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Bears sack DE Anderson, sign 8-year veteran Grant
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff

Mark Anderson

 

Associated Press

Charles Grant

 

Associated Press

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Published: 10/5/2010 2:16 PM | Updated: 10/5/2010 4:43 PM

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The Bears have officially given up on defensive end Mark Anderson, releasing the four-year veteran Tuesday and signing eight-year veteran free-agent defensive end Charles Grant to a one-year contract.

Anderson was the Bears' fifth-round draft pick in 2006 out of Alabama, and he burst onto the scene with 12 sacks in the Super Bowl season, which led all rookies and was eighth among all players.

Anderson's production, however, never approached that level again. He was handed the starting job in 2007 over veteran Alex Brown, but his sack total plummeted to 5 and then to 1 in the 2008 season.

Anderson had a bit of a bounce back season last year with 3 ½ sacks, and the Bears felt confident enough with Anderson and Israel Idonije at left end to release seven-year starter Alex Brown and allow Adewale Ogunleye to leave as an unrestricted free agent.

Anderson and Idonije began training camp as co-starters at left end. Even though Anderson got the start in the season opener, Idonije has been the much better player and has started the past three games. Idonije has 1 of the Bears' 4 sacks, which he got Sunday night against the Giants, along with his second tackle for loss.

Grant was a first-round pick (25th overall) of the New Orleans Saints in 2002. In eight seasons with New Orleans he had 505 tackles and 47 sacks playing in 118 games with 106 starts. Grant also had 14 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and 24 passes defensed.

After being cut by the Saints in March, Grant spent the preseason with the Miami Dolphins before being released Sept. 5. He played in two games for the Omaha Nighthawks in the UFL this season before signing with the Bears.

The 6-3, 285-pounder started all 16 games for New Orleans last year and had 5 sacks. But a torn triceps muscle in the regular-season finale ended his season and required surgery. Grant was unable to perform during the playoffs, but earned a Super Bowl ring.

"It's going to be great to be able to play with a group of guys like this the Brian Urlachers, the Julius Peppers, and all those guys," Grant said on the Bears' website. "It's great to get a second chance at getting back to the NFL."