Bears RB Taylor not cut -- still with team for now
The Bears' running back left team headquarters after a conversation with coach Lovie Smith thinking the team was cutting him. Agent Ken Sarnoff said that was simply a misunderstanding.
"There has been a miscommunication between Lovie Smith and Chester Taylor," Sarnoff said. "At the moment, Chester is still a Bear."
Smith expects Taylor to practice on Tuesday but would not say if he'll play Thursday, when Chicago closes out the preseason against Cleveland. He was clear about one thing, though.
"If a player's released, I'll tell him that. `You're released; thank you.' That's not the case. Misunderstanding," Smith said.
The Bears did waive defensive end Vernon Gholston and four other players to put their roster at 80 ahead of Tuesday's deadline, bringing a quick end to a second chance for a former top 10 draft pick.
Taken sixth overall by the New York Jets in 2008, Gholston was released in March after failing to record a sack in three seasons. He signed a one-year deal with Chicago last month and did little in three preseason games.
The Bears still need to cut 27 players by Saturday to get to the 53-man limit, and it remains to be seen if Taylor will wind up in that group.
His future has been the subject of speculation for a while now, and it ramped up when the Bears signed Marion Barber to a two-year contract late last month, adding him to the backup mix behind Matt Forte. The rumor picked up steam when he didn't play at Tennessee on Saturday as the Bears instead went with Kahlil Bell after Barber left the game with a calf injury.
Smith said Taylor came to him Monday morning, and they discussed why he didn't play against the Titans. The reason? Smith said the Bears wanted to get a look at other players.
"Evidently he took that the wrong way," he said. "Hopefully we get him out here tomorrow."
He said he had no idea Taylor was going to leave the facility and indicated he wasn't aware until practice.
Asked if he told Taylor he wasn't part of the plan, Smith said, "No, I told him he wasn't a part of the plan (on Saturday). I talked on what happened the last game in a private conversation with Chester, no more than that.
"As far as what's going to happen later on, we have cuts coming up. We'll let everyone know who's a part of it; they'll know then," he said.
The confusion with Taylor is just the latest odd episode in a wild offseason for the Bears.
There was a flurry of activity in free agency after the lockout ended, including a messy split with longtime center Olin Kreutz after contract negotiations broke down, not to mention a botched trade with Baltimore in the first round of the draft.
That deal fell apart because Chicago neglected to phone the league to receive confirmation and the Ravens wound up picking 27th. The Bears got the guy they wanted anyway, at No. 29, when they took offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, but they opted not to send the Ravens a draft pick even though Commissioner Roger Goodell urged them to do so.
Peppers is here to stay, of course, but Manumaleuna is gone. Taylor thought he was, too.
He ran for just 267 yards last season and averaged a career-low 2.4 per carry after leaving Minnesota for a four-year, $12.5-million with $7 million guaranteed, and the Bears seemed to be sending a loud message his way when they brought in Barber.
So when Sarnoff posted on Twitter on Monday that Smith had informed Taylor that he was being cut, that hardly seemed surprising. Then the agent came back with a post saying the Bears had informed him Taylor was still with the team.
By then, teammates were talking as if Taylor were gone.
Center Roberto Garza had called it "a tough loss for us, but obviously, those guys are going to step up. (We) wish him well."
And Bell said: "It's always sad to see a fellow running back leave. I wouldn't say I'm happy about it. I don't think anybody is. But at the same time, all I can control is what I can control. That's all I plan on doing, is going out there and doing the best I can."
Smith, however, was adamant: Taylor's still on the team.
"Let me start this over again," he said. "Chester Taylor has not been released. He was never told he was released. So what gets out, I can't stop that. But that's not the case. I guess if word gets around and you don't know what happened, guys would assume that's the case. You're hearing it from me right now - he has not been released. I never told him he was being released."
Notes: Smith said TE Desmond Clark suffered a bruised left knee on a tackle by Titans S Anthony Smith while trying to make a catch on Saturday. He had to be carted off the field, and there is no timetable for his return. Smith also said he's not sure when Barber will return. They are expected to sit out Thursday, as are LB Lance Briggs (knee) and Anthony Adams (calf). ... Besides Gholston, DT Tank Tyler and three undrafted rookie free agents - QB Trevor Vittatoe, C J.C. Brignone and LB Tanner Antle - were released.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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