NFL AM: Bears Continue To Re-Shape Roster


Bears release Roberto Garza

Chicago’s new front office continues to reshape the Bears in their preferred image.

The eldest Bear, center Roberto Garza, was released on Thursday after 10 years with the team. Chicago signed Will Montgomery, who played for new coach John Fox in Denver last season, as his replacement.

Garza made a total of 144 starts in his Bears career and is the only player left from their 2006 Super Bowl appearance outside of kicker Robbie Gould.

Garza has gotten up there in age – he’s a 14-year veteran who played for the Falcons for four seasons before joining the Bears in 2005. But the esteem with which his teammates hold him is without question.

Fellow lineman Kyle Long took to Twitter to pay tribute to his mentor.

“From the first day I got to the Bears he told me what it took to be accountable and respected in the NFL. He did it right all the time. First man in, last man out. A lot of people claim that thing, but he lived it,” Long wrote. “I understand it’s a business, but this is family I’m talking about. He took a broken dumb kid and turned him into a man.”

Dolphins sign Josh Freeman as third-string QB

Josh Freeman is back in football after a year in the wilderness, though Dolphins fans are surely hoping he remains as far from the field as possible.

The former first-round pick agreed to a one-year contract with Miami after not being on anyone’s roster in 2014. As things stand, he will be the team’s third-string quarterback behind Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore.

Freeman was taken 17th overall by Tampa Bay in the 2009 Draft and flamed out after showing some early promise. The Bucs released him in the middle of the 2013 season. He resurfaced with Minnesota before even the Vikings were like “Ehhh, we’d rather go with Christian Ponder.”

Freeman’s shot at reviving his career in any form comes courtesy of Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey, who was part of the front office that drafted him in Tampa.

For the Dolphins, there’s no risk involved. They aren’t expecting Freeman to play unless something awful happens, and with 13,724 yards, 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions in his career, his numbers are more impressive than the typical backup.

DL Antonio Smith signs with Broncos

Defensive lineman Antonio Smith is going from the AFC West outhouse to the penthouse. Smith, who spent last season in Oakland, has signed a one-year, $2 million deal to play for the Broncos in 2015.

Smith will be reunited with defensive line coach Bill Kollar and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. The trio worked together with the Texans from 2009-13.

Cutting Smith saves the Raiders $3.2 million for the upcoming season. He only had 20 tackles and three sacks for Oakland last year.

Smith has 44.5 sacks in his 10-year career.

About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.