Bears Entertain Walker for a Visit

The Chicago Bears are in great shape at the tight end position, as veteran Desmond Clark recently signed a two-year contract extension and former first-rounder Greg Olsen had a solid rookie year. But with John Gilmore leaving for Tampa Bay in free agency, the offense needs a No. 3.

Bears officials visited Wednesday at Halas Hall with free-agent tight end Aaron Walker, a four-year veteran who has spent time with the 49ers and Rams.

Originally a fifth-round pick out of Florida, the former Gator has caught 25 passes for 312 yards and one touchdown in 55 career games. But this past season in St. Louis, Walker was credited with only two receptions for 13 yards. Known as more of a blocker than a pass-catcher, he is a big body at 6-6 and 270 pounds.

The Rams already have Randy McMichael, Joe Klopfenstein, and Dominique Byrd on the depth chart at tight end, so Walker was considered expendable.

JC's Take: John Gilmore didn't get much publicity playing behind Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen, but he did serve a critical role in the Windy City.

An excellent blocker in short-yardage and goal-line situations, Gilmore was signed away by the Buccaneers shortly after free agency began. Clark is an adequate blocker and Olsen has a long way to go before he's a difference-maker in the running game, so Gilmore will have to be replaced. Ideally, the Bears find a glorified tackle that can catch the occasional play-action pass when necessary.

Walker isn't especially strong at the point of attack and has a reputation for being a little soft on game day, so I'm not so sure he's the answer when it comes to replacing Gilmore as a blocking specialist.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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