Hoping to add experience behind starter Martelllus Bennett at tight end, the Chicago Bears signed veteran tight end Leonard Pope to a one-year contract. In a corresponding move, the Bears released TE Brody Eldridge.
The 6-8, 264 pound Pope is a well-traveled pro, having began his career with Arizona while also playing for Kansas City and Pittsburgh. He’s started 51 of 103 contests over seven seasons, catching 105 passes for 982 yards (9.4ypc) and 11 touchdowns.
Pope has been reliable, playing in at least 13 games throughout his career, and seeing action in all 16 four times (2006, 2010, 2011, and 2012).The Bears were apparently concerned with the experience behind Bennett, with just journeyman Steve Maneri, holdover Kyle Adams, and unproven Fendi Onobun in reserve.
Bear Tracks: Tempers flared during Friday’s practice session when TE Bennett felt Bears DB’s Kelvin Hayden, Chris Conte, and Major Wright were being overly physical. Head coach Marc Trestman brushed off the incident, saying the players were competing hard and showing the stress of a full week of camp….OT Jermon Bushrod remains out, but did work out on the side with a Bears trainer. Bushrod wants to play in the Bears preseason opener, but logic dictates the team will be careful with Jay Cutler’s prized protector….CB Isiah Frey, a sixth-round draft choice in 2012 who spent last year on the practice squad, continues to impress with his instincts and ball awareness. Frey has been around the ball frequently and is quietly making a bid for a reserve cornerback’s job….Newly signed LB Andrew Starks, a Plainfield, IL native, is a life-long Bears fan, and called the opportunity to play for the navy blue and orange a lifelong thrill. Starks participated in the Bears rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis.