Why Absent from Voluntary Activity?

Five players were absent when the Chicago Bears opened the offseason training program Monday at Halas Hall. Israel Idonije had just gotten back from Africa, but what's the scoop on the other four?

Mark Anderson

Given a second-round tender offer as a restricted free agent, Anderson is scheduled to make $1.759 million this season but yet to put his John Hancock on the dotted line. The pass-rushing specialist can participate with all of his teammates in the offseason program without agreeing to the tender offer provided he signs an injury waiver first, which will probably be the case since all signs point to Anderson being in great shape and ready to go for 2010. With Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije tentatively atop the depth chart at right and left end, respectively, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli remains high on Anderson and believes he can be effective off the bench in obvious passing situations.

Degree of Worry: No team is going to give up a second rounder as compensation to sign a reserve pass rusher that only has 9.5 sacks in his last 46 games, so Anderson doesn't have much leverage right now and should be back in the mix soon.

Alex Brown

Even though he has never reached double digits in sacks and failed to do better than alternate status with regard to the Pro Bowl, Brown is one of the more well-rounded defensive ends in recent Bears lore and a true warrior since he has only missed one game going back to his rookie year of 2002. Nevertheless, because he is scheduled to make $10.5 million combined the next two seasons and doesn't have the stat-sheet production to make that figure more palatable, Chicago plans to either trade or release Brown and has told him to stay away from the facility for the foreseeable future. A locker-room favorite and go-to guy for the media, it certainly appears that Brown has played his last game in a Bears uniform.

Degree of Worry: While Brown's affable personality and veteran leadership will no doubt be missed, a soon-to-be 31-year-old starting D-end coming off back-to-back 6.0-sack seasons isn't much of a commodity.

S Danieal Manning
AP Images: Marcio Jose Sanchez

Danieal Manning

Despite being in the physical prime of his career at 27 years of age, able to play several positions in the secondary and also an accomplished kick returner on special teams, no general managers have shown any interest in surrendering a third-round draft pick in order to sign Manning to an offer sheet. Although he has proven to be fairly effective for the Bears as a nickel back, both in coverage and as an edge blitzer, the coaching staff continues to jerk Manning all over the field from safety to corner to nickel and back again. The latest rumors suggest he is the leading candidate to be the starting strong safety, but every day he refuses to report to Halas Hall means more opportunities for fellow youngsters like Al Afalava and Kevin Payne to get valuable reps.

Degree of Worry: While the Bears are probably begging for another team to take him off their hands as a restricted free agent and get that extra pick in Round 3, the more likely scenario is Manning signing his tender offer and coming back to Chicago after a short absence.

Jamar Williams

It's easy to look at Williams and come to the conclusion that if he were good enough to be a starting-caliber linebacker in this league, it would have happened already. But the fifth-year pro just came to the wrong organization, as his best defensive position is on the weak side, but five-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs blocks his path and isn't going anywhere. When it looked like he was finally going to get a chance to compete on the strong side this past season, the Bears instead signed former Ram and Lovie Smith disciple Pisa Tinoisamoa in free agency.

Degree of Worry: At this point, Williams probably wouldn't mind being released so he could try to fight for a starting job elsewhere, but as a solid backup and sound special teamer, the Bears prefer to keep him even if he's a bit unhappy.

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

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