Bears Release Pair of Linebackers

With mini-camp opening Friday, the Bears did a bit of housecleaning by releasing linebackers Justin Smith and Josh Dean on Tuesday. With the June 1st cut date looming, are there more roster moves on the horizon?

Both players were signed after the regular season and allocated by the Bears to play in the 2006 NFL Europe season. Smith recorded 15 tackles and one fumble recovery for the Hamburg Sea Devils, while Dean registered 17 tackles and one interception for the Cologne Centurions.

It appears a surprise is unlikely to come out of Halas Hall on Thursday. The only player that could be on the chopping block with the June 1st cut date is DL Michael Haynes.

The former first round draft pick has been in Coach Lovie Smith's doghouse for much of the last two years. He appeared in just 10 games last year, but was inactive four of the last seven contests including the playoff game against Carolina. He has since asked to be traded or released.

Before teams make their cuts, here are the best players currently available in free agency.

Quarterback
Kerry Collins
Tommy Maddox
Jay Fiedler
Tony Banks
Shane Matthews
Jeff Blake
Ty Detmer
Craig Krenzel

Running Back
Jonathan Wells
Lamar Gordon
Stephen Davis
Mike Cloud
James Jackson
J.R. Redmond

Fullback
Jarrod Baxter
Nick Luchey
Omar Easy

Wide Receiver
Kevin Johnson
Dez White
Az-Zahir Hakim
Patrick Johnson
Johnnie Morton
Ricky Proehl

Tight End
Boo Williams
Lamont Hall
Roland Williams
Cam Cleeland
Shad Meier

Guard
Ron Stone
Kendyl Jacox
Victor Riley (OT)
Fred Weary
Tom Nutten
Tupe Peko

Offensive Tackle
Brad Hopkins (LT)
Orlando Brown
Matt Stinchcomb
Ethan Brooks
Jacob Rogers
Scott Gragg

Center
Jeff Mitchell
Cory Raymer

Kicker
Todd Peterson
Paul Edinger
Jose Cortez

Punter
Kyle Richardson
Tom Tupa
Sean Landeta

Defensive Tackle
Brenston Buckner
Dan Wilkinson
Jason Fisk
Grady Jackson
James Reed
Lance Legree (DE)
Steve Martin
Josh Williams
Jerry Deloach
Junior Ioane

Defensive End
Duane Clemons
Gary Walker (DT in 4-3)
Adrian Dingle
Carl Powell (DT)

Inside Linebacker
Rocky Calmus
Earl Holmes
Chris Claiborne (WLB)
Saleem Rasheed
Ronald McKinnon

Outside Linebacker
Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB)
Tommy Polley (WLB)
Chad Brown (SLB/WLB)
Peter Boulware (SLB)
Junior Seau (WLB, SLB)
DeLawrence Grant (SLB)
Nate Wayne (WLB)

Cornerback
Ahmed Plummer
Ty Law
Dexter McCleon
Will Peterson
Ralph Brown
Ray Mickens
Willie Williams
Dewayne Washington
Dale Carter
Terry Fair

Safety
Antuan Edwards
Brent Alexander
Lance Schulters
Keion Carpenter
Ronnie Heard
Earl Little
Jerry Wilson
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Bracy Walker
John Howell


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