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Dane Sanzenbacher chooses Bears over Cleveland

Former Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher believes he fits Mike Martz’s offensive system. | Jamie Sabau~Getty Images

Former Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher believes he fits Mike Martz’s offensive system. | Jamie Sabau~Getty Images

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Updated: July 27, 2011 2:15AM

He’s not the prized free agent fans are pining for. At 5-11, 175 pounds, he isn’t the big target that so many believe Jay Cutler needs, either, but if Dane Sanzenbacher can make half the impact with the Bears that he made for Ohio State, their search for a quality receiver might be over.

Sanzenbacher, the Buckeyes’ 2010 MVP, Notre Dame and Hubbard running back Robert Hughes and Northwestern defensive tackle Corbin Bryant were among 26 rookie free agents signed by the Bears.

After making 27 starts at Ohio State, where he finished with 1,820 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns, Sanzenbacher chose the Bears over 24 other NFL teams because he believes he fits offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s system.

It came down to the Bears and the Cleveland Browns. Even though he’s from Toledo, Ohio, Sanzenbacher chose the Bears.

“We knew going in that it would be a good fit for me,” Sanzenbacher said Tuesday of the Bears. “When it came time to entertain these offers, it came down to a gut feeling. When everything was equal, I had to go with my best chance to play, and I felt it was Chicago.”

A sad day

Kicker Robbie Gould expressed his disappointment in losing punter Brad Maynard, who was told Monday that he will not return to the team. Maynard has been Gould’s holder during his record-setting six-year run in Chicago.

“It’s a sad day. It really is,” Gould said. “Brad has done a lot for me personally. He’s done a lot for the organization. I would love to see him back. Hopefully, depending on how things work in free agency, if something doesn’t happen the way the organization would like it to, hopefully he would entertain coming back here.”

Maynard said philosophical differences with special-teams coach Dave Toub likely contributed to the team’s decision.

“He’s helped Dave Toub’s career tremendously,” Gould said. “He’ll continue to do it. He’s got a lot of years ahead of him. He’s a veteran; he knows how to punt; he has done a great job.’’

Early birds

Although players won’t officially report to training camp at Olivet Nazarene University until Friday, those who want to collect unpaid roster bonuses must report today to undergo physicals and collect their checks. Players have the option of sticking around until Friday. Although there can be no on-field work, they can lift weights and participate in classroom work.

Aromashodu to rival

Free agent Devin Aromashodu, who was one of Cutler’s primary targets at the end of the 2009 season before falling out of favor with Martz in 2010, agreed to a one-year deal with the Vikings.

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