TSX: Bears Notes & Quotes

The Sports Xchange discusses Chicago's decision to keep five undrafted rookies and sign a two-time Pro Bowl safety. Plus an injury update on third-string running back Kahlil Bell and more.

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather on a one-year contract Sunday.

Meriweather, a former first-round pick, was cut by the Patriots on Saturday. He has started 40 of 64 games in his four years after being selected 24th overall out of the University of Miami in the 2007 draft. Since then, Meriweather has 244 tackles, 12 interceptions, 27 passes defended, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two sacks.

Although Meriweather's cover ability has been called in question in the past, he has all 12 of his interceptions in the last three seasons, tied for fourth most in the NFL by a safety during that span.

Bears strong safety Chris Harris tied for the team lead with five interceptions last season while playing free safety, but he has been moved back to his more natural strong safety position this season. Major Wright, the Bears' 2010 third-round pick was handed the starting job at free safety. But he missed a pair of potentially touchdown-saving tackles in the preseason, and coach Lovie Smith was disappointed that Wright didn't make enough plays on the ball when he had opportunities.

Meriweather is also considered an excellent special teams player.

The Bears will have to cut a player from their 53-man roster to make room for Meriweather once he officially signs his contract.


RB Kahlil Bell
Scott Boehm/Getty

--Kahlil Bell's sprained ankle Thursday night in the preseason finale could have thrown a twist into the decision to release Chester Taylor, but Bell downplayed the injury, and the Bears parted ways with Taylor on Saturday.

Bell led the team with 157 preseason rushing yards and averaging 4.5 yards per attempt.

"I think I did pretty well," he said. "There are always things to improve on when you watch film and critique yourself. But, given the opportunities that I was given, I tried to take advantage of them and I feel good about where I stand at the moment. I don't worry about all that other stuff and whatever comes my way comes my way."

--A whopping five undrafted rookies have made the 53-man roster, for now, led by Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who caught 10 preseason passes for 157 yards, finishing second on the team in both categories.

He will be joined by H-back/tight end Kyle Adams (Purdue), defensive end Mario Addison (Troy), linebacker Dom DeCicco (Pittsburgh) and safety Winston Venable (Boise State).

Sanzenbacher set himself apart early in camp with his reliable hands, precise route running and the ability to learn all three of the Bears' wide receiver positions. He seemed satisfied after Thursday night's preseason finale.

"I think it was solid," the 5-11, 180-pounder said of his preseason and training camp. "Obviously I've yet to play a perfect game, so you can't say that. But it was nice to get out there and be able to get the ball in your hands a little bit and we got a ton of opportunities, get a ton of stuff on film."

Coach Lovie Smith noticed Sanzenbacher early on, and he continued to show up on a regular basis.

"He's impressed us just about every day in some form," Smith said. "He's a good football player, and he's been that way throughout camp."

--Coaches liked the versatility provided by Purdue tight end/H-back Kyle Adams, who also can play fullback and is expected to help on special teams.

The 6-4, 255-pound Adams isn't exactly sure how he'll be used, and he doesn't care.

"I know special teams are huge," he said. "I know as an undrafted rookie, that's a huge opportunity. I'll do whatever they ask me. I'll kick if they want me to, and I can't kick. But if they want me to, I will, because this is just awesome. I don't mind at all."


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