Chicago Bears

Bears strengthen 
training camp roster

LAKE FOREST – The Bears wasted little time to add depth to their training camp roster.

Former Ohio State wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher topped a list of 26 undrafted free agents who signed deals with the Bears on Tuesday. Teams were allowed to sign rookies starting Tuesday, but they will not be able to sign veteran free agents until 5 pm. Friday.

By adding 26 undrafted free agents, the Bears increased their roster to 73 players under contract plus five unsigned rookie draft picks. Teams may start training camp with 90 players this season.

Sanzenbacher could have a chance to earn a job as a possession receiver and special-teams player with the Bears. He caught 55 passes for 948 yards and 11 touchdowns last season for Ohio State.

The Bears’ signings included Northwestern defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, Purdue tight end Kyle Adams, UTEP wide receiver Kris Adams and Notre Dame running back Robert Hughes.

Another undrafted rookie who signed with the Bears, Boise State safety Winston Venable, is the brother of San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable.

Hold on: Veteran linebacker Nick Roach spent Tuesday in limbo, joining hundreds of free agents across the NFL who waited to learn which team they would play for this season.

The Bears contacted Roach soon after the NFL allowed negotiations to start at 9 a.m. He has spent the past four seasons with the Bears, making 30 starts in 48 appearances since 2007.

Roach’s agent, Josh Wright, said negotiations were preliminary. The Bears had not addressed specific contract terms or what role Roach might have with the team, Wright said.

“They’ve made it clear they want him back,” Wright said. “But we don’t really know what that means yet.”

Same feeling: Veteran center Olin Kreutz also waited to learn his training camp destination.

Kreutz, who has played for the Bears since 1998, was expected to be one of the team’s top priorities heading into the free agent signing period. In addition to the Bears’ interest, several other teams reportedly hoped to negotiate a possible deal with the 34-year-old lineman.

“We’re talking to the Bears and we’ll just kind of see what happens,” Kreutz’s agent, Mark Bartlestein, told The Associated Press.

Tough to swallow: Bears kicker Robbie Gould said he was disappointed to learn that the team planned to part ways with veteran punter Brad Maynard.

“It’s a sad day,” Gould said.

Maynard, 37, averaged 40.1 yards a punt last season, which ranked near the bottom of the NFL.

Gould said Maynard did what was asked of him.

“In a time when punters are punting all over the field, mostly down the middle of the field, Brad is the best directional punter in the NFL,” Gould said.

“Obviously, if you’re punting down the middle of the field, [you get greater distance]. That’s not our scheme. Obviously, Brad has the leg to do it.”

Bears bits: Oddsmakers at MGM Sportsbook in Las Vegas set the Bears’ preliminary over-under wins total at 9 ½. … Ex-Bears wide receiver Devin Aromashodu agreed to a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, ESPN reported. Aromashodu, who caught 10 passes for 149 yards last season, did not receive a qualifying offer from the Bears.

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