Busy Day for Bears

News out of Halas Hall came fast and furious on Wednesday. The Bears inked running back Adrian Peterson to a contract extension, signed special teams ace Alex Bannister while also cutting three players.

Coming off a career year with the ball, Peterson received a three-year contract extension, which will carry through the 2009 season.

Peterson finished second on the team with 391 yards rushing on 76 carries and two touchdowns. His 5.1-yard average was the highest of among the running backs. Peterson, who appeared in all 16 games, also caught seven balls for 48 yards.

The Georgia Southern product posted a career-high seven runs of over 15 yards in 2005, including two runs of over 30 yards. One of the Bears special teams leaders over the last two seasons, he ranked third on the team in 2005 with 18 special teams tackles.

Peterson originally came to Chicago as a sixth round (199th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft.

The Bears added depth on special teams by signing Bannister to a one-year deal.

Bannister spent his first five seasons in the league with the Seattle Seahawks. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2003 as a special teams player, when he made a career-high 18 tackles.

The former fifth-round selection by the Seahawks in the 2001 NFL Draft has played in 57 career games while making four starts. Bannister owns 48 career special teams tackles. The Eastern Kentucky product has caught nine career passes for 121 yards with a one touchdown.

After playing all 16 games in each of his first three seasons, injuries have plagued Bannister. He has been limited to nine games played over the last two campaigns due to multiple clavicle injuries.

The Bears also released cornerback Chris Thompson and wide receivers C.J. Fayton and Mark Philmore, who were both undrafted free agents.

Thompson is probably best known for falling to the ground while trying to stay with Steve Smith on a 39-yard touchdown pass. After being claimed off waivers just before the start of the season from Jacksonville, Thompson played in 12 games for the Bears in 2005 and made one start. He made seven tackles and eight special teams stops.

With 10 NFL Europe exemptions, the Bears now have 86 players under contract. With four draft picks yet to sign, the team will not have to make any further roster moves to reach the maximum of 90.

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