Robinson gets walking papers

In a long anticipated move the Bears released wide receiver <!--Default NodeId For Marcus Robinson is 292240,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292240]>Marcus Robinson</A> Wednesday. The move saved the team about $2.6 million on the salary cap, but GM Jerry Angelo left the door open for a possible return.

Robinson burst onto the scene in 1999 setting a record for receiving yards in a season with the 1,400 compiled on a career-high 84 catches. He was rewarded during that off-season with a four-year deal worth just over $14 million.

Since, Robinson struggles haven't come on the field but in staying healthy. The receiver only played in 17 games over the next two seasons. The knee injury he suffered in 2001 forced him to miss the final ten games of the season and he wasn't the same receiver when he returned to training camp last year.

Robinson would have been cut then, but he restructured his deal to need just 35 receptions to become a free agent. However, as the fourth receiver at the start of the season and a knee that wasn't 100 percent he finished with 21 catches.

The Bears waited to cut Robinson until they knew that David Terrell had recovered from a hairline fracture of the foot.

Angelo said the trade market wasn't active for Robinson and the timing of the move is in the best interest of Robinson and the team.

"I felt that this was the right time to accommodate," Angelo said. "The trade positives weren't real; viable.

Angelo did leave the door open to Robinson returning to the Bears.

"We would like to have Marcus back. He knows that. We're not closing the door on him. We'll just let it run its course and we'll see where it's at."

If that scenario played out the Bears would not be willing to pay Robinson much more than the veteran minimum, which is $525,000.

'It's pretty much a relief,'' Robinson told the Chicago SunTimes. ''I'm thankful they gave me the opportunity for a fresh start early. The Bears aren't out of the picture.''

At this point Robinson's knee isn't a question although, his willingness to accept a backup role is.

"Marcus has got starting ability," Angelo said.

The Bears fourth-round draft pick (108th overall) in 1997 played in 52 games over his five-year career in Chicago with 28 starts. The South Carolina product ranks 16th in team history with 187 receptions and 19th with 2,695 receiving yards. Robinson recorded seven career 100-yard receiving games in his five seasons in Chicago.

''It's like what I had done before was null and void,'' Robinson said. ''I've seen players get injured and when they come back are given their job. They say, 'We gave Marcus an opportunity, and he didn't step up to the plate.' Jerry Rice got hurt and he wasn't 100 percent when he came back, but they have to get you in there to build up your confidence.''

Schedule Change
The date and time for the Bears preseason game at Arizona has been changed. The game originally scheduled for Thursday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. versus the Cardinals has been changed to Friday, August 22 at 9:30 p.m.


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