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Bears bringing back defensive lineman Amobi Okoye

Updated: October 2, 2012 6:12AM



Amobi Okoye is about to be back with the Bears.

The defensive lineman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday morning, and he’s finalizing a deal to return to the Bears, according to a league source.

The 10th overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2007 draft, Okoye posted his second-best sack total last season as a Bears reserve. He signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Bucs during the offseason, but he underwent a knee scope in June and missed the last three preseason games.

Bucs rookie coach Greg Schiano apparently lost patience with Okoye, despite the Bucs’ depth trouble on the defensive line.

‘‘You can be a little cautious at times,’’ Schiano said of Okoye, according to the Tampa Times. ‘‘We’ve tried to do that. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out and earn a spot.’’

Schiano acknowledged recently that the Bucs took a risk with Okoye because of his ‘‘history with that knee.’’

The Bears have seen a host of injuries along their own defensive line. Matt Toeaina entered training camp with a cast, and Stephen Paea missed the final three preseason games with an ankle injury. On Thursday, Brian Price — whom the Bears traded a seventh-round pick to the Bucs to get — left the game against the Cleveland Browns early and underwent tests to evaluate whether he had a head injury.

Nate Collins has flashed at times, but he’ll be suspended for the first game of the season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The only completely healthy defensive tackle is Henry Melton.

The Bears will need to make a corresponding move to make room for Okoye.



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