The Bears on Tuesday replaced one veteran defensive end with another, signing Charles Grant to a one-year deal and terminating the contract of fifth-year pro Mark Anderson.
Grant appeared in 118 games with 106 starts in eight seasons with the Saints from 2002-09 after arriving as a first-round draft pick (25th overall), registering 505 tackles, 47 sacks and 14 forced fumbles.
The 6-3, 285-pounder started all 16 games for New Orleans last year, but sustained a torn triceps muscle in the regular-season finale that required surgery. Grant was unable to play during the playoffs, but earned a Super Bowl ring when the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts.
Grant was released by New Orleans in March. He signed with the Dolphins in late July, but failed to make Miami’s final roster. The Georgia product joins the Bears after playing in two games for the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks, teaming with former NFL stars Jeff Garcia and Robert Ferguson.
“It’s going to be great to be able to play with a group of guys like this; the Brian Urlachers, the Julius Peppers, and all those guys,” Grant said. “It’s great to get a second chance at getting back to the NFL. I thank this organization and the head coach for believing in me and giving me a second opportunity.”
Grant said that he didn’t fully appreciate being an NFL player until he was out of the league.
“Coming from the UFL to here is different,” he said. “I’d like to tell young guys to take advantage of the National Football League because it’s truly a blessing to play at this level of football and you don’t know it until you’re out of it. When you know you can still play, don’t give up on it.”
Anderson, meanwhile, appeared in 66 games with 18 starts after being selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 2006 draft out of Alabama. He recorded 16 sacks in his first 20 NFL games—including a Bears rookie-record 12 sacks in 2006—but mustered only 5½ sacks over his next 46 contests.
Anderson started this year’s season-opening win over the Detroit Lions, but was supplanted by Israel Idonije in Week 2 and played as a reserve the last three games. In four contests this season, Anderson registered five tackles, no sacks, one tackle-for-loss and a team-leading six quarterback pressures.