Harris Makes Dash for Cash, Allen could be next

The Bears took their first major hit in free agency as Walt Harris agreed to a five-year, $15 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts. The deal includes a $3 million signing bonus.

The team cast doubt on whether or not Harris would return last August when general manager Jerry Angelo signed Jerry Azumah to a four-year contract extension that included a $2.5 million signing bonus. When the Bears re-signed top corner, R.W. McQuarters, to a five-year deal worth $21 million, Harris' fate was sealed.

Harris, who was the Bears' first-round draft choice in 1996, started 14 games at cornerback last season and had one interception, which he returned 39-yards for a touchdown. In six seasons with the Bears Harris started 84 of 88 games, while picking off 15 balls returning three for scores. However, 11 of those interceptions came in his first three seasons in Chicago. His production dipped over the past three years, which made him expendable.

Harris turned down a four-year, $10 million offer from the Bengals in 2001 to return to the Bears for a one-year, $1.6 million deal.

Chicago could soon lose another member of the secondary. Bears strong safety Tony Parrish, who had visited the Miami Dolphins last week, but Miami used salary-cap space in its trade for Ricky Williams and re-signing safety Brock Marion. They have decided to stay with third-year player Arturo Freeman at strong safety.

Tennessee is trying to schedule a visit with Parrish.

Running back James Allen visited Houston last week but hasn't signed a contract.


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