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Bears sign DE Austen Lane to one-year contract

JACKSONVILLE FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by NFL  Austen Lane Jacksonville Jaguars poses for his

JACKSONVILLE, FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Austen Lane of the Jacksonville Jaguars poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

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Updated: March 19, 2014 6:29AM



With new players coming, old ones going and scheme changes likely, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has a prime opportunity to mold the Bears’ defense to his liking in 2014.

On Monday, the Bears added a defensive end familiar with Tucker by signing Austen Lane to a one-year contract. Lane, 26, spent three seasons with Tucker on the Jacksonville Jaguars (2010-12).

Lane, a 6-6, 265-pounder, was cut by the Detroit Lions in
November, enabling him to sign with another team before free agency starts March 11. He appeared in two games with the Lions. A fifth-round pick in 2010 out of Murray (Ky.) State, Lane has three sacks in 30 NFL games, including 17 starts.

Lane joins a defensive line that might look very different in 2014. Tackles Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff and end Corey Wootton have expiring contracts. Melton and Collins are coming off knee surgery, and Wootton had offseason surgery for a nagging hip injury.

The Bears also face a tough decision with defensive end Julius Peppers. He has two years left on his contract but is coming off an erratic season and has a salary-cap hit of more than $18 million for 2014.

Lane was cut by the Jaguars in June 2013 and got attention by chronicling his release for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB.com. He did the same after he was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of training camp before ­joining the Lions for a 22-day run in November.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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