NFL

Bears cut players, restructure contracts

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The Chicago Bears set about reviewing their roster and bringing modifications to it. According to general manager Jerry Angelo, the Bears front office is continuously evaluating players’ performances and contracts, and making decisions with the team’s best interest in sight. With that in mind, three players were cut from the team: defensive tackle Tommie Harris, offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer and linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer.

Tommie Harris is a three-time Pro Bowl pick, whose career was greatly hindered by injury lately. He developed hamstring and knee problems which prevented him from ever regaining to his previous shape. Although the Bears had him locked in through 2012, they decided to let him go nonetheless. Hillenmeyer’s fate was sealed during the preseason when he suffered a concussion, due to which he missed the entire season.

In another move – even though the team has not yet officially announced it – the Bears have restructured defensive end Julius Peppers’ contract to make more salary cap space. The move will allow them to bring in new free agents and to retain their own guys, as it saves them about $8 million in cap space. Julius Peppers arrived to Chicago a year ago, from the Carolina Panthers. The Bears signed him for a six-year contract, worth $91.5 million. This year, Peppers was supposed to pick up a roster bonus of $10.5 million, which the Bears elected to turn into a signing bonus and to spread it over the entire length of his deal.

In other news:  NFL defensive back and Canadian Football League Grey Cup winner Ricky Bell has died on February 17 in Columbia, SC, aged 36. The circumstances of his passing remain unclear as his mother and girlfriend both declined to comment on the matter. Bell played three seasons in the NFL, with Chicago and Jacksonville. Having retired from professional football, Bell moved to South Carolina to invest in real estate.

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