Fletcher among cuts

LAKE FOREST, IL - The Bears waived sixth-round pick tight end Bryan Fletcher Monday. He is the first of the Bears draft choices to cut, but Fletcher could still have a future with the team.

Head coach Dick Jauron said the decision had to do with the team having four veterans battling for the playing time at tight end, but it was also based on performance.

"Now, with Fletch (Bryan Fletcher) he didn't get much of a chance to perform he got hurt in our mini-camp in the spring (April) and he missed time," Jauron said. "We really like the young guy. He just wasn't going to be able to compete for a job at this point. We think that he has a possible future."

At 6-5, 235 pounds Fletcher needs time to develop a tight end's body on the NFL level and could be marked for the five-man practice squad, if no other teams pick up the tight end.

The other four players that were waived Monday are linebacker Kiah Johnson, fullback Gregg Kellett, fullback Mike Leach and linebacker Devin Lemons, reducing their roster to 76.

Nate Jacquet, who injured his ankle Friday against the Jaguars, is expected to reach an injury settlement with the Bears Tuesday, which would reduce the roster to 75.

Tuesday, August 27, marks the NFL's mandatory cutdown day to a 65-man roster and the Bears, who have eight NFL Europe exemptions, must reduce their active roster by three before the Tuesday deadline. The eight NFL Europe exemptions for the Bears are wide receiver Kenny Christian, tackle Damion Cook, linebacker Tim Johnson, quarterback Ken Mastrole, safety Than Merrill, wide receiver Ramondo North, linebacker Mawuko Tugbenyoh and tackle Josh Warner.

Next Sunday, Sept. 1, each NFL team must narrow its roster to 53 by 4:00 PM EST. On Monday, Sept. 2, a five-man practice squad may be established after 4:00 PM EST. To be eligible for the practice squad, a player must not have an accrued season towards free agency. If a player does have an accrued season, he still is eligible for the practice squad if he was not on the active or inactive list for more than nine regular-season games.

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