Free agent analysis

Like so many other players <!--Default NodeId For Bobbie Howard is 292211,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292211]>Bobbie Howard</A> came into the season as a backup, but due to injury became a starter.

Despite graduating from Notre Dame in 1998 Howard didn't see NFL action until last season, thus he's only a restricted free agent. He was primarily used in special teams and as the team's backup linebacker.

When Warrick Holdman went down in Week 4 the Bears called on Mike Caldwell to replace the injured linebacker.

However, Caldwell didn't live up to expectations, so the coaching staff turned to Howard. He started the final eight games of the season and tallied 56 tackles, one sack and one interception.

It's unlikely Howard will become a starter in 2003, even if Rosevelt Colvin leaves via free agency. Holdman should be back and ready to go by training camp, while if Colvin leaves then Bryan Knight would be the top candidate to fill his shoes.

Howard is a solid backup that can start in an emergency. He also contributes on special teams and that combination will make him hard to let go.

Likelihood Howard will return: 75-25 in favor.

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