Final Cuts Made, Practice Squad Established

The Bears made their final roster decisions over the weekend, saying goodbye to 10 players on Saturday and placing one more on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Most notably, 2003 first-round pick Michael Haynes was released after a disappointing three-year Chicago career. On Sunday, the Bears named five players to the practice squad.

The roster is set for the Bears heading into Week 1 at Green Bay. Nine players were released on Saturday while another had his contract terminated. Safety Brandon McGowan, who tore his ACL in last season's final game at Minnesota, was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and must sit out the first six weeks of the regular season.

The biggest name to clean out his locker is Michael Haynes, the 14th overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft. After a preseason full of trade speculation, position changes, and a nagging back injury, the former Nittany Lion has seen his last day in a Bears uniform. It's hard to judge Haynes's career to date as anything more than a disappointment. The team asked him to put on some weight after last season and move from defensive end to defensive tackle in an effort to find a role for him, but he just never fit well with head coach Lovie Smith's system. The breakout performance of Antonio Garay during training camp made Haynes even more expendable.

Other players released on Saturday were fullback Keith Belton, defensive end Jamaal Green, offensive tackle Mark LeVoir, tailback P.J. Pope, offensive guard Tyler Reed, punter Joel Stelly, linebacker Rod Wilson, and tight end Cooper Wallace. The Bears also terminated the contract of free agent signee wide receiver Alex Bannister, who battled a groin injury since the day he arrived in Bourbonnais.

On Sunday, the Bears brought back five players who cleared waivers and named them to the practice squad: Green, LeVoir, Pope, Reed, and Wilson. The team currently has three of the eight allowed practice squad spots still available.


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