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Bears sign Campbell to back up Cutler

The Sports Xchange
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--The Bears signed free-agent quarterback Jason Campbell to serve as Jay Cutler's backup.

Campbell received a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

Campbell, 30, began last season as the Oakland Raiders' starter, and he won four of six games. However, he broke his collarbone in an Oct. 16 game against the Cleveland Browns, knocking him out for the rest of the season.

The Raiders soon traded for Carson Palmer and installed him as their quarterback, and they have said they intend to keep Palmer as their starter this year.

The Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli reported that Campbell has been deemed healthy and ready to go.

Campbell spent 3 1/2 seasons as the Washington Redskins' starter, going 20-32. He moved to Oakland before the 2010 season, and he had an 11-7 record in parts of two seasons as Oakland's No. 1 signal-caller.

He has a career 60.8 completion percentage and an 82.8 passer rating. In 71 games (70 starts), he has thrown 74 touchdown passes and 50 interceptions.

Caleb Hanie stepped in after Cutler broke his right thumb last November, but he was ineffective. McCown started the last two games of the season, and the journeyman went 1-1 in his first two starts since 2007. McCown was re-signed Wednesday.

--Tight end Kellen Davis has done little in four seasons with the Bears, but that didn't stop the team from re-signing the free agent to a two-year contract Wednesday.

Davis, 26, had by far his best season in 2011, finishing with 18 catches for 206 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns. In his first three years combined, he had 10 catches for 94 yards and four touchdowns.

However, Davis has a fan in Bears coach Lovie Smith.

"I think if you want to feature Kellen Davis, you can do that," coach Lovie Smith said at the recent NFL scouting combine, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Great size, great in-line blocker, skilled enough of an athlete to be able to move outside and do some things. I really like him."

According to the Tribune, Davis reportedly spoke with the Dallas Cowboys before re-signing with the Bears. Earlier Wednesday, Dallas lost backup tight end Martellus Bennett, who signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants.

Davis was the Bears' fifth-round draft pick in 2008 out of Michigan State.

--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."

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.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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