Pair of off-field headaches crop up for Bears
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)
It was a day of apologies for the Chicago Bears.
Tight end Gabe Miller released a statement Tuesday, apologizing to his team and Bears fans after he was suspended for four games after violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing substances.
''While it was an isolated incident, I regret the poor judgment I showed and accept full responsibility for this mistake along with the punishment that comes with it,'' he said. ''In the meantime I will continue to work hard and contribute in any way I can. I look forward to having the opportunity to make this up to the people that I have disappointed.''
And there was second-year fullback Evan Rodriguez, who had to answer questions after he was charged Friday with driving under the influence as well as speeding and improper lane usage on a Chicago highway. It was his second alcohol-related arrest of the offseason; in March, Rodriguez was charged with resisting an officer without violence and disorderly intoxication, charges that were later dropped.
''I know I made a poor judgment that night,'' Rodriguez said of last week's arrest. ''I also have to earn my teammates' trust back and the coaches' trust back, so I can say a whole bunch of words, but I have to lead by my actions.''
General manager Phil Emery had clearly seen enough.
''Evan is a very likable guy,'' Emery said as the Bears continued offseason workouts. ''We have talked. Disappointed. I would use the word `extremely,' and leave it at that.''
Miller is eligible to participate in practices and scrimmages, but will be barred from the team during the first four weeks of the regular season. He is eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 30.
Rodriguez could be facing disciplinary action, either by the league or Bears.
''I just have to face the music,'' he said. ''Anything that's going to happen I just have to handle it and be a man about my whole approach about everything.''
Rodriguez is important to the offense largely because he is their only legitimate fullback. His backup is Harvey Unga, who was a running back and took some snaps at the fullback spot in training camp last year.
''Obviously we drafted him with roles in mind and we were working toward fulfilling those roles ,'' Emery said.
Notes: Emery acknowledged the team is taking a look at former Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, a free agent. ... The Bears are reportedly expected to work out former Oakland Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell and take a look at former Bills starter Trent Edwards.