Chicago Bears 53-Man Roster

Dane Sanzenbacher

Did Dane Sanzenbacher survive the final roster cuts?

8 pm CT has come and gone on August 31st.

The Chicago Bears roster received some serious cosmetic surgery in the hours approaching the NFL mandated roster deadline. After signing one veteran, former Bear DT Amobi Okoye, the Bears carved away from 76 players down to 53.

The final roster is set… for now. The Bears can still sign and release players, but they must also make corresponding moves to keep the roster at or below 53 players.

So which players survived the carnage and who got their walking papers?

News of cuts was breaking left and right all day, but amidst all of the cuts the Bears also made a trade. In a previous article I had mentioned that fullback Tyler Clutts may be the odd man out in the Bears backfield due to his specialized role.

Well, unfortunately for Tyler, my premonition came true. The Bears shipped Clutts to the Houton Texans for their 2010 5th round pick, cornerback Sherrick McManis. The 24 year old special teams contributor is a native of Peoria, IL, so it’s good to see somewhat of a homecoming story here in Chicago.

Other than that trade, cuts came at nearly every position:


QB – Josh McCown

RB – Armando Allen

WR – Rashied Davis, Terriun Crump (2nd time cut this preseason), Joe Anderson, Brittain Golden

TE – Brandon Venson

OL – Cory Brandon, James Brown, A.J. Greene, Ricky Henry

DL – Jordan Miller, Aston Whiteside

LB – Xavier Adibi, Jabara Williams

CB – Jonathan Wilhite, Cornelius Brown, Isaiah Frey, Greg McCoy

S – Mark LeGree


Some interesting names are on this list. Starting at the top, it was almost a safe bet that Josh McCown would stick with the Bears as the 3rd string QB, especially after a) rookie Matt Blanchard was cut and b) McCown had a strong finish to the preseason by tossing 2 TD’s in a win against the Browns on Thursday.

Another head-scratcher to Bears fans may be running back Armando Allen. He also had a good showing against the Browns with 134 all-purpose yards and a forced fumble on special teams. Since Khalil Bell got cut, I figured Allen would be a lock if the Bears kept 4 RB’s due to his special teams impact. But the Bears are keeping 3, and it seems the Bears are keener on Lorenzo Booker.

Other notable names to go are veterans Xavier Adibi and Mark LeGree as well as rookie cornerbacks Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy.

Adibi was brought in as part of the Urlacher insurance policy at linebacker, but the Bears remain adamant that Urlacher will start the season on the field. LeGree was signed as a reaction to the 2 safety injuries in week 2 of the preseason, but he is yet again on the outside looking in. He will be looking to catch on with his 6th organization in only his 2nd year of service.

Cornerbacks Frey and McCoy were late round draft picks in this past draft. Immediately cutting newly drafted players may seem like a waste of a pick, but hindsight is 20/20, and late round picks are always a crap shoot.

Some of these players may catch on with the 8-man practice squad, but here’s who will be staying with the big boys heading into September.


QB (2) – Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell

RB (3) – Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Lorenzo Booker

TE (4) – Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Kyle Adams, Evan Rodriguez

WR (6) – Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Earl Bennet, Alshon Jeffery, Eric Weems, Dane Sanzenbacher

OL (8) – J’Marcus Webb, Chris Spencer, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis, Gabe Carimi, Chris Williams, Edwin Williams, Chilo Rachal

DL (9*) – Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije, Henry Melton, Stephen Paea, Matt Toeaina, Shea McClellin, Correy Wootton, Brian Price, Cheta Ozougwu, Amobi Okoye*

LB (7) – Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, Geno Hayes, Blake Costanzo, J.T. Thomas, Patrick Trahan

CB (5) – Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, D.J. Moore, Kelvin Hayden, Sherrick McManis

S (5) – Chris Conte, Major Wright, Craig Steltz, Anthony Walters, Jeremy Jones

Specialists (4) – Patrick Mannelly, Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh, Ryan Quigley


Starting with the asterisk at defensive linemen: the signing of Amobi Okoye won’t be official until after week 1. Fellow defensive lineman Nate Collins will stay with the Bears but will serve the first week on the suspended list. Moves will be made to accommodate both players when they are eligible to join the 53-man roster.

General assumption is that whoever performs “the worst” out of the fringe players will be cut when Okoye and Collins are ready. This means 2nd punter Ryan Quigley, 5th safety Jeremy Jones, or a player like Cheta Ozougwu who’s at the back-end of his position’s rotation should all be on notice.

Johnny Know will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and Brandon Hardin will start the year on Injured Reserve (IR). Knox isn’t expected to return at all this year but Hardin can be taken off of IR as the season goes along based on how his injury rehab goes.

Finally, most of you will notice that folk hero Dane Sanzenbacher earned a roster spot for the 2nd straight year. A lot of people knock him for his size, but Sanzenbacher led the entire Bears receiving corps with 3 touchdowns on only 27 receptions last year. He’s simply got a nose for the endzone.

The 53-man roster will change over the course of the season, but now that the dust has settled, what do you think of the roster moves the Bears have made?


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