LAKE FOREST, Ill. – As they prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine as well as free agency, the Bears aren’t sure whether veteran offensive tackle John Tait will be back for the 2009 season.
Veteran tackle John Tait is mulling retirement after 10 NFL seasons, including five with the Bears.
Tait, 34, has started 73 games in five seasons in Chicago. After playing right tackle in 2004, Tait switched to left tackle, enabling the Bears to sign free agent right tackle Fred Miller. After three seasons at left tackle, Tait moved back to right tackle this past season.
Tait’s contract expires following the 2009 season.
The only other tackles the Bears currently have under contract are 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams, who saw limited action as a rookie after returning from a back injury; and Cody Balogh, an undrafted free agent who spent his rookie season on the Bears practice squad last year.
Veteran John St. Clair, who started all 16 games at left tackle in 2008, is due to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Bears could address the tackle position in free agency and/or the draft. Free agency begins Feb. 27, while Angelo and other members of the organization will be in Indianapolis at the scouting combine this week evaluating prospects in advance of the April 25-26 draft.
“We will be prepared at the tackle position with or without John [Tait] on our roster,” Angelo said.