The Bear released second-year middle linebacker Dom DeCicco today, perhaps ending what was once a promising future for the former undrafted free agent.
DeCicco suffered a sports hernia injury during the first preseason game of the 2012 season and was unable to return to practice as a result.
The Bears will likely reach an injury settlement with DeCicco which means he won't be eligible to return to the Bears until after week six of the regular season. DeCicco figures to be healthy by then and could very well latch on with another team.
DeCicco's departure likely means the Bears are very confident in the return of Brian Urlacher to the start of the season. The depth at linebacker is tenuous at best if Urlacher figures to miss some time, but is far more stable with the captain of the defense healthy.
The Bears' linebacker rotation in the middle would be Urlacher, Roach and then Blake Costanzo who is a special teams ball-hawk who has started to show promise as a linebacker.
If the Bears are confident in their depth, they're likely confident in Urlacher returning to full health by week one.
Coach Lovie Smith offered up this tidbit of information regarding Urlacher to reporters this week.
"Brian is making a lot of progress," Smith said. "It's kind of set up that way, for you guys not to see an awful lot (of what happens at practice). It wouldn't do me any good really to talk to you about that since we really don't want you to see an awful lot from there (the practice field). He's making progress, I will let you know that about him. Just like we said all along, I expect to see No. 54 out on the field next week in practice and playing against the Colts."
The quote comes from ESPN Chicago and sounds a lot more optimistic than most fans would consider.
DeCicco would be eligible to come back in about four weeks had the Bears decided to retain him on the roster, but with the emergence of Costanzo and draft pick JT Thomas and Urlacher getting back to health, the retention of DeCicco seems moot.
Bears fans should start to shift their feeling about Urlacher's health and start to feel optimistic about the health of his knee. The Bears' personnel moves and Lovie Smith's reassurances seem to point to a much more stable linebacker position than a mere two weeks ago.