Source: Bears keeping tabs on Tinoisamoa

August, 1, 2011
Pisa TinoisamoaLuc Leclerc/US PresswirePisa Tinoisamoa needs to make sure he doesn't rush back and risk further damage to his knee.
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears' picture at linebacker is starting to come into focus after they agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Brian Iwuh on Sunday.

That gives the Bears five linebackers -- Iwuh, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, J.T. Thomas -- who are expected to make the final 53-man roster. However, the club usually carries six linebackers in the regular season, meaning one additional spot could be up for grabs.

While it's entirely possible the Bears could decide to sign another linebacker in free agency -- or perhaps one of the undrafted rookies in camp makes a strong push to make the team -- the organization continues to keep close tabs on veteran Pisa Tinoisamoa, according to an NFL source.

Tinoisamoa started 10 games at strongside linebacker last season, and finished seventh on the team with 51 regular-season tackles. But Tinoisamoa was forced to miss four games due to a lingering knee problem that required an offseason procedure. Tinoisamoa's first year in Chicago in 2009 was also cut short due to a knee injury sustained in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. He played in only two games the entire year.

The linebacker, however, is known as a quick healer, and is believed to be in the final stages of rehabbing the knee after months of offseason work and conditioning. It's likely Tinoisamoa is waiting until the knee is completely healed to determine where he'll play football in 2011. If the veteran rushes back too quickly, there's a belief it could cause him to re-injure the knee for a third consecutive year.

It's unclear whether Tinoisamoa will be 100 percent before the start of the regular season in September, but he remains a player the Bears are actively monitoring on the free agent market.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.



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