The fifth-year veteran would have likely made the team out of training camp, but suffered a partially torn groin muscle in the preseason opener. The Bears reached an injury settlement with Berlin, which meant they could not bring him back until this week.
In the Hall of Fame game against Miami, Berlin caught two balls for 44 yards. On his long reception of 34 yards, the Northern Iowa product suffered the groin injury.
The five-foot-11, 195-pounder will strengthen two areas. In his four seasons with the Tennessee Titans Berlin played in 57 games, catching 24 passes for 370 yards with two touchdowns. He also has 42 career special teams tackles while averaging 19.5 yards on 30 kickoff returns and 3.7 yards on seven punt returns.
Berlin is expected to practice with the Bears today and could be active for the game against Tampa Bay. With the addition of Berlin and activation of Airese Currie on Wednesday, the Bears currently have six wideouts on the 53-man roster.
Berlin is a possession receiver that knows the offense from his time in mini-camp and training camp. He could step right in and add depth to the position.
Currie brings speed to the group, which has been missing since Mark Bradley and Bernard Berrian were lost to injury. The Bears are in a tough spot of trying to develop Currie in the middle of a playoff push.
“It’s hard to do that. You just bring him along in a limited role,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “We have our starters established. Guys like Airese that we would play would just be in a supportive role and you just do a few things with him and bring him along that way. He has great speed, so you can always find a way to use a guy with that.”
The Bears got another bit of good news, as Berrian returned to practice on Thursday. He’s been upgraded from out to questionable for Sunday’s game. The second-year receiver has missed the past four games following surgery on his thumb.
“He can cradle the ball and he’s OK catching the ball,” Smith said of Berrian. “He’s not 100 percent yet. He’ll have to catch it with a little bit of pain, but he won’t have to catch it with an injury.”
One day after being waived by the Bears, WR Carl Ford was claimed by the Philadelphia Eagles.