Roster Shuffle

Lake Forest – A decision has finally been made on WR Airese Currie. The rookie receiver has been elevated to the 53-man roster, while the Bears waived WR Carl Ford and QB Kurt Kittner.

Currie spent the first 10 games of the season on the physically unable to perform list following surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. The speedy wideout could add something in the passing game, but to be active on game day he will have to contribute on special teams.

"I think I can help on special teams in a number of ways, whether it be at gunner, returner, at corner," Currie said. "I think I can help at everything. I think I can be a gunner. That's all release. After getting off the line it's all just desire to make the play."

At this point, the Bears are preaching patience with Currie because he's coming off a hamstring injury.

Ford tallied four special teams tackles through ten games this season. Originally drafted in the seventh round by Green Bay in 2003, Ford spent the entire 2004 season on Chicago's practice squad.

The return of Rex Grossman forced the move with Kittner, who has been the third quarterback on the depth chart all season. Grossman will now take that job and will likely move into the backup role as he regains mobility.

"Rex is a good player," Smith said. "We have three good quarterbacks right now. He makes the position stronger."

The Bears currently have an open roster spot, which could be used to re-sign Eddie Berlin. The five-year veteran receiver was given an injury settlement after suffering a partially torn groin muscle in the preseason. He became eligible to sign with the Bears again last week.

"We have some options later on but we're just going to go like we are right now," Smith said.

Hall Call
Defensive end Richard Dent is among 25 semi-finalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In his fourth year of eligibility, he's been a semi-finalist each of the last three years and reached finalist status in each of the last two years.

Dent is known as one of the best pass rushers of his era. He's the Bears' all-time sacks leader with 124.5, and was MVP of Super Bowl XX. He spent 12 of his 15 years in a Bears uniform and recorded double-digit sack totals eight times. His career total of 137.5 sacks ranks fifth in NFL history behind only Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Kevin Greene, and Chris Doleman.

The Bears have more NFL Hall of Famers than any other franchise. The number currently stands at 26 members. Three players from the 1985 team are already in Canton: defensive lineman Dan Hampton, middle linebacker Mike Singletary and running back Walter Payton. Dent would join his teammates if he can reach the magic number of 80 percent of the vote necessary for induction.

The list of 15 finalists will be announced in mid-January with the class of 2006 to be announced on February 4, in Detroit, Michigan, the day before Super Bowl XL.


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