Brown happy to be seeing green

The Bears have several questions heading into the 2003 campaign, but <!--Default NodeId For Mike Brown is 722153,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722153]>Mike Brown</A>'s future is no longer in doubt. The team agreed to a six-year extension with the safety Thursday.

The deal runs through 2008 is worth about $17.5 million with a signing bonus of $4.5 million. Brown, who was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is happy to mainstay in the Bears defense.

"This is definitely where I wanted to be," Brown said. "I'm real excited to remain a Bear. We've done a lot of good things to keep our core guys together and we expect to win games as a result. Everything was moving along well and I knew it was just a matter of time," Brown said. "I wasn't too concerned about the contract heading into the season."

Earlier in the offseason the Bears tied up Brian Urlacher to a long-term deal and then turned their attention to Brown. It looked as if nothing would get done before the start of training camp after the negotiations stalled when the Bears initially offered $12 million over five years. The team eventually upped the ante in order to lock one of their biggest playmakers.

"I feel it bodes well for both our team and the franchise," said Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. "We tried to stay consistent with our philosophy in rewarding our own, and in this case with him and Brian we were able to do that.

The fourth-year pro out of Nebraska has started 47 of the Bears last 48 contests since joining the squad in 2000 and is tied with Bennie McRae for the most defensive touchdowns in franchise history with four.

Brown, a second-round draft pick in 2000 (39th overall), led the Bears in interceptions for the second consecutive season with three picks in 2002 and ranked third on team with 111 tackles.

The 5-10, 212 pounder was an All-Pro performer in 2001 with a career-high five picks, highlighted by a three-game interception streak kicked-off by game-winning TD returns in overtime in consecutive weeks (San Francisco and Cleveland).

As a rookie, Brown led the Bears secondary with 118 tackles, becoming just the seventh Bears rookie since 1974 to record over 100 tackles.

Brown has nine career interceptions, 315 tackles, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

The Bears now have eight of 11 projected defensive starters signed through 2004 and six for at least a year beyond that.

Next up on the do-list is to get their eight unsigned draft picks locked up before the start of training camp, which opens in Bourbonnais on July 25. Only two of 32 first-round picks have signed and the Bears have two top round selections in Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman.

"We feel we're going to get them all signed," Angelo told the Chicago Tribune. "Things will start heating up getting into this weekend and next week."

Bear Report Top Stories