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Have Bears ever gone worst-to-first?

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Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic, but I think the Bears might challenge for the division title this year. When was the last time they went from "worst-to-first" (if ever)?

Ben
Morton, Illinois

The last time the Bears went from worst-to-first was when they rebounded from a 5-11 record in 2004 in Lovie Smith's first season to win the NFC North in 2005 with an 11-5 mark. They could repeat history this year given that they finished in last place with a 6-10 record in John Fox's first season as coach last year. The Bears also went from worst-to-first in 2000-01 when they won the NFC Central with a 13-3 record in Dick Jauron's third season as coach after finishing last with a 5-11 mark the previous year.

Did I miss something? What has happened to Will Montgomery? I know he was injured most of last year, but I thought he was the Bears center until Hroniss Grasu was ready.

John O.

Veteran Will Montgomery, who signed a one-year contract with the Bears last April, remains an unsigned free agent. Things could change, but it does not appear that he is in the Bears' plans for 2016. They have bolstered their interior line by signing veteran Manny Ramirez, who can play center and guard, as well as Ted Larsen, who has played center, guard and tackle in the NFL. Plus with Kyle Long moving back to right guard, there are only two starting interior positions to fill from among Ramirez and Larsen and holdovers Matt Slauson and Hroniss Grasu.

When was the last time the Bears played the defending Super Bowl champions in the preseason as they do this year against the Broncos?

Steve B.
Huntley, Illinois

The last time the Bears played the defending Super Bowl champions in the preseason was on Aug. 22, 2014 when they lost to the Seahawks 34-6 in Seattle.

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