Lyman in the mix

Despite the fact that <!--Default NodeId For Dustin Lyman is 292222,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:292222]>Dustin Lyman</A> suffered a severe season ending knee injury in December the <!--Default NodeId For Chicago is 115,2005--><A HREF=http://bears.TheInsiders.com>Bears</A> are confident that that the tight end will be ready for the 2003 season and signed him to a two-year deal.

The third-year tight end would have been a restricted free agent, but the new contract runs through the 2004 season. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Lyman had his most productive season as a Bear in 2002, catching 14 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns while playing in 12 games, including three starts.

The 6-4, 245-pounder saw his season end prematurely when he ruptured the graft of a previous ACL injury in his left knee during Chicago's Dec. 1 game at Green Bay. However after suffering the injury, the former collegiate linebacker completed the game against the Packers, catching a career-high seven passes for 58 yards, including the first two touchdowns of his career. Lyman underwent surgery in December and was placed on Injured Reserve on December 10. His rehabilitation is expected to take somewhere between 7-10 months meaning there is a chance he wouldn't be ready for training camp.

John Davis, who missed the final five games of the season with back spasms, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent and could be let go with the emergence of John Gilmore. Lyman would likely backup Gilmore with the team adding another tight end in the offseason that can be an asset in the run game as a blocker.

Lyman has caught a total of 15 passes for 125 yards in 30 games, including 10 starts, in three years with Chicago since being drafted by the Bears in the third round (87th overall) out of Wake Forest in 2000.

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