Juaquin Iglesias, Jarron Gilbert cut
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears got down to the mandatory 53-man roster Saturday, handing out pink slips to a few notable players, including the organization's top two picks of the 2009 NFL draft, third-round choices wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias and defensive end Jarron Gilbert.
Iglesias saw action in only one game last season and failed in training camp and four preseason games to sway the staff into giving him another opportunity in 2010. The wideout out of Oklahoma averaged 21.3 yards on four catches in the preseason, including one touchdown reception. But Iglesias, who was slowed by injury early in camp, couldn't beat out veteran Rashied Davis -- who is also a special teams contributor -- for the final roster spot at receiver. A second-year player, Iglesias still has practice-squad eligibility, so there's a chance the receiver could be brought back.
In other news, efforts to trade special teams standout Tim Shaw were unsuccessful, and he was released, just one year after recording an impressive 30 special teams tackles.
"Tim did a great job on special teams, but we replaced him with Brian [Iwuh]," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "We felt Brian was more tailored for our scheme defensively and did a real good job on special teams as well. It was a tough call. Tim was an excellent player for us."
Two former starters were also shown the door: guard/center Josh Beekman and safety Al Afalava. Beekman was the team's starting left guard in 2008, but lost his job to free agent offensive lineman Frank Omiyale at the beginning of the 2009 campaign. Although Beekman eventually returned to the starting lineup for a brief time last year, he was never seriously considered for the job this past offseason, and spent the bulk of training camp backing up veteran center Olin Kreutz.
"That was a tough decision, and it certainly came down to the wire," Angelo said of the decision to cut Beekman. "But we felt going forward that we wanted to go with younger players, in particular Johan [Asiata] and J'Marcus [Webb]. Johan is still developing, and [offensive line coach] Mike [Tice] liked the direction [Asiata] was going and wanted to keep that process going. We felt this is what was best for us, but we wish Josh well."
Afalava started 13 games at safety for the Bears last season, but after a mediocre preseason, lost out to veteran Josh Bullocks for the fifth and final spot at the safety position.
"Chris Harris wasn't here last year and we drafted Major Wright, and we like both of those player," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said." That's what affected Al a little bit. Al's a good player, but the numbers just kind of got him."
Despite much uncertainty this summer, the Bears decided to keep four running backs, which allowed the team to retain special teams standout Garrett Wolfe. But unlike last season, the Bears opted to carry three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but did release 2010 sixth-round selection Dan LeFevour.
Other players cut included: Freddie Barnes, Cornelius Brown, Levi Horn, Kevin Malast, James Marten, Greg Matthews, Quentin Scott, Kelvin Smith, Woodny Turenne, Barry Turner, Tim Walter, Aaron Webster, Eddie Williams, Mick Williams and vested veteran Richard Angulo.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.
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