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Saturday, February 14, 2009
Bears surprise: Tait considering retirement

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

We interrupt your Valentine's Day to pass along some surprising news out of Chicago. Bears right tackle John Tait is giving strong consideration to retirement, creating a lurch the Bears didn't expect to be in this offseason.

Here's the Chicago Sun-Times story, which also notes the Bears officially informed pending free agent safety Mike Brown that he would not be offered a contract to return. The Chicago Tribune story is here.

Tait, 34, moved to right tackle in 2008 and had one more year on his contract, creating the assumption he would retire after the 2009 season. But if he follows through with his plans this month, the Bears will be left with only one tackle on their roster: 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams, who is expected to start at left tackle.

Suddenly, offensive tackle becomes one of the Bears' top offseason needs. To this point, they haven't had substantive discussions with 2008 left tackle John St. Clair, who is a pending free agent. St. Clair has been a utility backup for most of his career and could play right tackle if needed.