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Johnny Knox's contract terminated by Chicago Bears

It wasn't so long ago that Johnny Knox was the leading wide receiver on a team in the NFC Championship Game. Now, his NFL future is in doubt.

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The Chicago Bears terminated Knox's contract Tuesday, ending his four-year run with the team. Knox has not stepped on the field since having surgery for a serious back injury in December 2011. It's unclear when or if he'll play football again.

Knox's rookie contract expired after 2012, but the Bears had the option to retain Knox since he didn't take a snap last year. They chose to give him his freedom.

When healthy, Knox was a home-run hitter. His 16.6 yards per reception was seventh-best in the NFL from 2009 to 2011. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie kick returner. Knox is a reminder that all NFL players are one hit away from a life-changing injury, but Knox has not given up the idea of playing.

His agent told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that Knox has the intention to play next season. The Bears certainly don't sound like they see that happening.

"Johnny will always be a Bear and he will always be welcome here in our practice facility and all of our team events and at games," Bears GM Phil Emery said via the team's website.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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