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Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Bears release Mark Anderson

By Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears signed veteran defensive end Charles Grant to a one-year contract on Tuesday, and they released Mark Anderson in a corresponding move to make room on the roster.

There's a chance, however, that Grant could miss some time, according to an NFL spokesman, because the league is looking into possibly disciplining him under its personal conduct policy. Grant was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a February, 2008 incident at a bar in which a pregnant woman was shot to death. Grant eventually pleaded no contest to affray -- fighting of two or more persons in a public place that disturbs others -- in May. According to the Associated Press, Grant received a fine of $1,000 and was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the Early County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office.

Grant also was set to be suspended for testing positive for a diuretic in 2008, but the league delayed the suspension pending the outcome of litigation filed by fellow players testing positive for the identical diuretic.

The Bears didn't disclose the terms of Grant's deal.

Originally a first-round pick of the Saints in 2002, Grant played eight seasons in New Orleans, where he contributed 505 tackles and 47 sacks in 118 career games before the club released him in March. Grant subsequently joined the Miami Dolphins, only to be cut after a solid preseason. Grant resurfaced with the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL, where he participated in two games prior to signing with the Bears.

Anderson, meanwhile, struggled in recent years to recapture the luster of his rookie season in 2006, when he posted the highest sack total for an NFL rookie since 1982 while setting a franchise record with 12. Anderson posted just nine sacks in the three subsequent seasons and none in 2010. That likely led to his release as the club looks to find a pass rusher capable of beating the one-on-one matchups produced by all the attention paid by opponents to Julius Peppers.

Grant has forced 14 fumbles in addition to recovering five loose balls. He's also intercepted one pass and broken up 24.

For Bears players, the news of Anderson's depature was a reminder of the reality of that the NFL is a business.

"At first, yeah [I was surprised]," Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said on ESPN 1000's "Football Nigh in Chicago." "Initially you hear a release like that and you think 'what happened?' You try to make sense of it. You try to put it together and it doesn't make any sense, still. But then you realize that this is the NFL. Last week Tommie [Harris] got benched. Zach Bowman, playing well, got benched. This kind of stuff happens. So now for me to say 'I'm surprised about this.' I can't. Not anymore."

Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson cover the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.