Cruel Twist

Bears wide receiver Jamin Elliott is still waiting for a ring from the New England Patriots - a Super Bowl ring that is.

Elliott was originally a sixth-round pick of the Bears in 2002 and played in two games while spending time on the active roster and the practice squad. He also was a favorite target of former receivers coach Todd Haley's criticisms, but Elliott said the frequent tongue-lashings helped him improve as a player.

When he was cut by the Bears before the start of the 2003 regular season, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder hooked on with the Patriots. He spent most of the regular season and the postseason on the practice squad but was active for and played in one game during the regular season. However, Elliott did not receive an invitation to the home of Patriots owner Bob Kraft last Sunday, where the ring ceremony for the Super Bowl XXXVIII victory over the Carolina Panthers was held.

"I'm in the dark as much as you are," Elliott said last week "I have no idea. I found out (last) Friday, and the ceremony was on Sunday. I was wondering why I didn't get an invite and I said, 'Man, maybe I put the wrong address down for my offseason home.' I didn't know. So I called (head coach Bill) Belichick's secretary (Berj Najarian) and left a message on his phone Friday night. He called me back Saturday morning, and he said, 'I was told you wouldn't be receiving a ring this year.' "

Elliott was re-signed by the Bears for two years on Feb. 18 after his contract with the Patriots expired. He thinks that might have something to do with his New England snub. His agent, Anthony Agnone, has written to the Patriots and will file a grievance with the league if necessary.

"I think they might have excluded me because I signed with the Bears," Elliott said. "They wanted to re-sign me, but I was told to stay away from them for a little bit and look at other offers and see what was out there; if maybe there was a better opportunity for me."

The Bears, in need of someone with Elliott's speed, provided what seemed to him like a better chance to get on the field.

"I waited and the Bears came with a pretty good offer," he said. "I thought it would be a great situation for me to come back here and have a fresh start, really start over without Haley screaming at me. And the Patriots, they have a bunch of young guys. I probably would have been on the team, but I would have been playing special teams, and I wanted to get on the field and play a little more. I thought Chicago was a better situation to do that."

Elliott faces a crowded situation in Chicago. But with David Terrell continuing to disappoint, and second-year players Bobby Wade and Justin Gage perhaps a year away despite promising rookie seasons, Elliott could get his wish, even if he doesn't get his ring.


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