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Bears sign return specialist Mariani

The Bears on Tuesday signed receiver/return specialist Marc Mariani and waived safety Ahmad Dixon.

Mariani_head.jpg

Marc Mariani
Mariani, 27, appeared in 32 games with the Tennessee Titans in 2010-11, averaging 24.8 yards with one touchdown on 92 kickoff returns and 11.2 yards with two TDs on 73 punt returns. He also caught five passes for 24 yards with the Titans, all in 2011.

Mariani was selected by Tennessee in the seventh round of the 2010 draft out of Montana and was voted to the Pro Bowl as a rookie after scoring touchdowns on a 98-yard kickoff return and 87-yard punt return. He missed the past two seasons with a broken leg in 2012 and a shoulder injury in 2013.

The Bears have struggled in the return game this season, averaging just 22.8 yards on 33 kickoff returns and 6.2 yards on 13 punt returns. In Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Williams averaged 14 yards on three kickoff returns and 5.7 yards on three punt returns.

Dixon appeared in five games for the Bears this season, recording four special teams tackles and a fumble recovery.

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