A week before the Super Bowl, Alex Brown had an inkling something might happen with the Bears in his favor.
But he said he was serious about the disappointment in his contract and the fact that he lost his starting job at about this time last year to Mark Anderson. If something wasnt worked out, he was going to show the team how upset he was by skipping the offseason workout program and in turn having to write a big check back to the team for failing to participate.
It wont come to that, not after the veteran defensive end signs a two-year extension worth up to $15.5 million today when he arrives from Puerto Rico.
“I believe that they believe Im a piece of the puzzle on the defense, he said Monday afternoon while watching his sons baseball practice. “Half the battle when youre trying to get a team better is that everyone is happy. Im definitely happy with everything thats going on right now. Weve been talking about the contract for about a week now. Im happy. I think they did the right thing.
Brown is expected to battle Anderson for the starting job on the right side. He made a strong case for himself in the final two games when, with Anderson sidelined, he recorded two sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and four passes defended. But hes not crowing about that or making any further demands.
A Q&A with Brown:
Q: Ultimately, is a little more security with the Bears what you sought all along?
Brown: I didnt want to go anywhere else. But I wanted the opportunity to compete for a job. I want the opportunity to play. I dont want to sit down and let my career go by. Nothing has been promised. Nothing like that at all. I know I will have an opportunity to go in and compete for the job. We have a chance to win here. I believe well have a healthy Tommie [Harris], Dusty [Dvoracek] happy again, Anthony Adams, Wale [Ogunleye]will do his thing and Mark will get back to his old self.
Q: You received a new contract in 2004 before the new collective bargaining agreement. Did you have a problem with the deal soon after signing it?
Brown: I think it was a little short. It wasnt the teams fault. It wasnt the players fault. When we did the deal, it was good. Now, we feel like things have changed and the market has changed and the Bears felt the same way also.
Q: Its gotta be nice there. Are you prepared for a frigid return to sign this deal?
Brown: Im going to be warm inside, you can believe that. Im excited right now and Im going to be really excited tomorrow when I sign that contract. Coming from where I was a year ago, I didnt see this coming at the end of the tunnel. I guess it does work, when you do it like the team asks. I understand going to the media isnt always the right way to go, but sometimes its necessary. This is a good day.
Brown signed a five-year extension on Dec. 2, 2004, that included a $5.5 million signing bonus. He received a $1.5 million roster bonus in 2006 and a $500,000 roster bonus this past season, but otherwise he was playing for minimums in base pay each season.
Escalators that were primarily tied to sacks for $3.5 million in 2008 and 2009 had fallen out of reach. The new deal takes care of some of that and obviously makes him happy.