Even though the Bears liked what they saw from young safeties Kevin Payne and Craig Steltz throughout the offseason program, it just wasn't the same at Halas Hall without Mike Brown squawking in the secondary.
Following a nine-year career in the Windy City and a Pro Bowl appearance in '05, the Monsters of the Midway let Brown's contract expire after this past season. Originally a second-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 2000, Brown quickly became a core player on defense and a leader in the locker room. But after watching helplessly as he dealt with a seemingly never-ending array of lower-leg injuries since '04, Chicago couldn't afford to set aside a spot for one of Soldier Field's fan favorites anymore and made no effort to bring him back.
After receiving very little interest from other teams during the offseason, Brown signed a one-year deal Wednesday with the Chiefs, according to the Kansas City Star.
Brown is one of the best safeties in football when healthy but has suffered many injuries.
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Brown did suit up for 15 games last year, which is saying something since he missed 43 of 64 contests from 2004-07, but he wasn't the ballhawk the Bears had come to know and couldn't play a full four quarters on more than one occasion because of various bumps and bruises. He recorded 74 tackles, one sack, and two interceptions his final campaign in Chicago. The 5-10, 207-pounder finishes his Bears career with 523 tackles and 17 interceptions, plus he holds the franchise record for defensive touchdowns with seven.
Assuming he can stay somewhat healthy in Kansas City, Brown is expected to compete with incumbents Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page for a starting job.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.