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Trade-seekers couldn't force Bears' hand
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/27/2008 12:04 AM

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Bears GM Jerry Angelo entertained the notion of trading down in the first round Saturday when three offensive tackles they liked were all available -- Chris Williams, Branden Albert and Jeff Otah.

"We got phone calls from several people, and they were very, very aggressive," Angelo said. "But we really felt strongly about Chris. We thought he fit the prototype of what we were looking for intangibly. And we felt (good) obviously (about) his skill level and his position.

"Not many times do you set your course to target a guy and/or guys, and we had a choice of them, but we didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, and we don't want to get cute on draft day. We're very happy with our selection. Maybe we could have gotten him later, but if we didn't, then we wouldn't have felt as good as we (do) right now."

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Family tradition: Second-round pick Matt Forte's father preceded him at Tulane, captaining the 1977 team, and brother Bryan played football at McNeese State.

"Basically what I learned form them was my work ethic," said Forte, who rushed for 4,265 yards in his college career. "My dad told me nothing is going to come easy to you, and you are going to have to work for it. I have always had that mentality since I was a young kid, and that has helped me, along with my God-given ability to play football."

Forte also caught 103 passes for 985 yards at Tulane.

Playing catch up: Linebacker Lance Briggs has completed just two of the 120 hours of community service that were assigned as part of his guilty plea for leaving the scene after he crashed his $400,000 Lamborghini on the Edens Expressway last summer.

"(We're) disappointed, obviously, that he's behind," GM Jerry Angelo said. "We got ahold of him the last few days, and he says he's on it. We've talked to his legal counsel, and we're going to get more involved in the process to make sure that all the follow-up is done. And Lance assured us that he's going to take care of it. He's a little bit behind, but he'll get it done and we're on it, too."

Road not taken: Illini running back Rashard Mendenhall lasted until the 23rd pick, and although he was on the Bears' radar they considered offensive line a greater priority.

"We talked about Rashard quite a bit, and we liked him very, very much," Jerry Angelo said. "But we felt that the line was our biggest need, our tackle position, and we needed to address that."

In the second round, quarterbacks Brian Brohm and Chad Henne were still on the board, but the Bears went for Matt Forte for the same reason.

"When we came out of our meetings we targeted (offensive) tackle, and the running back position," Angelo said. "The position obviously was a weak area for a running football team."