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Gaines to battle for No. 3 spot with Bears
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff

Michael Gaines


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Published: 5/12/2009 12:00 AM

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The Bears' signing of unrestricted free-agent tight end Michael Gaines on Monday could present Kellen Davis, last year's fifth-round pick, with an uphill battle for a roster spot this year.

Gaines, who also was courted by the New York Jets, signed a one-year deal with a base pay of $620,000, the veteran minimum, although he could earn as much as $1.25 million with incentives.

The 6-foot-7, 262-pound Davis played in all 16 games last season as the No. 3 tight end but did not catch a pass and was a marginal contributor on special teams.

With Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark doing most of the pass catching at tight end, the Bears want their No. 3 tight end to be a powerful blocker.

At 6-4 and 277 pounds, blocking is Gaines' forte. But the 29-year-old also had 23 receptions last season for the Detroit Lions, along with a career-high 260 receiving yards. With Carolina, Gaines even played some fullback, serving as a lead blocker on running plays.

His career began as a seventh-round draft pick (232nd overall) in 2004 with the Panthers, and he has 79 receptions for 810 yards and 5 touchdowns. After three years in Carolina, Gaines spent 2007 with the Buffalo Bills before joining the Lions.