Ax falls on vets Taylor, Clark
By Sean Jensen email@example.com September 4, 2011 12:12AM
Chicago Bears running back Chester Taylor (29) runs past Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard (97) in the first half an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: November 5, 2011 2:18PM
This time, there was no miscommunication.
The Bears officially released veteran running back Chester Taylor, who will become an unrestricted free agent after just one season with the Bears.
Taylor and veteran tight end Desmond Clark were the biggest names among the Bears’ cuts to get to 53 players, although neither was a surprise.
Taylor, though, punctuated an abysmal foray into free agency in 2010. While defensive end Julius Peppers has produced, the two players signed with him on the first day of free agency are no longer with the team. Taylor and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna collected a combined $13.1 million in guarantees, only to make minimal to modest contributions.
Taylor, who signed a four-year, $12.5 million contract, was set to make $1.25 million this year after hauling in $7 million in guarantees in 2010.
Taylor, who had posted 1,216 rushing yards for the Minnesota Vikings in 2006, averaged just 2.4 yards per carry for the Bears last season.
He was made expendable by the signing of former Pro Bowl running back Marion Barber, who had a strong training camp and preseason. The Bears also kept Kahlil Bell, a former undrafted player out of UCLA.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s always been somebody else who was supposed to be here and I wasn’t,” Bell said Thursday, after the Bears preseason finale. “I’m still here, and until otherwise proven, I’m going to be here.”
Taylor was not available for comment.
Clark, meanwhile, played eight seasons for the Bears. His best season was 2006, when 45 catches for 626 yards and six touchdowns.
“I played my butt off but sometimes it’s more about the business,” Clark wrote on his Twitter account.
The Bears indicated that Clark was released with an injury (knee).
Clark added on his personal website that he would remain in Chicago and develop his non-profit, which is geared to helping youth.
“I love the support you are giving me as a player now the kids of this city needs you to support me and my philanthropic endeavors,” he said. “This is a new beginning.”
Finding a spot
Defensive end Nick Reed, a seventh round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2009, made the Bear’s final roster.
“My whole career I’m always on the bubble,” Reed recently said.
Reed, though, was among the players who helped themselves in the preseason finale. He had a sack, and a key tackle for loss on a fourth down near the Bears’ end zone.
Thomas on IR
Last season, running back Harvey Unga, a supplemental seventh round pick, was placed on the injured reserve. On Saturday, linebacker J.T. Thomas, a sixth-round pick, was placed on the injured reserve.