For Namesake

LAKE FOREST -- Luke Butkus wanted to get drafted, but this might be the second-best thing.

The former center at Illinois didn't get his name called in the draft this weekend. He did, however, find the perfect home as a free agent -- the Bears.

"They called late in the seventh round, and said if I wasn't drafted they'd love to have me aboard," Butkus said. "It's like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulder."

Butkus is one of ten undrafted free agents the Bears signed following the draft. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Chicago signed Mike Collins OG (6-6 292) Wake Forest, Curry Dawson DT (6-6 280) Angelo State, Steve Fitts P (6-0 192) Illinois, Eric McCoo RB (5-10 209) Penn State, Rod Jones DT (6-2 290) Alabama Birmingham, Tony Lukins CB (5-11 186) New Mexico State, Edell Shepherd WR (6-1 170) San Jose State, Adrian Singleton SS (6-2 210) Alabama Birmingham, Dave Volk OT (6-5 300) Nebraska.

Butkus, a 6-foot-4, 290-pounder, is the nephew of former Bears great and Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.

"I couldn't believe it was the Bears," Butkus said. "Here's a team I grew up loving. It's the hometown team."

Butkus said he feels good about his chances of making the squad. The Bears did draft two offensive lineman on Saturday, taking Boston College tackle Marc Colombo in the first round and Mississippi guard Terrence Metcalf in the third round. However, the Bears don't have a true backup to center Olin Kreutz.

"I have to make the team first, but I hope to learn from Olin and see what happens," Butkus said. "I had some other options, but after I looked around I really felt this was my best fit in making a team."

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