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Players eager to prove their value

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 25, 2013 – 2:35 pm

General manager Phil Emery’s declaration that the Bears likely won’t sign any contract extensions during the season is motivating some players who are in the final years of their deals.

“I’m more excited that this is my contract year,” said return specialist Devin Hester. “I’d rather do my contract after the season is over because the way I’m feeling now, I could boost my stock a whole lot from where it’s at now. I’m not really paying attention to the contract. I’d rather have mine after the season because what I’m planning on doing this year is going to help me out.”

Emery said Wednesday that he didn’t anticipate signing any players to new deals because he wants the focus to be on the field and the Bears have little room under the salary cap.

“Most definitely it motivates you,” said cornerback Tim Jennings, who is one of more than 40 Bears players entering the final year of his contract. “It’s not disappointing. I guess it’s just writing on the wall for a lot of guys. We’ve got a new front office, a new head coach and a new coaching staff.

“Hopefully everything plays out for itself with guys here and we make the Super Bowl run and they’re going to have to start talking to a lot of guys and hopefully keep the right guys in the right places for years to come. They’ve got their plan in place and we’ve got to see how it goes.”

Other players in the same position as Hester and Jennings include James Anderson, Jay Cutler, Roberto Garza, Robbie Gould, Kelvin Hayden, Patrick Mannelly, Henry Melton, Matt Slauson, Craig Steltz, Charles Tillman, J’Marcus Webb, D.J. Williams, Corey Wootton and Major Wright.

“I feel like I could stay here for a while,” said Anderson, who inked a one-year deal with the Bears after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers. “A one-year deal just means ‘go prove yourself.’ So you go out there and you play ball and you let the chips fall where they may.”

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