Letting Colombo Go Tough on Angelo

Lake Forest – The Bears spent nearly two years waiting for Marc Colombo to get back on the field after a career threatening knee injury. Once he returned to the field, there wasn't enough progress to continue the relationship, which has worn on GM Jerry Angelo.

"The decision was very difficult. Unfortunately it's just part of the business," Angelo said. "Given Marc's situation -- he had a horrific injury -- for really a good 2 1/2 years, to watch his dedication and his work ethic, there were doubts he would ever play again.

"So getting him back and going and then obviously having to do what we did yesterday was very, very tough."

The decision was especially hard because Colombo was Angelo's first draft selection as general manager of the Bears. He used the 29th pick in the 2002 draft on the tackle coming out of Boston College.

The six-foot-8, 317-pounder started five games as a rookie before dislocating his kneecap against the Rams on Nov. 18, 2002. During his absence the word "retirement" was mentioned on more than one occasion.

During a disappointing 7-9 season in Lovie Smith's first year as head coach, Colombo served as an inspiration. In his first game back in nearly two years, he blocked a field goal against the Tennessee Titans at the end of regulation that allowed the Bears to get a win in overtime.

There is some question if the 26-year-old Colombo will be able to catch on with another franchise.

"Personally, it hurt when you tell a player his dream has been stopped for a while, but we had to do what was best for our football team and we felt like this was what was best at this time and hopefully it will work out for Marc, too," Smith said.

New Blood
John St. Clair made his Bear debut in practice on Wednesday. The veteran will be the swing tackle behind starters John Tait and Fred Miller.

St. Clair, who had other teams pursuing him, said head coach Lovie Smith played a part in his decision to sign with the Bears. The two spent three years together in St. Louis.

"I had a decision, it's not like (I was) sitting out waiting on somebody to call," St. Clair said. "So I'm just happy to be here man and be a part of the organization."

Return Games
Jerry Azumah didn't practice on Wednesday and is probable for Sunday's contest with the Lions. While he's expected to play, if Azumah does not return kickoffs the responsibility will again fall to Mark Bradley, who averaged 17.5 yards on four returns.

"He's still hitting them hard, I like the way he's hitting (the hole), we just need to do a better a job blocking," said special teams coach Dave Toub.

Bernard Berrian remains the top choice to return punts because of his ability to secure the football. He averaged negative 1.5 yards on two attempts against Washington and also made a questionable decision on an attempted reverse that resulted in a fumble.

Rashied Davis averaged 13.5 yards in the preseason, but has muffed punts in practice, which has made the coaching staff shy away from using him in the regular season.

"It's all about how you practice and he just wasn't real consistent," Toub said. "We like Rashied after the catch, but he's got to be able to make the catch first, that's the most important thing."

Injury Report
Muhsin Muhammad sat out practice with a sore side. He's expected to return to the field on Thursday and is listed as probable.

For the lions, Guard Damien Woody (shoulder) is probable. K Jason Hanson (hamstring), LB Teddy Lehman (knee) and LB Alex Lewis (ankle) are all questionable. QB Jeff Garcia (leg) and FB Cory Schlesinger (fibula) are out.


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