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The Bears have kicked the tires of two veteran cornerbacks now and both have signed elsewhere after news this morning out of Cleveland that Rod Hood is expected to sign with the Browns.

Prior to the draft, the club brought in Ken Lucas after he was cut loose in Carolina. Eventually, he returned to his former home in Seattle.

From the looks of things the Bears at least investigated Hood, who looked like a fit as a veteran with plenty of starting experience and good size at 5-11, 198 pounds, because Corey Graham is being shifted to free safety. Hood could have instantly provided an insurance policy as a No. 3 cornerback and worked behind Danieal Manning as the nickel back at a position where there is no such thing as too much insurance.

It will be interesting to see if the Bears continue to take a look at the market for available corners because while their depth chart shows plenty of bodies at the position, there are some legitimate health concerns with half of the bunch. We'll elaborate shortly. Ex-Bear Ricky Manning Jr. remains on the open market. While picking up his game tickets at a Tampa hotel days prior to the Super Bowl, Manning said he would not rule out a return to the Bears, and despite a rocky ending with the Bears, he left on classy terms. That seems unlikely. Chris McAlister is on the street. He is still rehabbing a knee injury and although reports indicate he'll be cleared for a return to football activities by late June, is he someone a team could count on going into the season? Bringing in someone with injury issues to back players with injury issues might just clutter the training room. McAlister also had run-ins last season with Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Aaron Glenn, Patrick Surtain, Sam Madison, Ty Law and another ex-Bear, R.W. McQuarters, are some other corners with high mileage that are available.

Maybe none of them are tempting. Maybe there is one out there the Bears will take a good look at. As we wrote last week, just remember back to Chris Thompson vs. Steve Smith in the 2005 playoff loss to Carolina for a refresher on what a thinned out depth chart at cornerback can look like on a bad day. Some have blamed the last-second loss at Atlanta in 2008, at least partially, on Marcus Hamilton's poor play covering Michael Jenkins. Wherever you want to lay the blame--and in this case there were plenty of choices--the Bears were dealing with inexperienced cornerback play.

The Bears will not be landing veteran cornerback Rod Hood.

His agent Joel Segal said last week that his client would have a new team some time this week, and he does. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hood will sign a contract to play for the Cleveland Browns.

Hood visited the Bears last Thursday, just one of a handful of teams that pursued him in the last month after he was cut loose by the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals. Detroit and St. Louis were also believed to be in the mix, and Hood had visited Cleveland's rival in Cincinnati.

Here is our final edition of Four Down Territory for the week. We'll get back to the mailbag on Monday, so make sure you get your questions in over the weekend with two weeks until the draft. Here we go.

Q: What do you think the chances are that the Bears will select Rashad Johnson of Alabama in the second round to play strong safety and wait until later in the draft to get a receiver like Ramses Barden and let him learn under a veteran like Torry Holt? I think Johnson has the ability to be an Ed Reed type of safety who can play center field. I also see Barden having the ability to possibly develop into a Marcus Robinson type receiver. What are your thoughts?

Nick D., Orlando, Fla.

A: Johnson is an interesting guy who had a very successful college career, particularly after Nick Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007. A former walk-on, Johnson turned into one of the best defensive backs in the SEC. No one is going to be drafting him to play strong safety though. He's strictly a free safety and there are some questions as to whether or not he will be able to hold up at that spot as well, but more on that in a little bit. Johnson thrived under Saban and made 11 interceptions over the last two seasons to go with 19 passes broken up.

Jerry Angelo took to the podium for the Bears' Web site again Wednesday and addressed the club's reported interest in soon-to-be ex-Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, as well as free agents Orlando Pace and Ken Lucas, who both visited Halas Hall on Monday.

If he shed any light on the situations, it's that he'd like all situations in the dark. Think pitch-dark cave. At night.

"We always are looking for ways to improve our team and we spend a great deal of time exploring the options available to us whether it be unrestricted free agency, restricted free agents, trades, the draft, etc.,'' Angelo announced on the Web site. "We have brought in players that have helped us win through all those vehicles in my years here in Chicago. We have already signed a few free agents this offseason and we continue to work the pro player acquisition channels as we prepare for the draft. What we have not made a habit of is talking about these moves prematurely and we will continue to operate in a similar fashion.

Orlando Pace was not the only veteran to visit Halas Hall Monday.

A league source told the Sun-Times that cornerback Ken Lucas also was in for a visit, an interesting development given the situation at right cornerback.

Lucas was cut loose by the Carolina Panthers, who are squeezed for salary-cap room, and could make things very interesting for Nathan Vasher if he is signed. The Panthers released Lucas earlier this month in a move that freed up nearly $2.4 million in cap room. After signing offensive tackle Jordan Gross to a major deal, and with defensive end Julius Peppers counting $16.7 million vs. their cap, Carolina has had to dance around the cap some.

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