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Bears release offensive lineman Earl Watford

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The release is considered relatively shocking at this stage of the preseason.

NFL: Chicago Bears-OTA
Earl Watford (71) will be looking for a new team heading into the 2018 regular season.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have released offensive lineman Earl Watford, the team announced on Sunday.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Watford was expected to compete for a spot on the Bears’ 53-man roster. In fact, two of the writers at Windy City Gridiron predicted that he would make the active roster. He saw extensive playing time as a guard with the team’s second-string offense, starting in Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs after the Bears decided to sit most of their starters.

The six-year veteran signed a one-year deal with the Bears in April. At 28-years-old, he is still in the prime of his career. But Watford being released at this stage of the preseason could prevent him from having enough time to catch onto another 53-man roster for the 2018 season.

Watford’s release could potentially open up a Bears roster spot for an offensive lineman on the fringe of making the team The likes of Eric Kush, Bradley Sowell, Jordan Morgan and Rashaad Coward are all expected to be in the running for roles with Chicago.

Jacob Infante is a Chicago Bears and NFL Draft writer at SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. He also covers the NFL Draft for USA Today SMG’s Draft Wire. He can be reached through Twitter @jacobinfante24 or emailed at jacobinfante1208@gmail.com.