In a move about as climactic as the ending of a romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey, the Bears jettisoned DE Alex Brown after 8 years. The move means Brown is a free agent able to sign with any team he chooses. The Bears attempted to trade him in the hopes of getting something in return for the former Pro Bowl alternate; but with the $10+ million he was due over the next 2 years, it was unlikely any team would agree to those terms AND part with a draft pick or player.
Brown finishes his Bears career as the 4th leading sack artist in franchise history, behind Dent, McMichael and Hampton. (On a side note, how crazy is it that the top 3 sackmen in Bears history all played on the same defensive line? How the mid ’80s Bears didn’t manage to win another Lombardi Trophy is beyond me. But that’s another post for another time…).
Brown bid sayonara to Bears fans via Twitter earlier this week when he proclaimed “I am extremely grateful for my time as a Chicago Bear and I wish the Bears the best. I am glad that they gave me an opportunity to realize a dream I had [as] a child. I appreciate the fans but as we all know this is the nature of the business. Bear down!”
In homage to Brown, here are 3 of my all-time favorite, game-changing plays courtesy of #96…
- 2008 – With the Bears up 24-20 and the Eagles threatening to take the lead late in the game, Brown flew around the end to stop RB Correll Buckhalter on 4th and 1 from the Bears 1-yard line to help preserve a “W.”
- 2008 –Green Bay lined up for an apparent game-winning 38-yard field goal with only 17 seconds left in the 4th quarter of a 17-17 game. But Brown blocked Mason Crosby’s gimme attempt, sending the game into OT. The Bears eventually won, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Brown also intercepted Aaron Rodgers earlier in the game.
- 2004 – Brown was part of NFL history in another overtime win, this time against the Titans. For only the 2nd time in league history, an overtime game ended with a safety. Brown sacked Titans QB Billy Volek in the end zone causing a fumble that was recovered by a Titans lineman in the end zone. Final score: Bears 19, Titans 17.