Bears try to gauge Gage

When the Bears traded up to select <!--Default NodeId For Justin Gage is 738198,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:738198]>Justin Gage</A> in the fifth-round of April's draft, GM <!--Default NodeId For Jerry Angelo is 834647,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:834647]>Jerry Angelo</A> said the receiver should push <!--Default NodeId For David Terrell is 722209,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722209]>David Terrell</A> for playing time. The first step in the process came Friday as Gage signed a four-year deal.

"I hope (Gage) comes in and he challenges some people," Angelo said following the draft. "He's got measurables like David, he's competitive and I'd like to see him and David go at it a little bit and we'll see the best man win."

Gage's deal is worth $1.5 million, and he will receive a $153,000 signing bonus. He's the fifth of the Bears' 12 2003 draft picks to agree to terms, joining fourth-round pick Todd Johnson, sixth-round picks LB Joe Odom and RB Brock Forsey and seventh-round selection Bryan Anderson who each signed earlier this summer.

Gage (5th round, 143rd overall) was a three-time all-Big Twelve Conference wide receiver in four years at Missouri (1999-2002) while playing on the Tigers basketball team during his first three seasons. The 6-4, 208 pounder started each of Mizzou's 34 games during his final three years, finishing with 200 catches for 2,704 yards and 18 TDs while leading the team in receiving each year. As a senior, he established a single-season school record with 82 receptions for 1,075 yards and nine touchdowns, setting a single-game school record with 16 catches versus Bowling Green while equaling his career high with 236 receiving yards.

The team still has seven draft picks to sign before camp opens on July 25. The biggest hurdle is to get their two top picks signed in defensive end Michael Haynes (1st round, 14th overall) and quarterback Rex Grossman (1st, 22nd).

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