Free agent analysis

<!--Default NodeId For Reggie Austin is 292179,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292179]>Reggie Austin</A> played one snap over his first two years with the Bears. However, the cornerback was counted on far more in 2002 because of free agency and injury.

With Mike Green and Jerry Azumah becoming starters the Bears had to find a nickel cornerback. There were early hopes that third-round pick Roosevelt Williams would emerge, but injuries slowed his progression leaving Austin and Todd McMillon to battle for the job.

Although, it didn't take long for both McMillon and Austin to get on the field it was McMillon who earned the opportunity of out training camp.

R.W. McQuarters sprained his knee in the season opener and McMillon and Austin were forced into a more important role. Austin made a critical interception that in part spared the Bears to a 27-24 win.

McMillon got the start the following week in Atlanta, but Austin then started four of the next five games with mixed reviews.

Austin made his second pick of the year against the Saints Aaron Brooks, but got beat for two touchdowns including the game winner.

Austin remained the team's nickel corner after McQuarters returned from injury, until he himself went down with a serious knee injury against New England.

There is doubt whether Austin will be ready by training camp, which hurts his chances of getting a contract done. The Bears need help in the secondary and Austin has shown flashes of being a playmaker.

Likelihood Austin will return: 50-50


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