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Bears Reward Youth, Dump Vets: Team Stays Young, Keeps DL Intact


Bears Greatest Strength Stays A Strength: The Bears agreed to a two-year contract extension with DE Alex Brown through 2011 and released veterans Muhsin Muhammad and Fred Miller, and declined to exercise an option on Darwin Walker, making him a free agent. Brown finished a consistent 2007 campaign with dominance. In the final four contests, the Gator alum recorded 20 tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss, one interception, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Impressive for someone who did not begin the season as a starter, one who was supposed to be dealt before ’07 kicked off.

Brown was the only Bears defender to register a sack, interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery in 2007. He rotated into the lineup behind Mark Anderson and Adewale Ogunleye for the first 14 games before starting the final two games after Anderson injured his knee.

Brown has played in 95 games with 75 starts in six seasons with the Bears, compiling 405 tackles, 31½ sacks, four interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. The 28-year-old had two years remaining on his contract before agreeing to the new deal.

Hit the road jack: Muhammad departs after catching 40 passes for 570 yards and 3 TDs in 2007. It was his fewest receptions since he had 27 in 1997 in his second NFL season with the Carolina Panthers.

In three years with the Bears, Muhammad caught 164 passes for 2,183 yards and 12 TDs. The 34-year-old was the team’s leading receiver with 64 receptions for 750 yards in 2005 and 60 catches for 863 yards in 2006.

Miller started 46 games in three years with the Bears, including 15 in 2007. The 6-7, 314-pounder signed with Chicago in 2005 after spending his first nine NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (1996-99) and Tennessee Titans (2000-04). The Bears acquired Walker last July 29 in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. The 6-3, 294-pounder compiled 33 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss in 11 games with Chicago.

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