Search for Linebacker Help Continues

The Bears have made no secret that they would like add another linebacker to the mix. It appears the pursuit is picking up a notch as the first player has been brought to Halas Hall.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that LB Anthony Simmons visited Halas Hall on Wednesday.

The Seahawks released Simmons in March following seven seasons in Seattle. He was due a $500,000 roster bonus. The final three years of a five-year, $23.5 million contract were voided. The deal contained a whopping $8.5 million signing bonus.

Simmons, who will turn 29 in June, was the team's first round pick in 1998. He went over the century mark in tackles three times, while starting 79 of 86 games played.

Injuries plagued much of Simmons' time with the Seahawks. In 2004 he appeared in just seven games and finished the season on Injured Reserve after he underwent wrist surgery in November. He also missed two games in October because of shoulder surgery. He missed nine starts in 2002 because of a high ankle sprain and two games in '03 with a neck injury.

According to word out of Seattle, Simmons has a reputation for being a locker room problem and on occasion clashed with coaches.

Simmons sat out another game in '03 when coach Mike Holmgren suspended him for insubordination after a verbal altercation at practice with linebackers coach John Marshall.

However, the six-foot, 242-pounder has the speed the Bears desire at linebacker and could be an affordable solution.

The ideal fit would be a two down linebacker that could provide an occasional pass rush on a blitz.

While Warrick Holdman signed with the Washington Redskins on Wednesday, Baltimore cut Peter Boulware.

Boulware is coming off a knee injury and turf toe that kept him out for the 2004 campaign. But if healthy, would likely be out of the Bears price range. He was due a base salary of $6 million, which would have been the highest on the Ravens and is the primary reason he was released.

He has four Pro Bowl appearances on his resume and 67.5 career sacks.

Kevin Hardy remains on the open market after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, but the Bears have not had any contracts with the 32-year-old.

The Bears would prefer to get a deal done with someone before they open their mini-camp next week.

However, if no one is signed Hunter Hillenmeyer will get the first chance to start at strong-side linebacker with Joe Odom and Marcus Reese also being considered.


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