Howard played in 35 games for the Bears during past three seasons, starting nine contests in 2002 while finishing in the top three on the team in special teams tackles each of the past two years. The 5-10, 232 pounder out of Notre Dame notched 57 tackles, two tackles for a loss and half a sack in 2002 and had three tackles on defense led the special teams units with five stops through three games this season.
Hillenmeyer, a fifth-round selection (166th overall) of the Green Bay Packers in the 2003 NFL Draft, made the Packers' opening-day roster, was a gameday inactive in the season opener versus the Vikings and was waived by Green Bay (9/10) before the Bears signed him to the practice squad on Sept 13. The 6-4, 238 pounder out of Vanderbilt started 23 of 45 games played for the Commodores during his four-year career, tallying 249 tackles (165 solo), six and a half sacks and defended seven passes while forcing two fumbles and recovering four. As a senior, he led the nation in tackles per game (14.0) and unassisted stops per game (9.67), totaling 116 unassisted tackles with 168 stops overall.