Chester Taylor is still a Chicago Bear. For how long remains to be seen. After not taking the field in Saturday’s preseason game at Tennessee, Taylor did not show up for practice Monday after his agent announced he was being released. Several players in the locker room before practice even acknowledged as much.
LAKE FOREST — Chester Taylor is still a Chicago Bear. For how long remains to be seen.
After not taking the field in Saturday’s preseason game at Tennessee, Taylor did not show up for practice Monday after his agent announced he was being released. Several players in the locker room before practice even acknowledged as much.
“It’s always sad to see a fellow running back leave. I wouldn’t say I’m happy about it,” another Bear running back, Kahlil Bell, said. “I don’t think anybody is. But at the same time, all I can control is what I can control.”
Agent Ken Sarnoff announced on Twitter this morning that Taylor, his client, was being cut by the Bears. Head coach Lovie Smith later denied the claim, but player after player confirmed what many saw coming: Taylor’s end as a Bear.
“He’s a veteran guy who’s been here, and it’s a tough loss for us,” center Roberto Garza said of Taylor, whose been with the Bears just over a year. “But obviously the other guys have to step up. I wish him well.”
He can do so himself today, according to Smith, who expects Taylor back.
“I guess there was a little bit of a misunderstanding on what we talked about,” Smith said a couple of hours later after practice. “Chester Taylor is still a part of the team.”
Taylor returned to Halas Hall to meet with general manager Jerry Angelo, who reportedly told him he could then have the rest of the day off. Taylor was even listed as the No. 2 back in the latest depth chart released by the Bears.
However, the strong performance by former Cowboy Marion Barber — who has 96 yards on 21 carries in two preseason games, compared to Taylor’s six rushes for 10 yards in two preseason contests — has put Taylor’s job in jeopardy. Taylor’s league-low 2.4-yard-per-carry average last year doesn’t help either.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I can’t think about it,” Taylor said last week. “I’ll just keep doing my job, and we’ll see what happens.”
Taylor is in the second year of his four-year, $12.5 million contract, but he earned more than half of his money last year, and his base salary is at $1.25 million this season.
Barber signed a two-year, $5 million deal with Chicago, but he is also coming off a down 2010 campaign when he rushed for a career-low 374 yards and a career-low 3.3 yards a carry.
Barber left Saturday’s game in the second quarter with what is being called a calf injury. He sat out practice on Monday and his status is unclear for Thursday’s game.
Taylor’s status for Thursday, and beyond, is also unclear. Even the question of whether Taylor was told he was released and then the Bears backtracked, or if there was a true “miscommunication,” is still lingering. However, not in Smith’s mind.
“If a player is released, I will tell him that, ‘You’re released, thank you.’ That is not the case. Misunderstanding. I talked to him about what happened in the last game in a private conversation. No more than that,” Smith said. “As far as what is going to happen later on, we have cuts coming up. We’ll let everyone know who is a part of it then, they’ll know. I don’t talk anymore than that.”
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or email@example.com.