Weekend wrap-up

Several areas were covered during the weekend's events at the Chicago Hilton. Although, <!--Default NodeId For Dick Jauron is 449099,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:449099]>Dick Jauron</A> and Jerry Angelo weren't in attendance the team's management did have to answer questions from several disappointed fans.

Topics of discussion included the usual draft and free agency talk. Rosevelt Colvin's name came up more than once as the only starter the Bears have that is due to become an unrestricted free agent in less than a week.

"Right now he's in the midst of his rehab and he's doing well there," Jauron said. "All the personnel issues are coming up very soon and we'll have to make those decisions. We have a plan, we've talked about a plan and we talk about it about on a daily basis and obviously we have to finalize it real soon."

However, when James "Big Cat" Williams' name came up there was no denial that he would be released.

"We have to make decisions on our roster every year," said Angelo, who participated in a Q&A via telephone because he was still at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "It is the era of free agency and no roster is going to stay the same one year to the next. In terms of some of our veteran players I'm not going to get into specifics in terms of names, but we will have to make some decisions."

Team president and CEO Ted Phillips wasn't anymore optimistic about the return of Williams, who is due a $500,000 roster bonus next month and will also turn 35 shortly after.

"There is no player on our team-this is my personal opinion-who embodies what the Bears are about any better than Big Cat," Phillips said. "He has been a warrior. We'd hate for him not to be with us.

"That being said, there comes a time when you have to make tough choices. He is one of the considerations. There will be other ones as well and every one of them is going to be a tough decision."

Phillips spent time in two sessions with fans answering questions about personnel and the new Soldier Field.

The quarterback question came up numerous times and while Phillips admitted it was a position that definitely needs to be addressed he add that the chances of the team bringing in a high-priced free agent aren't high.

"We will never mortgage our team's future salary-cap-wise to bring in a player," Phillips said. "We'll never do what Baltimore did, where they had to dismantle their team.

"If we need to get a free-agent quarterback and a draft-pick quarterback, we're in good draft position to do that."

One fan frustrated by the Bears 4-12 season suggested the team needed a new head coach.

"Anytime you have a losing year, obviously the fingers start to point at the head coach," Phillips said. "It goes with the territory. Coach Jauron knows that. Every coach that we've ever had here understands the pressure they're under and this year's no different.

"Coach Jauron's under a lot of pressure-not any more so than it has been. He was under a lot of pressure going into the 2001 season. He was voted NFL Coach of the Year. The man knows how to coach.

Eventually the discussion turned to the stadium. Although, there was some criticism on the PSL process it wasn't as hostile as one could imagine.

Phillips reiterated that the new Soldier Field is coming along should be ready for the September 28 target date. The Bears are requesting for a Week 3 bye, so that the team doesn't open the year with three straight road games.

Despite the Bears troubles against the Green Bay Packers, Phillips also revealed that the team wants their rival to help open the new stadium.

"Every game's important, don't get me wrong," Phillips said. "But with players, coaches and staff, Green Bay has a special meaning to us.

Since the emergence of Brett Favre the Packers controlled the series, winning 16 of 18 meetings since 1994.

"That is something that has to get corrected, and frankly it goes a long way. When you beat Green Bay from a team perspective, it raises the confidence level and it lasts for several weeks. It doesn't just last until the whistle blows at the end of the game on Sunday."

Bear Report Top Stories