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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Bears add Butler to compete with Podlesh

By Michael C. Wright
ESPN.com

The Chicago Bears added to the roster on Tuesday by signing punter Drew Butler to a contract, according to multiple NFL sources.

Terms of the deal weren’t immediately disclosed, but according to a league source with knowledge of the situation, the club is bringing in Butler -- the son of former Bears kicker Kevin Butler -- to compete with Adam Podlesh during training camp.

Butler was one of six punters to work out at Halas Hall back in Oct. in the wake of Podlesh finishing with a 28.8-yard net average on five punts in a loss to the Detroit Lions. The group included T.J. Conley, Chris Kluwe, Mat McBriar, Brian Moorman, and Tress Way. At the time, an NFL source pointed out that Podlesh has "struggled all year," "has lost strength" and "can't hang the ball at all."

A former fourth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Podlesh signed a five-year contract in 2011 with the Bears worth $10 million. The team considered cutting Podlesh during the season, according to an NFL source. But he showed improvement immediately after the club brought in six punters for tryouts, only to regress somewhat as the season came to a close.

Podlesh finished 2013 with a net average of 37.9 yards per punt, and had one attempt blocked.

In the season-ending loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Podlesh finished with a net average of just 29.3 yards.