Bears Add Running Back Depth

Lake Forest - Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson will be the headline competition in training camp, but another battle is in the works. The backfield got a little deeper on Tuesday, when Antoineo Harris signed a two-year deal.

Harris tried out for the team during their recent three-day mini-camp.

It's unsure at this point if Harris will be able to make a serious run at the 53-man roster. He's been out of football for more than a year after San Diego waived him in March of 2004.

Harris signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

The 5-10, 217-pounder has the benefit of knowing Ron Turner's offensive system because he played under him for four seasons at Illinois.

Harris is the second-leading rusher in Illini history with 2,985 rushing yards on 676 carries from 1999-2002, leading the team in rushing each of his final three seasons. He set a school-record with 1,330 rushing yards in 2002. He also ranks ninth in school history with 3,116 career all-purpose yards.

Adrian Peterson is currently the third running back on the depth chart and established himself as a factor on special teams last year. For Harris to surpass him, he will have to prove effective in kick coverage.

"Really you can say special teams may be the determining factor on quite a few of the positions," said head coach Lovie Smith.

On Wednesday, the Bears will hold the first of 13 practices in June.


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