Brown in for the long haul

Lake Forest - The Bears biggest off-season priority on defense has been taken care of three weeks before Christmas. The team inked Alex Brown to a five-year extension.

The extension takes Brown through the 2009 season. The contract is worth $15 million with a signing bonus of $5.5 million. The team has been working on a new deal with Brown, who would have been a restricted free agent at season's end.

Brown leads the team with 5.5 sacks, which equals his personal-best. The former fourth-round pick has 13.5 sacks in 42 games including starting 36 of the last 37.

The six-foot3, 262-pound Brown also paces the defensive line with 55 tackles. The University of Florida product is tied for the team lead with a career-high eight tackles for loss.

November was a productive month for Brown, as he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week following his four-sack performance against the New York Giants.

The Bears traded Marty Booker and a third-round choice for DE Adewale Ogunleye in late August because they didn't feel they had an end to fit in Lovie Smith's system. Ogunleye, who was a restricted free agent and contract holdout in Miami, received a six-year $33.4 million deal from the Bears.

In his third season with Chicago, Brown has also totaled 183 tackles, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, 17 tackles for loss and 10 pass break-ups.

The Bears now have all 11 defensive starters signed through at least 2005.


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