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Thursday, July 28, 2011
Adam Podlesh is the Bears' new punter

By Kevin Seifert

Chicago Bears fans understandably are pining for an infusion of free agent offensive linemen. I think that will come in the next day or so. In the meantime, the Bears took care of the roster hole created when they decided to move on from veteran punter Brad Maynard.

Free agent Adam Podlesh, who spent the past four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, has agreed to terms on a five-year contract, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. There had been heavy speculation that the Bears would pursue the New York Jets' Steve Weatherford, but ultimately Podlesh proved to be their man.

The Jaguars' fourth-round draft pick in 2007, Podlesh was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as acinic cell carcinoma in 2009. He returned in 2010 to have the best season of his career, earning Pro Bowl alternate status after averaging 43.8 yards per punt and dropping 26 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line.

Most important to the Bears, Podlesh is 11 years younger than Maynard and presumably will provide stability at the position for years to come.

Recent Bears posts: The team is working offensive line targets. Maynard voiced surprising animosity toward well-respected special-teams coordinator Dave Toub. The Bears have a tough decision on a contract extension for tailback Matt Forte.