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Bears cut Josh McCown, go with two quarterbacks

Josh McCown started two games last seasbut team opted go with only Jay Cutler JasCampbell QB. | RSchwane~AP

Josh McCown started two games last season, but the team opted to go with only Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell at QB. | Ron Schwane~AP

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Updated: October 2, 2012 6:12AM

Like so many backup quarterbacks in the NFL, Josh McCown was a victim of circumstance.

Last year, McCown was the Bears’ No. 3 quarterback when he should have been their No. 2. This year he was their No. 3 quarterback when they decided they don’t need a No. 3 quarterback.

So it went for the tough-luck McCown, whose release was a mild surprise as the Bears cut 21 players to set their 53-man roster Friday. Last year McCown could have saved the Bears’ playoff season after Jay Cutler was injured, but instead was left to relieve Caleb Hanie in Week 16 and turn out the lights on a second-half collapse. Now, with an offense ready to take off, he won’t even be along for the ride.

‘‘I understand this business, and I understand some of those moves have to be made,’’ McCown said. ‘‘But it’s a bummer because I feel like this is a very good team. You put a lot of work into being a part of the team. I wish I could be a part of it. But I’m still rooting for them.”

There were no big surprises. Veteran Lorenzo Booker beat out Armando Allen for the No. 3 running back spot. Fullback Tyler Clutts, the odd man out in an offense that doesn’t utilize a fullback, was traded to the Houston Texans for cornerback Sherrick McManis, the former Northwestern star who plays primarily on special teams. The Bears kept four tight ends: Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, rookie Evan Rodriguez and Kyle Adams.

‘‘It’s bittersweet,’’ Clutts said. ‘‘It’s tough leaving a place like Chicago. It’s a great city with great fans, great people. It was a great team to be a part of. I’m really going to miss the city. But I’m really excited about the new opportunity with a great organization that is on the rise.’’

The Bears are expected to sign defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who had been cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Okoye played in all 16 games last year for the Bears and had four sacks. But he had knee surgery in the offseason and did not play in the Bucs’ final three preseason games. If Okoye signs, the Bears will have to make room for him.

Among the survivors were defensive end Cheta Ozougwu, who was kept over Chauncey Davis; linebacker Patrick Trahan, who made it over Xavier Adibi and Jabara Williams; and safety Jeremy Jones, an undrafted rookie from Wayne State.

Others cut include cornerback Jonathan Wilhite and linebacker Xavier Adibi, both of whom had started in the NFL; cornerback Cornelius Brown, defensive tackle Jordan Miller, safety Mark Legree, guard Ricky Henry and offensive tackle Cory Brandon.

The undrafted rookies who were cut were wide receivers Joe Anderson, Brittan Golden and Terriun Crump; tackles James Brown and A.J. Greene and tight end Brandon Venson.

The Bears can sign players to their eight-man practice squad beginning Saturday.

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