The Chicago Bears have been making some moves lately. They signed Lovie Smith to a contract extension to keep him with the team till 2013 last week. They put out a tender offer for Danieal Manning yesterday and today they terminated the contract of three veteran players.
DT Tommie Harris, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer and T Kevin Shaffer were all released today. Harris has spent his seven NFL seasons with the Bears. Harris was owed $2.5 million on June 1, but the Bears obviously didn’t think he was worth it.
Henry Melton, Matt Toeaina, Anthony Adams (RFA), and Marcus Harrison are all defensive tackles the Bears will have next season.
Harris should find work somewhere else, but he is clearly not the same player since all of his knee surgeries.
Another familiar face released was LB Hunter Hillenmeyer. Hillenmeyer has spent his eight NFL seasons with the Bears appearing in 101 games making 384 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions. Hillenmeyer suffered a concussion in pre-season and was put on IR after that. Hillenmeyer, 30, contemplated retirement after the latest concussion.
If he is healthy, I don’t see why one of the 31 other teams wouldn’t pick him up. It’s sad to see him and Tommie go, but it will save them money in areas that they need to upgrade.
The other player released was veteran tackle Kevin Shaffer. Shaffer appeared in 32 games, making seven starts in two seasons with the Bears.
He was clearly slowing down this season and the Bears could be in the market for a veteran tackle, so releasing Shaffer could pave the way for that.
Three releases by the Bears shakes things up for the upcoming season. I personally thought they would keep Tommie Harris, but it could be a good move considering they don’t have to pay him almost $5 million this season.
Good luck to all three of these players, it was great seeing you support the blue and orange. Thank you Tommie and Hunter especially for helping us make that Super Bowl run in 2006. Can’t wait to see you out on the field again, unfortunately with another team.
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