Alshon Jeffery releases curious statement about free agency

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Alshon Jeffery. (Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS — What does Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery think of testing free agency? Well, he released an interesting statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Thursday.

It sounds as if he’s prepared to leave the Bears.

“I don’t have any hard feeling towards the Bears; it’s all love,” Jeffery told Anderson. “Whatever the next chapter is, I’m ready for it. I’m looking at the teams that obviously need a wide receiver, but also put me in the best situation to win a championship right now.

“I also want to see what other free agents may be attracted to the same teams I’ll be looking at, that can help that goal.”

The Eagles, Titans and 49ers are believed to be interested in signing Jeffery, who is looking for a deal that puts him among the elite at his position.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace said that he would maintain a dialogue with Jeffery’s agent, Tory Dandy, during the NFL Scouting Combine.

“It’s still got to play out,” Pace said.

The Bears aren’t ruling out re-signing Jeffery. But his price matters. It’s why they declined to use the franchise tag on him for the second consecutive year. It would have cost $17.5 million.

“When you can’t come to a common ground with a player and an agent, sometimes it’s necessary to kind of test the market to determine that player’s value, and that’s really where we’re at,” Pace said.

Looking at Stills

Dolphins coach Adam Gase, the Bears’ former offensive coordinator, bemoaned the potential loss of speedy receiver Kenny Stills in free agency.

Stills, who had 42 catches for 726 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016, could be an option to replace Jeffery. He was a fifth-round pick of Pace and the Saints in 2013. The Bears explored trading for Stills in 2015, but the Dolphins acquired him.

“I hate free agency,’’ Gase said. ‘‘You just want to get your guys back. Kenny and myself have a very close relationship. The worst thing about the NFL is sometimes that doesn’t matter. Sometimes the money is what guys are looking for.

“Kenny, obviously, he’d love to stay here but he’s going to stay for the right price and what’s comfortable for him and I don’t think anybody would blame him for that.”

Defending Dave

Former Bears special teams coach Dave Toub is “as ready as anybody” to be a head coach, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

Toub, the Chiefs’ special teams coach, interviewed for the Chargers and Broncos coaching vacancies this offseason.

“Dave is a tremendous leader, disciplinarian,” Reid said, “but knows when to push and knows when to pull up, and has had great success doing what he’s doing.”

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