Samuel's Production Wasn't Special

When Khari Samuel was inactive for the Vikings game Dick Jauron explained the decision as an opportunity to see young players. Considering Samuel is only in his third year in the NFL his job security became in doubt.

Samuel, acquired in the fifth round of the 1999 draft, had appeared in 30 games with one start. However, he wasn't producing in his primary role as a special teams player and as a backup linebacker there isn't anything more important. In the end his lack of consistency on special teams cost Samuel his roster spot with the Bears.

"We had a number of conversations with Khari," Jauron said. "He has a lot of physical ability and he has athletic ability. He's got talent and he's shown it at times. But we needed it more consistently on [special] teams and on defense. He was backing up Brian (Urlacher) and the odds of him getting on the field or getting by Brian were not real good. But he has enough ability to show more than he did, particularly on special teams."

Jauron said Samuel was cut due to poor play on special teams, but also to make room for a player the staff thinks can contribute in the future.

"Then really it was a chance to get a young player that we felt might have a future in the league with us in Damion Cook," Jauron said. "He's a big talent, we think, so it was worth our while to give another guy a chance."

The Bears signed Cook, an as offensive tackle. He was a member of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad and joined the team as an undrafted free agent from Bethune-Cookman.

Jauron said a change might Samuel some good, but the team couldn't wait any longer for him to produce. The backup middle linebacker will now be either Bobbie Howard or Rosevelt Colvin.

Colvin, who played the position at the beginning of the 2000 season before Urlacher took the job, is the starting strong side linebacker, but could fill in at the middle in an emergency as he. Howard would be the more likely backup. He is the second string weak linebacker behind Warrick Holdman and has some experience at the middle.

Still, Howard said he was surprised by the release of Samuel, but believes his job isn't secure despite making a key stop against the Vikings on Mitch Berger's pass attempt on a fake punt.

"The way I look at things I think when you get to the point when your comfortable you're in trouble, so I'm never really comfortable"

In other news Jauron said when the team travels to Atlanta the best case scenario for Shane Matthews would be as the team's third quarterback. His rib muscle injury is being reevaluated on a daily basis.

"He could be available possibly for very limited duty, very limited," Jauron said. "We're just going to have to wait and see on that. My understanding is that as it goes along it'll almost always be Thursday or Friday. They'll evaluate him again. He still has some problems twisting and throwing the ball. We're talking very limited action."

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