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Chicago Bears Release Wide Receiver Johnny Knox

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after scoring on a twenty nine yard touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 27, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Sander GillContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2013

After missing an entire season due to a back injury, the Chicago Bears have decided to release the former deep threat Johnny Knox (via the Chicago Tribune).

The fourth-year pro from Abilene Christian suffered a horrendous back injury on a play in the last regular season game in 2011. In an interview on chicagobears.com, Knox talks and reflects about the play and how it happened. 

It was a freak play. You'll probably never see that happen to anybody again. I've tried not to ask myself why it happened to me. You always hear that everything happens for a reason and I know things will work out for the best. Playing again is the ultimate goal, but right now I've got short-term goals. I'm just taking it one day at a time. If I do an exercise on Monday and I come back and do it on Wednesday, I want to improve on that exercise that day. I'm just setting small goals now.

After catching a pass from quarterback Caleb Hanie, Knox tried to make another move to get further upfield. The extra move resulted in a fumble, and as Knox was trying to recover the ball he got clobbered in the back by Seahawks defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove.

No one believed the injury to be serious until Knox had to be carted off the field.

Throughout his career, Knox was known as a deep-route specialist and a dangerous kick returner.

He had 133 receptions for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns in his tenure with the Bears. He also had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown his rookie season in 2009 and made the Pro Bowl roster as a special-teams player.

The Chicago fan favorite had high hopes of being able to return sometime this previous season, but the injury to his L1 vertebra proved to be much worse than originally thought. 

Even though Knox never played a snap last season, his release means the Bears need to focus even more on receivers throughout the offseason. It will also be interesting to see what the Bears decide to do with disgruntled wide receiver Devin Hester.

Plenty of solutions are available either through free agency or the NFL Draft in April, and it is expected that the Bears offense will be more high flying than ever under the coaching and offensive play calling of head coach Marc Trestman

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