Chris Harris remains with Bears

Updated: October 18, 2011, 8:17 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

Despite receiving permission Monday to pursue a trade, Bears safety Chris Harris remained with the team after Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT trade deadline.

Harris' agent, Albert Elias, said that interest from other teams sparked discussions, but "Chris decided to finish" with the Bears. General manager Jerry Angelo acknowledged the club fielded calls Tuesday about "a couple of players" -- none regarding running back Matt Forte -- but didn't divulge whether Harris was one of the Bears drawing interest.

Angelo also acknowledged that the tight timeline to work a Harris trade "would be too difficult" to consummate the potential move by the deadline. Elias and Harris spoke with the general manager just after the safety made the formal request for permission to seek the trade.

"We're all on the same page now," Angelo said.

A seven-year veteran, Harris was a second-team All-Pro last season and started the club's season-opening victory over the Atlanta Falcons but pulled a hamstring towards the end of the game.

Harris sat out the next three weeks recovering, and returned to the lineup for an Oct. 10 loss to the Detroit Lions. In that contest, Calvin Johnson beat Harris deep for a 73-yard touchdown from Matthew Stafford.

Just three days later, the team made the decision to bench Harris. The safety was available to play as a potential backup in Sunday night's win over the Minnesota Vikings, but the team made the decision hours before kickoff to deactivate Harris.

The next day, Harris requested permission to seek a trade.

Bears coach Lovie Smith explained the decision to deactivate Harris was made because the safety didn't play a role on special teams.

In his second stint with the Bears after the club traded last year with Carolina to bring him back, Harris is in the final year of the contract he signed upon returning. Because he hasn't been contacted by the team about a new contract, Harris and his agent believe the safety is not a part of Chicago's plans for the future.

Smith said that "things change quickly, almost daily," which seemed to indicate there's a chance Harris could find himself back in the starting lineup at some point this season.

Harris has played in 87 career games with 82 starts over seven seasons, and has posted 467 tackles and 15 interceptions, in addition to forcing 12 fumbles.

"You have to be in the mindset to let a player go," Angelo said just hours before Tuesday's deadline. "And chances are if (another team) like(s) your player, you like them, too. It's very difficult to do because with a lot of the good players, their teams are still in the hunt."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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