Bears-Packers Personnel News

As Paul Edinger's future in Chicago is uncertain, the other half of the kicking game is locked up through 2010. Punter Brad Maynard signed a five-year extension with the Bears on Friday.

Maynard, a first-alternate for the Pro Bowl, inked a five-year extension that adds to the five-year deal he originally signed with Chicago as a free agent in 2001.

The deal is reportedly worth $7.6 million, including the largest signing bonus ever for a punter, $1.8 million.

Entering the season finale, Maynard is averaging a career-high 38.8 net yards per punt that ranks second in the NFL while recording 31 punts inside-the-20.

RB Anthony Thomas will almost certainly pull on a Bear jersey for the last time this Sunday against the Packers. Thomas is a free agent at the end of the season and is ready to leave town.

"I'm happy in a way and I'm sad in a way," he said. "It's hard to move on. I've been here since the beginning, so now it's time just to move on, a changing of the guard. It's time for somebody else to come in and time for me to move on."

Thomas will exit as the franchise's fifth all-time leading rusher with more than 3,300 yards. He also won the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2001, when he ran for a team rookie record, 1,183 yards.

--RB Adrian Peterson is the No. 2 running back behind Thomas Jones. He has moved ahead of Thomas.

--With DE Adewale Ogunleye (lower right leg/ankle) and FB Bryan Johnson (right foot) moved to the IR list, the Bears promoted DE Quinn Dorsey from the practice squad to the active roster.

--FB Keith Belton was signed by the Bears from the Lions' practice squad.

--QB Chad Hutchinson can improve his standing among head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo with a solid game against Green Bay. Hutchinson has completed 72-of-132 passes for 707 yards with four TDs and two interceptions in the last four games.

--DE Alex Brown (hamstring) was removed from the injury report and will play vs. Green Bay.

--WR Justin Gage (foot) has fully recovered and has been removed from the injury report. Gage's size (6-4) and leaping ability could come into play against the Packers' vulnerable secondary. However, Gage has largely been a disappointment this season.

--Hard-hitting S Bobby Gray has recovered from his quad injury and has been removed from the injury list.

--MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer was able to practice Friday after missing work the previous two days. He's listed as questionable as a result of an ankle injury. However, with Brian Urlacher out for the year it is very likely that Hillenmeyer will be in the starting lineup vs. Green Bay.

--Rookie DT Tommie Harris missed consecutive days of practice with an ankle injury, but was able to go on Friday. Harris has started all 15 games and will make every effort to stay in the lineup. Harris is officially listed as probable.

PACKERS PERSONNEL NEWS
QB Brett Favre served as a pallbearer at Reggie White's funeral Thursday in North Carolina and missed practice later in the day. There's no question Favre will start Sunday in Chicago, but coach Mike Sherman refused to say how long he will play. "I understand - well, I don't understand - you have to protect players," he said. "If I get hurt this week, I get hurt. I'd love to play. We have to continue to get better at things."

--NT Grady Jackson would appear to be a prime candidate to sit out Sunday. Jackson missed another day of practice Thursday with a chronic knee problem. Colin Cole would replace him in Chicago.

--WR Robert Ferguson (head, neck) was declared out of his second straight game.

--RB Najeh Davenport, who is questionable with a shoulder injury, practiced Thursday and might be available. The Packers undoubtedly would like to get Ahman Green off the field early Sunday to protect his broken ribs.

--C Scott Wells might start this week in Chicago and, if he plays well, in the playoffs. Veteran Grey Ruegamer has a lot more experience than the rookie but had a bad game last week against Minnesota rookie NT Spencer Johnson. "Wells has excellent technique and terrific balance and body control," offensive line coach Larry Beightol said. "That was a terrific pick (in the seventh round) by coach (Mike) Sherman and the scouting staff. He has some quicks."


Bear Report Top Stories