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Bears Hungry for Titans’ Robertson

February 12, 2000

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) _ The Chicago Bears opened the free agent signing period Friday with visits from Tennessee safety Marcus Robertson, Buffalo cornerback Thomas Smith and Seattle defensive end Phillip Daniels.

The three players were given physicals Friday by team doctors, while Bears’ front office officials talked with their agents about contract requirements.

``Tomorrow we give them a tour of Halas Hall,″ personnel head Mark Hatley said during a teleconference. ``We try to sell them on Chicago and the Bears. We are a young and ascending team with a new coaching staff that has made improvements.″

Robertson is still recovering from a broken leg, which caused him to miss the Super Bowl, and Hatley said he didn’t have a timetable on the nine-year pro’s availability.

Hatley said the trio had been invited to Lake Forest because the team’s main areas for improvement are the defensive backfield and defensive line. Chicago ranked near the bottom of the league in defense last season.

A dozen Bears became unrestricted free agents Friday and may sign with any team. They are defensive tackle Shane Burton; receivers Curtis Conway and Bobby Engram; quarterbacks Craig Erickson, Shane Matthews and Jim Miller; guards Todd Perry and Greg Huntington; safety Chris Hudson; linebacker Rico McDonald; kicker Jeff Jaeger; and punter Todd Sauerbrun.

``They are going to test the market,″ Hatley said. ``Maybe after they test the market we can get something done with them.″

Hatley said he especially didn’t want to lose Engram.

``I don’t want to lose Bobby. He’s done a lot for us, but if we do lose him I am confident that we have young receivers who can do the job.″

Hatley said the Bears may bring in some other free agents next week.

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