Chester Taylor practices with Bears
An NFL source said Monday that Smith told Taylor he was no longer in Chicago's plans because of the strong play the team was getting from new acquisition Marion Barber. In addition, Taylor was informed that other teams had inquired about trading for him, but the running back wasn't told which teams, according to a source.
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Taylor immediately left Halas Hall, but the team's front office contacted his agent saying the running back needed to return to practice. Shortly after returning to the facilities, general manager Jerry Angelo allowed Taylor to take the rest of the day off.
Smith clarified the exchange later Monday, saying he told Taylor he just wasn't in the plans for Saturday's preseason game against the Titans, not the entire 2011 regular season.
Taylor corroborated that account.
"That was a personal conversation between me and him," Taylor said. "I just took it the wrong way. It was just a miscommunication. I thought something happened. I mean, I just took the words the wrong way. That's it."
Smith said on Tuesday that Taylor fit "in the same place he's fit in since he's been here. He's one of the guys in the mix just like everybody else."
Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Martz indicated Taylor will play in the preseason finale Thursday night at Soldier Field against the Cleveland Browns.
Taylor admitted to being disappointed about not receiving any playing time against the Titans but considers himself past the latest ordeal.
"I'm out here practicing, trying to still get better while I'm out here. So it's behind me right now. I'm just focused on the game. I'm on the team right now. Of course I want to play," Taylor said. "I'm always disappointed when I'm not playing. But I understand the decisions they're making. I've just got to deal with it."
Taylor signed a three-year deal that included $7 million in guaranteed money before last season but was ineffective in his first season under Martz. Taylor averaged 2.4 yards a carry, rushing for 267 yards in 16 games last season.
Although Taylor no longer appears to be in the plans, it's believed the Bears may be trying to salvage a late-round draft pick for the running back. If a team acquires Taylor in a trade, it assumes his 2011 salary of $1.25 million and up to $975,000 in performance incentives, if an entirely new deal isn't worked out.
The Bears signed Barber as a free agent this summer to complement starter Matt Forte, a move that makes Taylor's potential exit not much of a surprise.
"I don't want to be released. I like it here in Chicago," Taylor said. "But I'm gonna continue to play and just see what happens."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.