The subtraction of Frey leaves just two players -- linebacker Shea McClellin and receiver Alshon Jeffery -- remaining on the roster from general manager Phil Emery’s first draft class (2012).
A sixth-round pick in 2012, Frey played all 16 games last season as the club’s nickel corner and started in six contests. Frey contributed 62 tackles and two pass breakups, but failed to force any turnovers as he played the majority of the season with a broken hand.
Frey was the seventh pick of a class which included Jeffery and McClellin along with safety Brandon Hardin, tight end Evan Rodriguez and cornerback Greg McCoy.
The Bears parted ways with Hardin after the 2013 preseason finale after he suffered a fractured scapula. Emery admitted to miscasting Hardin as a safety, despite him spending his college career at Oregon State as a cornerback. The club cut Rodriguez in June 2013 on the heels of his second offseason arrest.
McCoy, meanwhile, was let go during final cuts in 2012.
Brown was also a part of the 2012 class, but joined the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Troy. Brown played in five games for the Bears in 2012 and started the final three outings at left guard, but was inactive last season for all 16 contests.
Preseason opportunities have been limited for Lynch. The former Northern Illinois star and Heisman Trophy finalist is supposed to see time on offense and special teams at Browns Stadium.
“I expect you'll see quite a bit of him [Lynch],” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “I'm sure he'll have an opportunity to carry the football, to do a little bit of what he did a couple of games ago when he got a couple of reps and did very well running the football. So it'll be a good opportunity for him to get out there and show what he's learned and how he's improved over the last month of playing a completely new position. That'll involve pass protection as well, you know this is a team that brings the blitz, so he'll have an opportunity to get in the pass protection as well, and catch some balls outside the pocket and stuff like that. I'm excited for him and his opportunity.”
Lynch carried the ball seven times for 24 yards in the preseason opener, but hasn’t touched the football in the last two games. He played five snaps on special teams versus Jacksonville on August 14.
“It's a very exciting week, now I get to actually go out there and kind of showcase my talent,” Lynch said. "I’m really excited. I'm prepared for this and I just love football. I get a chance to go out there fly around and have fun.
“I just focus on playing. That's all your guys' job, trying to figure that whole thing out. I just go out there and play and just have fun.”
NFL rosters must be reduced to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. Clubs may establish a 10-man practice squad on Sunday.
Cornerback Isaiah Frey also missed the workout due to a sore hamstring, but Frey and guard James Brown were later waived to trim the Bears’ active roster down to 75 active players before the 3 p.m. CT deadline.
Generally speaking, the first-team plays very little, if at all, in the fourth preseason game.
However, an argument can be made that certain veterans would benefit from some playing time versus the Browns. Among that group is Jordan Mills. A foot injury forced the starting right tackle to miss the first three preseason games. Mills did return to practice on a full-go basis on Monday and probably would relish the opportunity to knock off some of the rust before the regular-season opener against Buffalo.
“That’s a good question,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said regarding Mills’ availability. “He did practice today. I haven’t talked to the trainers about that situation. We really haven’t made any decisions on those types of situations. We’re still working on who is going to play and who is not. But Jordan did practice today, which was a good thing.”
Veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton also practiced on Tuesday and should make his preseason debut in Cleveland, although his roster spot is far from assured. Britton's hamstring injury early in camp opened the door for Michael Ola and Dennis Roland to impress the coaching staff and potentially earn a spot on the final 53-man roster.
The end of a career? The Bears signed Adrian Wilson hoping he still possessed many of the physical traits that made him one of the NFL’s most dominating safeties over the years. Had Wilson panned out, he would have given the Bears the type of physical presence on the back end they haven’t had since Mike Brown roamed the secondary. The Bears gave Wilson plenty of opportunities to earn a spot on the team, but he never flashed the brilliance that made him such a force for so many years with the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson says he’s a “prideful person,” but at this point it appears his career is over.
What’s next: The Bears finish out the preseason on Thursday at Cleveland, and upon returning they’ll start to finalize the roster heading into the Aug. 30 cutdown date before beginning preparation for the regular-season opener against the Bills.
Bears' cuts: QB Jordan Palmer, KR/PR Darius Reynaud, LB Jordan Senn, RB Michael Ford, WR Greg Herd, WR Kofi Hughes, OT Joe Long, RB Derricus Purdy, DB Peyton Thompson, DT Nate Collins, OG Dylan Gandy, S Adrian Wilson, S Craig Steltz, OG James Brown, B Isaiah Frey.
Jackie Robinson West became the first team from Chicago to reach the LLWS in 30 years.
