LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) _ The Chicago Bears waived cornerback Jeremy Lincoln on Tuesday as they cut their roster to the NFL-mandated 60 players.

The Bears had to reach an injury settlement with Lincoln, 27, because the fifth-year veteran from Tennesee wasn't fully recovered from a pulled hamstring that prevented him from playing in the first three exhibition games. Teams cannot release an injured player without compensation, according to NFL rules.

``He just didn't have a chance to compete,'' Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said. ``It wasn't his fault, it wasn't our fault.''

Also agreeing to injury settlements were Kendall Brown (knee), a first-year defensive tackle from Louisville, and Kenny Gales (finger), a first-year cornerback from Wisconsin.

Wannstedt said the Bears will keep four cornerbacks. Donnell Woolford and rookie Walt Harris are penciled in as starters, Kevin Miniefield and James Burton as backups.

``When you stack them up 1-2-3-4, (Lincoln) was fifth,'' Wannstedt said. ``It just wasn't wise to keep a fifth cornerback on our 53-man roster.''

Money also figured into the equation. Lincoln was to earn more than $900,000 this season as part of a three-year, $3.1 million contract he signed in 1995. Terms of the injury settlement weren't disclosed.

Lincoln's demise became evident at the start of training camp when he was listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind Woolford at left cornerback, a position he had never played as a pro. Lincoln started 35 games at right cornerback for the Bears in the three seasons. He had five career interceptions.

He injured his hamstring in the second week of training camp and hasn't practiced since.

``We're all saddened, but I'm sure he'll be playing for somebody else,'' Woolford said.

Lincoln was acquired by the Bears in the third round of the 1992 draft, before Wannstedt took over as head coach.