Chester Taylor officially cut

Updated: September 3, 2011, 11:59 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

The Bears' moves to cut down to their 53-man roster Saturday included the release of veterans Marcus Harrison, Desmond Clark and Chester Taylor.

"I understand it's a business and there's certain decisions that have to be made," Harrison said.

A third-round pick in 2008, Harrison has played in 37 games with nine starts. He's posted 53 career tackles and three sacks.

The defensive tackle started training camp in the club's doghouse by reporting 11 pounds overweight, and missed the first five practices because he was placed on the non-football injury list.

Harrison showed progress toward the end of camp, but the improvements obviously weren't significant enough to warrant the club keeping him.

"To be honest, this is the best camp I've had since I've been here, even though I was slowed down as far as being behind the eight ball," Harrison said. "Every game I graded out good, except for [the game against the New York Giants]. Practice had been good. But I missed some days to compete for a spot."

Harrison played five games last season, contributing one tackle, in addition to batting down a pass.

During the NFL lockout, Bears officials expressed optimism about Harrison's prospects for the upcoming season, saying 2011 would be the defensive tackle's best opportunity to become a significant contributor in the defensive-line rotation.

Harrison was inactive for six of the club's first seven games last season, and the last four games, but he played in four consecutive games from Nov. 14 to Dec. 12.

The team's release of Taylor, meanwhile, doesn't come as much of a surprise, given the bizarre week he experienced.

An NFL source said Monday that Bears coach Lovie Smith told Taylor he was no longer in the team's plans because of the strong play of free-agent acquisition Marion Barber.

Upon hearing the news, Taylor -- who just last season had signed a four-year, $12.5 million deal, with $7 million guaranteed -- immediately left Halas Hall, but later was contacted by the team to rejoin the Bears for practice that afternoon.

Taylor returned, and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo gave the running back the rest of the day off.

Taylor came back to the practice field Tuesday, and explained the bizarre situation came as a result of "miscommunication."

Taylor then played in the team's preseason finale Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, finishing with 10 carries for 27 yards. Going into that game, he had logged just six attempts; the team's other running backs each had run the ball at least 20 times.

The Bears brought back Clark, a free agent in the offseason, on a one-year deal a few days into training camp after he was active for only five games in 2010. The tight end performed well in practice but suffered a minor knee injury during the third preseason game against Tennessee. Clark's departure likely opens the door for undrafted rookie free agent Kyle Adams to secure a role on the final 53-man roster as the team's swing tight end and H-back.

A 13-year NFL veteran, Clark ranks second in franchise history among tight ends with 242 receptions and 18 touchdowns, and third with 2,639 receiving yards. He recorded 40 plus catches in three consecutive seasons (2006-08) and caught a career high six touchdowns the same year the Bears advanced to the Super Bowl.

The Bears also waived the following eight players: receiver Kris Adams, guard Ricky Henry, tackle Levi Horn, running back Robert Hughes, defensive tackle Jordan Miller, tight end Andre Smith, linebacker Patrick Trahan and safety Anthony Walters.

They placed linebacker J.T. Thomas on the injured reserve list and placed running back Harvey Unga on the reserve/left team list.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com. Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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