Questionable Call

Since joining the Bears organization a year ago Jerry Angelo has preached players with character. However, he made an exception when he signed defensive tackle Christian Peter, who has a checkered past.

The former defensive lineman at Nebraska was arrested five times in the state on charges ranging from minor possession of alcohol to third-degree sexual assault. Two of his four convictions involved violence against women.

Peter, 6-foot-3-inch, 292 pounds, was a fifth-round pick in 1996 of the New England Patriots. But his rights were given up when the Patriots became aware he had pled guilty to assaulting a woman in 1994.

This isn't the first time Angelo has had to weigh a player's possible contribution to the team against a run in with the law. During the 2001 training camp Angelo signed kicker Jimmy Kibble to compete with Paul Edinger, but the team rescinded the contract after learning the kicker had a questionable history.

"There are three phases of the evaluation with us; obviously the on field, the off the field and then the medical history of a player," Angelo said after discovering Kibble's past. "We have to make a determination on an individual basis. It's not an across-the-board matter. I don't want you to think there's a blanket in terms of how everybody's going to be evaluated."

Angelo believes Peter has made a mends for his mistakes.

"We wanted another guy inside," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told the Chicago Tribune. "He does have a past, but it's in the past. What he has done, he has paid for. We think he has done a great job of getting his head straight."

There's no guarantee Peter will break camp with the team because he signed for the league minimum and will have to compete to win a roster spot. The Bears are set with starters Keith Traylor and Pro Bowler Ted Washington and Alfonso Boone is third on the depth chart. They signed former New York Jet Jason Wiltz, who will be Peter's main competition to make the squad.

In his five NFL seasons Peter has played in 69 games, starting 31 and collecting 3.5 sacks.

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