“First, I’d like to take a second and congratulate the Jackie Robinson West Little League team in the U.S. championship,” Kromer said. “That’s amazing. It’s good for the city. It’s good for everybody. Anytime you have a championship within the city, it just brings juice to work on Monday and people get fired up. So that’s exciting.”
Jackie Robinson West bounced back from deficits of 3-0 and 5-4 to defeat Las Vegas Mountain Ridge 7-5 in the U.S. title game on Saturday before falling to Seoul 8-4 on Sunday in the LLWS championship game.
“It’s not exactly what you want,” Cutler said. “He can give them things I’m sure. He knows snap counts, some of the stuff we do with our checks, what plays we like. But they still have to defend it. So we won’t change much if anything, maybe a few tweaks here and there. But we’ll just have to go play football and see how it goes.”
The Bears terminated Palmer’s contract on Sunday, and on Monday officially named Jimmy Clausen the club’s No. 2 quarterback. Palmer and Clausen had battled for the No. 2 spot during training camp, and although they put up similar numbers in preseason games, the Bears chose Clausen because of his youth, experience and upside.
Palmer signed with the Bills on Monday night to back up second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.
So was Jeffery's production in 2013, allowing him to come in at No. 31 on this year's NFLRank project in which ESPN ranked the league's top 100 players on offense and defense. In all, 23 players on offense made their debuts on this year's NFLRank project.
After a difficult rookie season in which he suffered a broken hand right hand, in addition to being sidelined with an arthroscopic knee surgery, Jeffery produced a gem in 2013, catching 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns, combining with Brandon Marshall for 2,716 yards and 19 TDs.
"I think part of it is the chemistry he has with this team," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "His work ethic hasn't changed. That's a sign to be able to stack a good year on a good year. He's done it for one year. He knows he's got to prove himself. He's got to stack years and years together to be a great player like Brandon has. If you could see him work here on a daily basis, he's doing all the right things to put another good year together."
Jeffery was one of two receivers in 2013 to produce two 200-yard games (Gordon was the other), and the only one to put together a 200-yard game on the road (a single-game franchise record 249 yards against the Vikings in Week 13). Jeffery attributes the bump in production from his rookie season to 2013 simply to learning the intricacies of the offense.
Jeffery also spent the majority of the offseason training with Marshall in Florida.
"My first year here, I would say it was just a learning process. It was about learning and knowing the NFL," Jeffery said. "Just staying on the field [in 2013] and staying healthy helped last year. But like I said, it was a big learning curve from my first year to my second year."
Potentially on the verge of stardom, Jeffery prefers not to look too far ahead. Asked where he sees himself in three years, Jeffery said, "Ask me that question three years from now, but I'd say the sky is the limit."
That certainly seems to be the case with Jeffery and the rest of the Bears coming off a 2013 season in which offense set multiple franchise records. Interestingly, Jeffery is the only player in Bears' history to produce two 200-yard receiving games, and is one of eight players in NFL history to accomplish that feat in the same season.
Over his first two years, Jeffery has caught 113 passes for 1,788 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"My mentality when that ball goes up in the air is it's my ball," Jeffery said. "I've got to make the play."
Steltz had re-signed with the Bears on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum on March 18.
Steltz spent the first couple weeks of training camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) after undergoing offseason groin surgery, but returned to action last Friday in Seattle where he recorded a tackle on special teams.
Steltz proved to be a valuable special teams contributor over the past six years with 58 total tackles, the second-highest total of any Bears player since 2008. The safety's veteran production and experience will be missed on a special teams unit that has woefully underperformed throughout the entire preseason.
Steltz appeared in 77 career games with eight starts. In his lone start on Dec. 1 2013, Steltz registered 12 tackles versus the Minnesota Vikings. His best stretch in a Bears' uniform occurred in 2011 when Steltz started the final five games and posted career-highs in tackles (42), sacks (1.0) and forced fumbles (2).
Bears coach Marc Trestman declined to give a timeframe for Conte's return, citing the fluidity of the NFL's concussion protocol.
Asked about the severity of Conte's concussion, Trestman said, "I can't answer that. I can't. It's a day-to-day thing. He's going through the protocol. I saw him after the game, and he was in a good place. But obviously he's going through the protocol right now, so I don't have an answer to that question."
Conte's latest setback brings about another question as to whether he's done enough to earn a spot on the team's 53-man roster given his limited exposure in the evaluation process. The Bears opened up training camp with an open competition for both starting safety spots, and Conte -- given his experience -- seemed to be one of the favorites to win a job.
Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker liked what he saw from Conte against the Seahawks.
"I thought Chris played fast. He was aggressive. He made a nice play in the end zone. He was excited to be out there," Tucker said. "There was no hesitation with Chris in his reads and his progressions, and I thought that was positive. With the amount of evaluation time available, we felt like that was enough time to make a clean evaluation on him, and we don't feel differently."
