Tight Spot

Going in to the last preseason game teams worry more about not getting anyone injured than the contest itself. However, the Bears still have job openings that have yet to be filled.

"We've got some positions that we need guys to step up and take them particularly at the backup roles," said head coach Dick Jauron.

Tight end is settled in terms of Fred Baxter being the starter and John Davis the backup, but with Bryan Fletcher being cut Tuesday that leaves Dustin Lyman and Luther Broughton for the third spot.

Jauron said there is a possibility that both could make the squad.

"We could go with four (tight ends) depending how the players play that are vying for those spots," Jauron said.

One reason the team would carry four tight ends if the fact that Daimon Shelton will be unable to play in the team's first three regular season games due to suspension. Meaning one of the tight ends could be used in the backfield as an extra blocker.

Broughton has some experience with blocking out of the backfield and at 6, 255 pounds has the body type to handle the responsibilities.

Although, Broughton admits catching the ball is more natural to him then blocking he realizes versatility can only help him make the team.

"You have to be able to do more than one thing to survive in this league," Broughton said.

Lyman, who has contributed on special teams coverage, knows this could be his last chance with the Bears.

"I knew it was going to be important for me to establish myself this year and get the coaching staff some confidence in my ability," Lyman said.

Roster Move The Bears placed wide receiver Nate Jacquet on the reserve/injured list, defensive end Roshaun Matthews on the reserve/player unable to perform list and running back Maurice Hicks on the reserve/non-football injury list Tuesday, trimming the Bears roster to 73, meeting the NFL's mandatory cutdown to a 65-man roster. The Bears are allowed to have 73 on its current roster due to eight NFL Europe exemptions (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).

Jacquet sprained his right ankle in the Bears' third preseason game of the season on Aug. 23 against Jacksonville. Matthews suffered a knee injury at the end of the coaches clinic drills in mid-June and has not participated in Bears practices since, while Hicks, an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina A&T, came to the Bears with a pre-existing knee condition. Both Matthews and Hicks are eligible to practice on Oct. 15 and the team will have 21 days to evaluate the players before a decision must be made on their roster status (activate, waive, place on injured reserve).

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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