Bears Retain Bates

The Bears waited to the eleventh hour to decide to keep wide receiver D'Wayne Bates by matching a three-year, $2.85 million offer sheet the restricted free agent had signed seven days earlier with the Minnesota Vikings.

Bates showed promise towards the end of the season making eight receptions in the final two games of the season with his best game coming in a 24-0 win against the Lions. Bates had four receptions for 107 yards including a 28-yard touchdown catch. He could slide into the 3rd wide receiver role for the team depending on what happens with Marcus Robinson.

Bates, a 1999 third-round draft pick, has 15 career receptions for 221 yards and 1 TD. He has struggled to get on the field and was the case in 2001. Bates was inactive for until Marcus Robinson went down with a season ending injury October 21.

Bears fans have been waiting for Bates, who played collegiate ball at Northwestern, to show the kind of potential he had in college when he set school records with 210 catches, 3,370 yards and 26 scores. He was an all-Big 10 first team selection as a senior when he led the conference with 83 receptions for 1,245 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Obviously, Jerry Angelo believes Bates can produce with more playing time. The question is how is he going to get on the field with names like Marty Booker, David Terrell and Dez White ahead of him on the depth chart.

Robinson is a question mark coming off knee surgery and White has been inconsistent at best, so Bates has the opportunity to move in front of both. If Bates doesn't progress the Bears will pay him just under one million dollars a season to be a fourth or fifth receiver.

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