The Bears released defensive end Charles Grant on Tuesday. Because the decision opened up a roster spot just hours before the NFL's 3 p.m. trade deadline, it fueled speculation that a trade might be in offing, but the deadline came and went at Halas Hall like it did throughout the league: quietly.
The only trade consummated Tuesday came when the Chiefs shipped little-used defensive end Alex Magee to the Buccaneers. The teams always swapped undisclosed 2011 draft picks.
The Bears signed Grant, the former New Orleans Saints standout who was playing for the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks, after releasing Mark Anderson two weeks ago. Grant was inactive for his only two games with the Bears.
The decision to release Grant was likely influenced by the emergence of second-year defensive lineman Henry Melton, who has been making the most of increased playing time, and rookie defensive end Corey Wootton, who impressed during his NFL debut in a 23-6 win over the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 10 and again last week in a 23-20 loss to the Seahawks.
"It's hard to come in and have a few days of practice and really be ready to go," Smith said while explaining why Grant was not active for the Panthers game. "We wanted to wait another week at least, just to learn the defense a little more. But at the same time we've been encouraged by what Corey Wootton has been doing. We felt like he deserved an opportunity to play."