Alex Brown is reminder of the questionable decision-making that marked the Bears' fall from the Super Bowl in 2007 to three consecutive non-playoff seasons. Twice the Bears rejected Brown in favor of Mark Anderson -- and twice they were wrong.
Maybe that's why Bears coach Lovie Smith, despite calling Brown "a lifelong friend," was cool to the idea of re-acquiring Brown after the New Orleans Saints suddenly cut the defensive end Tuesday. So much for the idea that you can never have enough defensive ends.
''Alex Brown is a lifetime friend," Smith said. "I was planning on pulling for him 15 games this season [all except the Saints game against the Bears on Sept. 18 in New Orleans]. But that's part of it. I don't know enough about it to respond to it. I try not to respond unless I have all the facts."
Brown, a fourth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2002, started 107 games in eight seasons with the Bears (2002-09).
With Brown's familiarity with the Bears' defense and the Bears' need for depth at defensive end with Corey Wootton injured, Brown would seem to be a good fit back at Halas Hall. Nick Reed and rookies Mario Addison and Jake Laptad are behind Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije on the depth chart.
''We've seen Alex. Alex has been here before,'' Smith said. ''We like our guys we have right now. There's great competition with the guys we have right now.''
Brown, 32, was unspectacular, but steady, efficient and productive when he played for the Bears. He has played in 143 consecutive regular-season games -- the longest current streak among NFL defensive ends.
Last year with the Saints, he had 44 tackles, two sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, three tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In the Saints' playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Brown had six tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss, a QB hurry and a pass breakup.
And he never gives up -- the hustling Brown was the last player to miss a tackle on Marshawn Lynch's 67-yard touchdown run that all but clinched the Seahawks' upset victory over the Saints that sent Seattle to Chicago.
With Peppers and Idonije, the Bears aren't desperate for help at end, assuming Wootton recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery as expected. And Alex Brown is not a savior. But when teams are looking to shore up their roster with other team's discards after the cutdown to 53 -- a veteran player and stand-up guy who is familiar with your defensive scheme and has an intimate knowledge of the offense you're going to face in Week 2 seems like an option worth considering.