a great job on special teams," Angelo told the team's website. "But we replaced him with Brian. We felt Brian was more tailored for our scheme defensively and did a real good job on special teams as well. It was a tough call. Tim was an excellent player for us."
Gilbert and Iglesias were third-round picks in the 2009 draft. Beekman was a fourth-rounder in 2007.