Chicago Bears  

 

Barber, Okoye become Bears; Kreutz could be going elsewhere

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Chicago Bears boosted their roster Saturday by adding running back Marion Barber and nose tackle Amobi Okoye. But they also might be on the verge of losing Olin Kreutz, their six-time Pro Bowl center.

Kreutz, who has spent 13 seasons with the Bears, appears to be on his way out of Chicago with contract negotiations going nowhere.

Said Kreutz's agent, Mark Bartelstein: "Right now, it doesn't look good."

The Chicago Tribune cited a source close to negotiations in reporting that the Bears have refused to offer more than a one-year, $4 million deal. Kreutz wants $500,000 more.

"I think it's over," the source told the Tribune. "They seem dead."

Without Kreutz at training camp Saturday, the Bears worked out Roberto Garza and Chris Williams at center.

Joining them soon will be Barber, who agreed to a two-year, $2.5 million contract with the Bears, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Barber is the third former Dallas Cowboy to become a Bear this week, along with wide receivers Roy Williams and Sam Hurd.

Barber was released this week after spending six seasons with the Cowboys and running for 4,358 yards and 47 touchdowns -- sixth in the NFL during that span. He added 1,280 receiving yards.

Bears starting running back Matt Forte, who's making a $550,000 base salary and wants a long-term contract, told the Tribune that the Barber deal isn't a big deal to him.

"I kind of got my mind put to ease by (general manager Jerry Angelo)," Forte said. "He had been in talks with my agent since the end of the lockout and even before that, and he kind of said that a deal would get done. He assured us repeatedly that a deal would get done. Where I'm from and how I was raised, when somebody gives you their word, that goes a long way."

The Bears also addressed their defense, agreeing to a one-year deal with Okoye just hours after the Houston Texans released him.

The youngest first-round draft pick in NFL history when he was taken 10th overall in 2007 at age 19, Okoye had a career-high 44 tackles in 2010, including three sacks. But the Texans spent six of their eight draft picks on defensive players, and new coordinator Wade Phillips plans to use Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell at nose tackle, leaving Okoye out of the mix.

In four seasons with Houston, Okoye had 138 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Bears also re-signed Corey Graham, a cornerback and special-teams contributor, to a one-year deal and waived guard Herman Johnson.

Graham has appeared in 61 games over four seasons with the Bears and recorded 111 tackles, one interception and nine pass breakups. His 82 special-teams stops rank second to Adrian Peterson's 110 on Chicago's list since the statistic was first recorded in 1995.

Graham led Chicago with 25 special teams tackles last season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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