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Thursday, December 17, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Pace likely finished

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

It’s all but official in Chicago: The Orlando Pace experiment is over.

Pace has returned to full health after rehabilitating a groin injury, but with three games left in a lost season, the Bears have no intention of reinserting him into the starting lineup. Instead, according to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, the Bears will leave second-year player Chris Williams at left tackle and veteran backup Kevin Shaffer at right tackle.

This makes perfect sense for a number of reasons, and give some credit to the Bears for not being blinded by the money they paid Pace during the offseason. Williams is their left tackle for the long term, and he needs to use these games to continue developing at the position. Pace, 34, had a sub-par year and isn’t likely to return next season.

For his work this year, Pace will receive about $6 million in compensation. It was an expensive gambit, but at least the Bears aren’t extending its life to save face.

Continuing around the NFC North: