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Bears release Roberto Garza, sign Will Montgomery

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The Chicago Bears are swapping centers.

The team released long-time center Roberto Garza and signed Will Montgomery to a one-year contract, the Bears announced Thursday.

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Garza, 36, spent the past 10 seasons of his 14-year pro career with the Bears, playing guard and center. He moved to center full-time in 2011, but his play began to slip last season. If he decides to continue his career outside the Windy City, Garza could be a late veteran add for a team in need of a stopgap at the position -- Lovie Smith in Tampa obviously knows him well.

The release is another shot to a locker room that will face leadership questions when training camp opens, as Garza was viewed as one of the hardest-working leaders within Halas Hall.

Montgomery played for new Bears coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase last season in Denver, starting eight games. Entering his 11th season, Montgomery, 32, is an athletic blocker who could be an upgrade in the passing game and can get to the second level on running plays. His familiarity with the offense will be a big boon to the rest of the offensive line and quarterbacks still learning the system.

With the center swap, one thing is for sure: NFL Shop will no longer be able to use Jay Cutler's best commercial.

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