--The Bears released seven-year veteran offensive lineman Frank Omiyale last week and also officially announced the release of nine-year veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams, who was informed earlier in the week that he was not in the team's future plans.
Omiyale started 31 games in his three years with the Bears after he was signed as a free agent before the 2009 season, including all 16 in 2010, when he started 14 games at left tackle and two at right tackle. He started 12 games at left guard in '09. Last season, Omiyale replaced Gabe Carimi at right tackle after the rookie suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2. But Omiyale was permanently replaced by Lance Louis after disappointing play in three starts. Carimi is expected to reclaim the starting spot this season.
He began his career with the Falcons as a fifth-round pick out of Tennessee Tech, and was claimed by the Panthers in 2007 after he was waived by Atlanta.
"Cuts are never easy but are a part of the evaluation process," Phil Emery said of his first roster moves as the Bears' new general manager. "We appreciate all that Anthony and Frank gave the Bears' organization both on and off the field during their time in Chicago. We wish them the best moving forward."
--For his first three years as an assistant coach in the NFL, new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice worked under Brian Billick, when Billick was the Vikings' offensive coordinator.
In Tice's first season as a coach, following 14 years as a tight end in the league, he was the Vikings' tight ends coach and then spent five years as the offensive line coach, the first two under Billick. Tice has some experience as an offensive play-caller from his five years as the Vikings' head coach (2001-05), but he has never held the title of offensive coordinator. Billick doesn't think that will be a problem.
"Mike has a complete view of the game," Billick said. "Remember, he was a head coach. Mike has a bigger view of the game, and he has a certain mentality, and that's why, in my opinion, Lovie made him the offensive coordinator because he wants that mentality. They're going to run the ball; they're going to be physical."
--Former Bear Ervin Baldwin is trying to get back to the NFL, but he's got a long way to go.
If that name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because the 6-2, 260-pound defensive end was one of the Bears' five seventh-round draft picks in 2008. Six players drafted before him by the Bears that year were still on the team last season - offensive lineman Chris Williams, running back Matt Forte, wide receiver Earl Bennett, safety Craig Steltz, cornerback Zack Bowman and tight end Kellen Davis.
Baldwin spent parts of three seasons on the Bears' practice squad but never played in a game. He did, however, get into three games with the Colts in 2009, the year they lost to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.
But now Baldwin plays Arena League Football for the Chicago Rush.
What's in it for Baldwin?
It isn't the money.
Back in the earlier days of Arena Football, most players made between $40,000 and $50,000. But that business model was unsustainable and resulted in a one-year shutdown in 2009. The new model may be better for business, but most players now make $400 a game, although three franchise players are paid $1,000 per game.
"I'm definitely not here for the pay," Baldwin said, smiling. "I still love the game. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here."
If Baldwin displays the same ability to get to the quarterback that he did coming out of Michigan State in 2008, he has a shot to get back to the NFL, where every team is looking for pass rushers. He had 13.5 sacks in his senior season with the Spartans.
As a Bears rookie, Baldwin was on the 53-man roster for seven games but never got on the field, buried on the depth chart behind Alex Brown, Adewale Ogunleye, Israel Idonije and Mark Anderson.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"What we've tried to do in the past is just to get the best possible players whether it's through free agency or though the draft. (New general manager) Phil (Emery's) background has been more through the draft and, as a general rule, I think every team feels it likes to build through the draft. That's what we'll try to do. (But) you can't get everything you want or need through it." -- Bears coach Lovie Smith.
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