Against the Seahawks, Conte was credited with one assisted tackle and a pass breakup when he laid a vicious hit on Luke Willson in the end zone to prevent what would have been a touchdown.
Although Britton, Fuller, and Frey returned to practice Monday along with receiver Chris Williams, Trestman was unsure of their availability for the exhibition finale, and called Fuller and Frey day-to-day. Right tackle Jordan Mills (foot) also took part in Monday's practice, but hasn't yet played in a preseason outing. Brian de la Puente (knee) was also held out of Monday's workout.
Conte, meanwhile, started training camp on the physically unable to perform list, and didn't take part in his first practice until Aug. 10.
Conte finished third in tackles last season (95), and tied for second with three interceptions. Conte struggled tremendously through the 2013 season, highlighted by him playing the wrong coverage on a late fourth quarter Randall Cobb touchdown in the team's Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers which knocked the Bears out of the playoffs.
Conte said the 2013 season led to "a lot of soul searching" in the offseason.
"It was a good time for me to get better in a lot of different areas," Conte said during training camp. "Hopefully I'm a better person and a better football player. I learned to keep people close to me that I care about and to always know the people that support me are the only people that really matter. I'm not even thinking about last season. I'm thinking about this year. I don't even know what happened last season."
"Fales, he's gonna start the game and we'll see where it goes," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "I'd like to see him play a lot of the game. I just wanted to get David in a position where he was getting [in] on the [preparation for the] Browns and was really taking some time to prepare for this on really what is a short week for us."
Fales completed five of his seven throws for 68 yards against the Eagles, playing mostly mop-up duty in the fourth quarter. Fales tossed an interception in the game, but also led the team on a long drive that resulted in a field goal.
Fales said he's "definitely excited" for the chance to start at Cleveland. If Fales fails to impress enough to land a spot on the 53-man roster, he could wind up on Chicago's practice squad if he isn't snatched up by another team during the waiver process.
Despite lacking somewhat in arm strength, Fales makes up for that deficiency with strong anticipation skills. He possesses limited mobility, but Fales is courageous enough to stand in the pocket and deliver under pressure.
Entering the draft, Fales projected as an ideal fit for the West Coast offense, which is what the Bears currently utilize.
Fales was the first quarterback drafted by the Bears since 2011. He started in all 45 games he played in at San Jose State, hitting on 65.9 percent of his passes for 12,727 yards, 101 touchdowns and 35 interceptions.
The Bears released Clausen's primary competition, Jordan Palmer, on Sunday, leaving the former, Jay Cutler, and David Fales as the quarterbacks remaining on the roster.
Clausen and Palmer put up similar numbers through the first three games of the preseason. Palmer completed 70 percent of his passes for 225 yards, a touchdown and an interception for a passer rating of 88.9. Clausen hit on 64.9 percent of his throws for 280 yards, two touchdowns, an INT and a passer rating of 94.4.
But Clausen has started in 10 of the 13 regular season games he's played in the NFL, while Palmer has thrown just 15 passes in the four games he's played. Clausen is 26. Palmer is 30.
In what proved to be the final test pitting Clausen against Palmer on Friday night in Seattle, neither produced stellar numbers. Palmer completed 7 of 10 for 48 yards to finish with a passer rating of 80.4. Clausen hit on 6 of 9 for 36 yards and a 74.3 passer rating.
"It's good that the coaches have the confidence in me to name me the No. 2 behind Jay [Cutler]," Clausen said. "But we've got a long way to go. I don't even remember the last game I played, my rookie year. But it's a great opportunity like I said from Day 1. [I've] just got to keep going out each and every day, getting better and doing everything I can to help the team win."
Clausen put together a solid workout in June at Halas Hall, in addition to a reassuring personal interview and X's and O's session on the board, prompting the Bears to add him to the mix in their search for a primary backup to Cutler.
The team liked Clausen's experience, mechanics and football smarts, as well as his mental toughness. In addition to handling injuries and a lack of success as a rookie, Clausen quietly weathered the disappointment of the Carolina Panthers drafting Cam Newton and immediately inserting him as the starter.
"His ability to handle the adversity that he had in his first year, his leadership qualities, he stood up tall through a lot of tough times in Carolina, and gained the respect of his teammates and the team there with the way he handled himself in a very, very difficult year," Trestman said. "So that, plus performance, plus experience, plus youth were a lot of the reasons if I can give you some content. It wasn't everything. At the end of the day it really comes down to how you feel about things. You weigh some content there that I gave you to make that decision. We wish Jordan the best. He not only competed hard, he really invested in our football team. He emotionally invested. He coached. He shared. He coached other guys up, guys at his position. He's a tremendous young man, and we'll look forward to him landing on his feet somewhere."
