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John St. Clair's surprising decision to leave Chicago and sign with Cleveland forced the Bears to shuffle their offensive line after the first day of minicamp. (I believe that's an NFL record, but I'm still researching it.)
Instead of inserting newcomer Frank Omiyale into the left guard position, Chicago moved him to right tackle. Josh Beekman is back at left guard, but his return could be temporary.
During his regular interview on the Bears' Web site, general manager Jerry Angelo made clear the Bears aren't finished tweaking their offensive line. At least, they don't want to be.
Angelo: "We have options and we'll continue to explore those options in free agency and, obviously, the draft. There will also be an after-draft marketplace of veteran players as well. All that we're going through is all part of the process and what most teams go through every offseason. Free agency impacts every team to some degree. We know what we need to do and we feel secure given our options that we will be able to accomplish the plan we laid out to make us a better football team in the '09 season."
Unless some veterans currently under contract are released, it's unlikely the Bears will find a significant upgrade on the free-agent market. If they want someone other than Omiyale to play right tackle when the season begins, they'll have to find that player in the draft. Stay tuned.