On Second Thought

The Bears went to a lot of trouble in an attempt to steer D'Wayne Bates from signing with the Vikings, but it was all for not as the receiver was claimed off waivers by Minnesota Tuesday.

Bates, 26, has 15 receptions in his three-year career for 221 yards (14.7 avg.). He had a career-high nine receptions for 160 yards and one touchdown for Chicago in 2001, and played in 11 games with one start. Bates' top game in 2001 came at Detroit (12/30) when he had four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. He had four receptions for 42 yards in 2000 and two catches for 19 yards in 1999.

The Vikings originally signed Bates

to an offer sheet on March 27 but Chicago matched it last Wednesday. The Bears waived him the following day.

The Vikings will assume the same 3-year contract they signed Bates to last week as a restricted free agent. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bates, 6-2, 215, was selected by the Bears in the third round (71st overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Northwestern University. He set Northwestern's career records in receptions (210), yards (3,370), and touchdowns (26). Bates ended his college career second in Big Ten history in both catches and yards. He was an All-Big 10 first-team selection his senior year when he led the conference with 83 catches for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns. Bates missed his junior season with a leg injury, but was an All-Big 10 first-team selection his sophomore season when he caught 75 passes for 1,196 yards.

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