LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chester Taylor thought the Chicago Bears were releasing him on Monday. Turns out, he was wrong.
The former University of Toledo running back left team headquarters after a conversation with coach Lovie Smith thinking the team was cutting him. Agent Ken Sarnoff said that was simply a misunderstanding.
“There has been a miscommunication between Lovie Smith and Chester Taylor,” Sarnoff said. “At the moment, Chester is still a Bear.”
Smith expects Taylor to practice on Tuesday but would not say if he’ll play Thursday, when Chicago closes out the preseason against Cleveland. He was clear about one thing, though.
“If a player’s released, I’ll tell him that. ‘You’re released; thank you.’ That’s not the case. Misunderstanding,” Smith said.
The Bears did waive defensive end Vernon Gholston and four other players to put their roster at 80 ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, bringing a quick end to a second chance for a former top 10 draft pick.
Taken sixth overall by the New York Jets in 2008, Gholston was released in March after failing to record a sack in three seasons. He signed a one-year deal with Chicago last month and did little in three preseason games.
The Bears still need to cut 27 players by Saturday to get to the 53-man limit, and it remains to be seen if Taylor will wind up in that group.
His future has been the subject of speculation for a while now, and it ramped up when the Bears signed Marion Barber to a two-year contract late last month, adding him to the backup mix behind Matt Forte. The rumor picked up steam when he didn’t play at Tennessee on Saturday as the Bears instead went with Kahlil Bell after Barber left the game with a calf injury.
Smith said Taylor came to him Monday morning, and they discussed why he didn’t play against the Titans. The reason? Smith said the Bears wanted to get a look at other players.
“Evidently he took that the wrong way,” he said. “Hopefully we get him out here tomorrow.”
He said he had no idea Taylor was going to leave the facility and indicated he wasn’t aware until practice.
Asked if he told Taylor he wasn’t part of the plan, Smith said, “No, I told him he wasn’t a part of the plan (on Saturday). I talked on what happened the last game in a private conversation with Chester, no more than that.
“As far as what’s going to happen later on, we have cuts coming up. We’ll let everyone know who’s a part of it; they’ll know then,” he said.