#Bears have signed DL Jamil Merrell from Rutgers who was in on a tryout during minicamp.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
#Bears are signing Wisconsin LB Conor O'Neill to a contract also. Still yet to see if more players other than Fendi Onobun have been cut.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
NFL.com has a draft profile on Merrell here.
We had more news shortly after that, and it won't please Canadian hamsters:
Israel Idonije is well-known to Bears fans after having spent 2004-2012 playing both DT and DE, racking up 20.5 sacks in his three final seasons during that span, in which he appeared in all 48 games and started 42. Jerrod Johnson went undrafted in 2011 and spent some time on the Bears' practice squad last season.
Biggs also offered up some thoughts on Izzy:
Idonije release not surprising given additions in draft. When Bears used 2nd and 3rd rd picks on DTs, Izzy's future was in doubt.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
Idonije was a solid and versatile player earlier in career and probably took coaching staff too long to utilize him. But valuable performer.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
Idonije was valuable for special teams coach Dave Toub previously and was always stand up guy in locker room. True pro.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
Interesting thing about Idonije is he was one of first d-lineman used regularly on special teams early in his career. Was on return unit.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
He has not, at time of writing, had anything more to add about Johnson, who has attempted no regular season passes in his time in the league. His Tribune colleague Rich Campbell has more on these roster moves here.
Some further notes from Biggsy...
#Bears have 88 players on roster. Would expect a tight end and don't know on other position before training camp.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
...and in case you missed it,
#Bears announce first training camp practice at ONU will be July 25 and first practice with full pads is July 27.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) June 19, 2014
We'll have more on these roster moves and news of today's abbreviated minicamp session in tomorrow's Den, as usual. In the meantime: after the collapse due to injury of the defensive line last season, how do you feel about not retaining Izzy as insurance? Is it an indication of the coaching staff's confidence in the rookies' potential and young players' improvement?
(Izzy in hi-res.)