Secondary Search Continues

In less than a month the Bears have used free agency and the draft to upgrade the depth in the secondary. The team continued the makeover Tuesday by signing undrafted free agent cornerback Carlos Hendricks.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder participated in Chicago's rookie mini-camp from May 5-7 on a tryout basis and did enough to earn a one-year deal.

Hendricks appeared in 46 games for the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He had 160 tackles, five interceptions, 19 pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

He will have a tough time making the 53-man roster considering the amount of talent the Bears have added in the secondary this off-season. Ricky Manning, Danieal Manning and Devin Hester are all locks to make the roster along with starters Nathan Vasher, Charles Tillman, Mike Brown and Chris Harris.

The Bears also announced the release of kicker Matt Fordyce, who signed with the Bears on March 1. His only NFL experience was at training camp with the Arizona Cardinals in 2004 and 2005. Fordyce was waived following each camp.

It appears to be a two-man derby between Robbie Gould and undrafted free agent Josh Huston for the placekicking duties.

Although Gould connected on 21-of-27 field goals as a rookie, he struggled from beyond 40 yards, going 3-of-8 from that range. As a senior at Ohio State, Huston hit 22-of-28 field goals but converted just 5-of-10 past 40 yards.

Alumni News
While no Bears will be enshrined in Canton this August, a former player is headed is Hall of Fame bound.

QB Mike Phipps spent five years (1977-1981) in Chicago. His best season with the Bears came in 1979 when he passed for 1,535 yards and nine touchdowns, as the team went 10-6 on their way to the playoffs.

However, it's Phipps accomplishments at Purdue that earned him the honor. From 1967-69, he led the Boilermakers to three straight 8-2 seasons. As a senior, Phipps finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting after passing for 2,527 yards and 23 touchdowns, which were both school records at the time.

The two-time All-Big Ten first-team pick is part of a class that includes two coaches and 13 players. Phipps will join running backs Emmitt Smith from Florida and Mike Rozier of Nebraska, as well as former Virginia Tech defensive end Bruce Smith. Current coaches Bobby Bowden from Florida State and Penn State's Joe Paterno also headline the class.

The induction ceremony is on Dec. 5 in New York City with enshrinement at the hall in South Bend to come in the summer of 2007.


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