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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
After one day, a shift at Bears minicamp

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

It probably wasn't a coincidence that newcomer Frank Omiyale was working at right tackle Wednesday, as noted by Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. Bears coach Lovie Smith said earlier this week that Omiyale would work exclusively at left guard during this week's mandatory minicamp, but that was before free agent John St. Clair signed with Cleveland and left the Bears without a veteran option to replace the retired John Tait.

As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, the Bears needed to find a long-term replacement for Tait whether or not St. Clair returned. But St. Clair's departure effectively eliminates the Bears' flexibility in dealing with Tait's retirement. They had hoped to upgrade at left guard with Omiyale while having St. Clair hold down right tackle, at least in the short-term. Now, 2008 starter Josh Beekman will have to man left guard for the time being.

At this point, the best hope for having Omiyale remain at left guard is if the Bears draft a right tackle and start him immediately. There are a few free agent options, but the market is starting to move now and one candidate -- Pittsburgh free agent Marvel Smith -- visited San Francisco on Wednesday.

Had St. Clair returned, the Bears could have taken their time with the right tackle transition. Now, there is some urgency.