Bears Sure Up O-Line Depth

Lake Forest - Looking to add depth and versatility on the offensive line, the Bears signed Lennie Friedman to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

After signing with the Bears as a waived free agent on Nov. 29, Friedman played one game for the Bears in 2005, the season finale at Minnesota. He suffered a left knee injury in the contest, which required microfracture surgery, but is expected to be healthy by training camp.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Friedman has started 22 of 34 career games played with the Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins and Chicago. He can play both guard and center. The Duke product was originally drafted by Denver in the second round (61st overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.

John St. Clair appears close to signing a three-year with the Bears. After joining the team in Week 2, he started at left and right tackle during the season. He would backup both spots in 2006, while the team could also add a tackle prospect in the draft.

It's Official
The Bears also announced Ron English as the team's new defensive backs coach. He becomes the third different man to coach the position in as many years.

English spent the previous three seasons (2003-05) in the same capacity at the University of Michigan. During his time at Ann Arbor he mentored future pros, such as CB Marlin Jackson and S Earnest Shazor.

It took 13 years of coaching for English to get his break at the professional level. Despite interest from other NFL teams, English chose the Bears because of their talent in the secondary and the reputation of the franchise.

"They're really the No. 1 defense in the NFL," English told The Associated Press. "They have young guys in the secondary that are under contract. And the organization along with Lovie Smith are as respected as anyone.

"Typically, coaches in my position have to break in with a struggling team, so to get this opportunity with a good, improving team is tremendous."

A four-year letterman and a senior starter at California-Berkeley from 1987-90, English began his coaching career in 1992 at Ganesha High School. He then moved on to Mt. San Antonio College (1993), Arizona State (1994-95, 1997-01), Northern Arizona (1996) and San Diego State (1996-97).

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