Palmer expressed gratitude for the opportunity in Chicago on Twitter on Sunday, posting "I'll be wearing #Bears gear and supporting the Bears for the rest of my life. Regardless of what happens. This is the best org in the NFL."
Clausen, meanwhile, believes his experiences in Carolina -- while negative -- might have helped with the latest situation.
"One of the big things is sitting and looking back on the sidelines the past few years in Carolina just sitting and learning really did help," Clausen said. "I didn't have that in college. I didn't have that in high school. Just to sit back and take a step back and look at everything helped the game slow down a little bit for me, and [I] just learned how to play in the NFL because it's totally different from college."
Jordan Palmer, who was released on Sunday. The team likes Fales as a developmental player.
RUNNING BACKS (4)
Draughn appears to have a firm hold on the No. 2 job, and the Bears released Michael Ford, leaving Carey as the only potential candidate for the backup running back job. Draughn should open the regular season as Forte's backup.
Nothing changes here as Morgan showed enough in the preseason to secure a spot. Holmes' superior talent warrants the Bears keeping him around as they continue to look for a temporary replacement for Wilson.
TIGHT ENDS (2)
Rosario remains the most well-rounded tight end among the candidates for the second spot, and none of his competitors have stood out.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
- Roberto Garza
- Kyle Long
- Matt Slauson
- Jermon Bushrod
- Jordan Mills
- Brian De La Puente
- Eben Britton
- Michael Ola
- James Brown
- Charles Leno Jr.
Injuries to De La Puente, Mills and Britton give cause for concern considering none have put in any quality repetitions during preseason games.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
- Jared Allen
- Lamarr Houston
- Willie Young
- Jeremiah Ratliff
- Stephen Paea
- Ego Ferguson
- Will Sutton
- Trevor Scott
- Austen Lane
The Bears released Nate Collins on Sunday, which could leave an extra spot for either Cornelius Washington or David Bass. If the Bears go with 10 defensive linemen, Bass could make the cut.
This group has struggled throughout the preseason, but the team will likely take these players into the regular season. Jerry Franklin remains on the bubble.
The combination of youth and experience makes this position group one of the team's strongest.
The Bears released Adrian Wilson, as age and injuries appear to have caught up to him. The Bears probably won't keep five safeties, but if they do, it'll come down to Steltz and M.D. Jennings.
The Bears let go Chad Rempel, which means Hartson probably won the training camp competition. Williams missed the club's last game due to a sore hamstring, and needs to play in the preseason finale to secure a spot.
For now, Clausen has won the Bears' backup job, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Palmer was the first quarterback off the bench to replace starter Jay Cutler in Friday night's preseason game against the Seahawks. He went 7 for 10 for 48 yards. Clausen, once he entered the game, was 6 of 9 for 36 yards.
Neither one put any points on the board as the Bears were routed 34-6.
Wilson received a strong endorsement from Bears general manager Phil Emery when the team opened up training camp last month, but the 14-year NFL veteran failed to do enough to impress the coaching staff to earn a spot on the 53-man roster, despite the fact the Bears have experienced uncertainty at the safety position throughout the entire offseason.
Wilson spent the majority of the preseason working on the second team.
The 6-foot-3 Wilson appeared in 181 games (162 starts) for the Arizona Cardinals between 2001-12, recording 978 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 27 interceptions, 106 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles and nine fumble recovers.
Wilson left Arizona following 2012 and joined the New England Patriots last offseason, but the four-time Pro Bowl selection ultimately landed on injured reserve with a foot injury before the start of the regular season.
No. 15: Packers 27, Bears 24 | Sept. 11, 1995
The Green Bay Packers are known for the Lambeau Leap, but on this night in Chicago a Bears fan put his own spin on the touchdown celebration. And it's probably a good thing the "Solider Field Leap" didn't catch on.
In the third quarter following a Bears touchdown, kicker Kevin Butler blasted his extra-point attempt through the uprights and over the netting. As the ball descended into the tunnel, Bears fan Michael Pantazis leapt out of the stands and caught the ball in midair. He fell roughly 20 feet and sustained no injuries.
Even more miraculously, Pantazis didn't get in trouble for his jump and was able to keep the ball, eventually getting it autographed by Butler. Pantazis won the 1996 ESPY Award for the Outrageous Play of the Year.
But, his catch overshadowed a notable one on the field earlier in the game, when Brett Favre connected with receiver Robert Brooks for the first 99-yard passing touchdown in "Monday Night Football" history.