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American Football: Bears add Brown

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posted on Apr, 1 2004 @ 07:20 PM
Free agent guard Ruben Brown, the eight-time Pro Bowl performer released by the Buffalo Bills last month, has agreed to join the Chicago Bears on a three-year contract.

The nine-year veteran represents the latest high-profile addition to the revamped Bears line, joining former Kansas City right tackle John Tait, acquired as a transition free agent two weeks ago. Brown is expected to net about $1.5 million in guaranteed funds in the contract and there reportedly are escalators that can increase its value.

Brown, 32, will move into the right guard spot, after having played left guard virtually his entire career with the Bills. Former right guard Mike Gandy will now compete with the untested Qasim Mitchell for the starting spot at left tackle. Rex Tucker, who missed all of 2003 with an injury, is expected to return to his spot as the starting left guard and the line is anchored by standout center Olin Kreutz.

During his brief fling in free agency, Brown visited with Detroit officials and his agents spoke to several other teams as well. Notable is that Brown is represented by the same agency that handles Tait's negotiations.

There are mixed opinions as to how well Brown is playing at this point of his career. Some scouts feel he still has a couple of productive seasons remaining. Others suggest that the former Bills star has been in decline for the last few campaigns.

The former University of Pittsburgh star, chosen by Buffalo in the first round of the '95 draft, was chosen to the last eight Pro Bowls. He has played in 136 games and has started all of them, five times appearing in all 16 contests and never making fewer than 13 starts in a season.

Brown started the first 15 games in 2003 and then missed the season finale with that the club termed "personal problems." Sources said that Brown essentially begged off because he was allegedly depressed about the Bills' poor play and failure to earn a playoff spot.

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