Haynes on the Way Out

While the Bears are busy planning for free agency and the draft, it appears DE Michael Haynes will be in another uniform next season.

Haynes was inactive on five occasions during the regular season and finished with 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The low point came when Jamaal Green, who was activated from the practice squad after the regular season, suited up for the playoff loss to Carolina as Haynes watched from the sideline.

On more than one occasion during the season, Haynes voiced his displeasure about his lack of playing time and openly wondered if he had a future in Chicago.

Even with the writing on the wall, on Thursday general manger Jerry Angelo said the team is willing to go to training camp with Haynes.

"We made an investment in a player and I believe you play your investments out," Angelo said. "Is that 100 percent sure he's gonna be on our team's opening day roster? I can't guarantee that either.

"But he's on our team and he has talent. If he continues to work, that's a big part of it. Hopefully he's motivated. I can't speak for Mike, but he has talent, he is here and we're always looking out for the best interest of this team."

It would seem it's time for both sides to move on. The problem is the Bears have diminished Haynes' value by letting him sit on the bench. Teams inquired about him at the trade deadline, but now the Bears may release him if no one offers a draft choice.

The return investment on the 14th overall pick in the 2003 draft has been minimal at best. Haynes has played in 43 games with 4 starts and just 5.5 sacks.

Part of the problem is that six-foot-4, 274-pounder seemed to be a perfect fit for the previous defensive system, but after his rookie season the coaching staff changed and so did the defensive philosophy.

Angelo fired Jauron and hired Lovie Smith as head coach. Smith emphasized speed on defense and big ends that could stop the run were a liability. Despite attempts to acquire pass rushing ends in the off-season, the Bears went to camp with Haynes and Alex Brown as their starters.

However, with a chance to further evaluate Haynes the Bears decided to trade for Adewale Ogunleye. The move signaled Haynes' was on borrowed time.

"Very disappointed, partly because I know he's a good player," Angelo said of the way Haynes career has gone in Chicago. "We talked about guys fitting into the schemes. When we drafted Mike we were in a different scheme. Really we were the antithesis of what we are now.

"Now is that to exonerate him not playing because of the scheme, No. Part of it, he needed to get better at certain things but he didn't. He's got the tools. We talked about him this off-season. I'm a little more disappointed than he is. Sometimes those things happen. Like we said, we got into the third year and we didn't see a big advance."

The chances of Haynes getting a fourth season to prove himself with the Bears are slim.


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