Jasper — Of all days to get notified, former Hamilton County football star Alex Brown was released today, April Fool's Day, from the Chicago Bears – only this wasn't a joke. After eight years in the Windy City, the Bears and Brown are parting ways.
Brown, 31, was informed of the team's intentions while visiting family in Jennings after the death of an aunt.
Chicago spent the past week trying to trade Brown and after no takers, decided to release the veteran defensive end.
The move comes after the Bears recently signed free-agent defensive end Julius Peppers to a $20 million contract this season.
"I enjoyed my time and I appreciate the Bears for giving me the opportunity to play,” Brown told the Chicago Tribune. “The city of Chicago, there wasn't a better place to spend eight years of football. I got to see a lot of highs and lows and had a lot of fun with all of it."
"I believe I can play four or five more years, I mean good years," he said. "Shoot, over the last four, five years I have been so close to having the magical number everyone looks for as far as sacks (10). As far as what I have been doing, I'm in my prime still."
Brown, a fourth-round draft pick from the University of Florida in 2002, was most proud of his streak of playing in 127 consecutive regular-season games. He departs having made 483 tackles, 43 1/2 sacks and five interceptions. He ranks fourth in franchise history with 431/2 sacks, trailing only Richard Dent, Steve McMichael and Dan Hampton.
Last season, Brown registered 39 tackles, six sacks, two pass breakups, one fumble recovery and five tackles-for-loss while starting all 16 games.
According to the official Chicago Bears Web site, chicagobears.com, Brown sent a message to the team and its fans via his Twitter account late Tuesday night.
"I am extremely grateful for my time as a Chicago Bear and I wish the Bears the best," he wrote. "I am glad that they gave me an opportunity to realize a dream I had as a child. I appreciate the fans, but as we all know, this is the nature of the business. Bear down!"
Don't look for Brown to be off the market long though, someone is surely to pick him up soon as a free agent.
See more in next week's Jasper News.