Daniels and Stewart, two opening day starters from last season, would have seen their roles diminish greatly if they had stayed in Chicago.
"We decided to release Phillip and Kordell because it was in the best interest of all parties," Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo said Monday in a press release. "Both players gave maximum effort during their tenure with the Bears, but our recent philosophical changes on offense and defense do not fit their skill sets as well as the previous systems did. By releasing them before the start of free agency each will have the opportunity to pursue a better match on the open market. We wish them both the best."
Daniels, who just completed his eighth NFL season and fourth with the Bears, tied for second on the team with 2.5 sacks in 2003 while making 64 tackles which ranked tied for second among defensive linemen. The 6-5, 285 pounder was originally drafted by Seattle in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL draft and joined the Bears as an unrestricted free agent in 2000. He started 59 games in four seasons with the Bears (including the last 27 in a row) and made 255 tackles, forced four fumbles and had 23 sacks.
Stewart, signed by the Bears as a waived free agent (Pittsburgh) in 2003, played in nine games for Chicago in 2003 with seven starts. He finished the season as the team leader in completions (126), passing yards (1,418), attempts (251) and touchdown passes (seven) and ranked second on the team with 290 rushing yards. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round (60th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft.