Search for Gilmore replacement leads to college ranks

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 04/02/2008, 12:30pm

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Could be the Bears wait until draft weekend to explore a replacement for third tight end John Gilmore.

Veteran free agent Aaron Walker visited Halas Hall March 12 and remains a possibility, but with the draft 3 1/2 weeks away now it could be the organization will see what that weekend brings before making a move.

One possibility is LSUs Keith Zinger, who tight ends coach Rob Boras worked out Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La. Zinger is a physical player at 6-4, 270 pounds, who made 32 career starts for the Tigers. He was rarely used in the passing game in school, but the Bears are looking for someone who can be a solid in-line blocker in short yardage and goalline situations.

Zinger, who pulled up with a tweaked hamstring running the 40-yard dash last week at LSUs pro day, is a good athlete with a little bit of flexibility and a hard worker. He was not invited to the combine.

He will make a pre-draft visit to Halas Hall next week becoming the ninth prospect we know of that is on the clubs list. With three compensatory picks awarded to the Bears in the seventh round, they can begin securing players who would typically be priority free agents with those selections. Zinger could potentially fall into that category. Safety Brandon McGowan joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2005.