Teddy no longer a Bear

The entire offseason there was speculation that the Bears would shed one of their mammoth defensive tackles. Most assumed it would <!--Default NodeId For Keith Traylor is 722195,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722195]>Keith Traylor</A>, but <!--Default NodeId For Ted Washington is 722213,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722213]>Ted Washington</A> proved to be more valuable in the trade market.

It simply became a numbers game for the 12-year NFL veteran. The Bears had three proven veterans competing for playing time and taking up salary cap space, so something had to give.

"We both also knew something was going to go down because we've got too many tackles, too many older guys," Traylor said of conversations he had with Washington. "Ted's a good friend, a good player, it was just one of those situations where they had to do what they did and we can't do anything about it. He's gone and now we've just got to pick up and go on and play."

Washington signed a three-year deal with the Bears in 2001 with then Director of Personnel Mark Hatley. Soon after Washington signed, Hatley was out and the Bears hired Jerry Angelo as the General Manager.

The Bears and Washington had a banner year's. The Bears went 13-3, while Washington made his fourth Pro Bowl appearance and was the heart of the 2nd best rush defense in the NFL.

However, Washington played in only two games last year because of injury. The Bears rush defense dropped to 26th without the 6-4, 375 pound Washington.

The team moved Bryan Robinson inside toward the end of last year and he's played there since day one of training camp. The depth he brings along with Traylor and some younger players left the Bears with an expendable commodity.

"We're looking at players like (Alfonso) Boone, (Ian) Scott, (Tron) LaFavor and (Earnest) Grant," Angelo said. "So we have a number of players in there. We also have Phillip Daniels, who goes down inside in our pass rush situations."

The trade is another indication of how the defense philosophy is changing up front. The Bears are looking to get faster on the defensive line and create more of a push, something that worked well for the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Buccaneers.

"We all know that this is a copycat league," Robinson said. "Tampa Bay had some success last year with not just having fat guys up there.

Robinson has all but assured himself of a starting role with a solid training camp, but the other defensive tackle spot is still up for grabs. Traylor and Boone will compete for the role and all three will be used in a rotation.

In Washington's absence last season Brian Urlacher ability inability to come off of blocks became a hot topic. The middle linebacker refused to comment on the trade, which could show just how upset he is with the move.

"We feel like we don't need to take guys off our linebackers," Robinson said. "They've been in this system long enough. They're old enough, they know how to take on blockers and we can make plays as well."

Two years ago the Buffalo Bills were unable to get anything for Washington and in term released the veteran, but Angelo secured a fourth-round pick in next year's draft for the veteran.

Whether or not that pick is used in a potential trade for Duce Staley is yet to be determined, but either way it also gives the Bears an additional $1.6 million under the salary cap.

"Any GM worth his weight in salt is going to do and listen to anything in terms of enhancing the roster at any position," Angelo said of making any future moves.

With Washington's departure only two of five players that represented the Bears in the 2001 Pro Bowl are still with the club. Along with Washington, Larry Whigham and James "Big Cat" are out of football, while Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz remain at the core of the team.

A popular player amongst his teammates, Washington brought leadership to the team on and off the field.

"We'll miss it, but we're further along too as a team," Angelo said. "We have a good lockerroom of leaders. Ted is certainly going to be missed in that capacity. I'm not going to minimize that. On defense (we have several leaders) with (Brian) Urlacher with Mike Brown we have Phillip Daniels there."

Roster move
The Bears signed K/P Pat Dunne, claimed FB Jason McKie off waivers and waived WR Andre Forde and CB James Thornton Tuesday.

Dunne earned first team all-Midwest Conference honors as a kicker and punter as a senior at Lake Forest College. The 6-2, 185 pounder converted 14 of 22 field goal attempts including a school-record 50-yarder. He finished his career as the most prolific kicker/punter in the program's history with a school-record 176 points, 30 field goals, 86 extra points, 199 punts and 7,517 punting yards.

McKie was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad in 2002 and was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in December before being waived Tuesday. The 5-11, 239 pounder out of Temple started 26 games in four seasons for the Owls rushing for 700 yards and eight touchdowns on 169 carries.

The Bears roster currently stands at 88 players and Tuesday, Aug. 26 marks the NFL's mandatory cutdown day to a 65-man roster. The Bears will only need to trim their roster to 74 due to nine NFL Europe exemptions (Bryan Fletcher, Tyree Foreman, Teddy Gaines, Shane Grice, Jeff Grzeskowiak, Maurice Hicks, Edell Shepherd, Elijah Thurmon and Josh Warner). The following Sunday, Aug. 31, each NFL team must narrow its roster to 53 by 4:00 PM EST.


Bear Report Top Stories