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Bears Hoping Melton Will Step Up in 2011

The Bears have some high hopes for DL Henry Melton, who had 13 tackles last season but was not a starter.

Bears defensive lineman Henry Melton finished with 13 tackles, and he didn’t start any games.

But the former fourth-round pick has endeared himself to his coaches, and he appears in line to take the starting spot vacated by Tommie Harris. Melton is currently 294 pounds, and he’s capable of adding more weight, if necessary. But the Bears want to keep his explosiveness, which he flashed in collecting 2 1/2 sacks and forcing one fumble.

“I think Henry Melton is a talented athlete,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said at the NFL owners meeting. “His upside is… we saw some special plays from him in a limited role, and I’m excited about him getting some more reps. Probably inside. He’s a guy who can go up, as far as weight is concerned.

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