No Surprise, Bears Release Tucker

The only thing that held Rex Tucker back was a streak of bad luck that landed him on IR for three consecutive seasons because of three different injuries. The Bears decided that it was time to cut ties with the former Pro Bowl alternate.

Tucker had started 21 straight games at left guard before suffering a dislocated left ankle and fractured left fibula against the Packers on Oct. 7, 2002. Tucker came back in 2003, but torn tendons in his right ankle in the final preseason game prevented him from playing during the regular season. He was back at training camp last year until he dislocated left elbow sidelined him for six weeks.

The Texas A&M product started five games at right guard after missing 33 consecutive contests, but was ineffective. Whether it the poor performance was due to rust or still being hurt was answered when Tucker went on Injured Reserve on Dec. 14.

Drafted by Chicago in the third round in 1999, Tucker started 27 of 35 games played during his six seasons with the Bears. He started a career-high 16 games at left guard while being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2001, but finished each of the last three seasons on IR. Tucker played in just 11 combined games for the Bears over the last three seasons, starting 10.

The Bears have added two potential starters on the offensive line through free agency, in Fred Miller and Roberto Garza.

Miller is slated to start at right tackle and Garza will be given a chance to compete for a starting role at right guard.

Tucker's release saves the Bears the $1.9 million salary he was due this season but will cost them $670,000 against the salary cap for the prorated portion of his $4.5 million signing bonus from a seven-year $20 million deal he signed at the end of the 2001 campaign.

The Bears also announced that restricted free agent Terrence Metcalf signed his one-year tender offer worth $656,000.

The 6-3, 318-pounder is expected to challenge for a starting role after he established career highs with 13 games played and five starts for the Bears last season

The fourth-year offensive lineman has played in 33 career games with seven starts for Chicago since being drafted in the third round by the Bears in 2002.

Metcalf was the last of the team's restricted free agents to sign his one-year tender offer. S Bobby Gray, tight ends John Owens and John Gilmore and OL Steve Edwards had agreed to terms earlier.

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