One of the more interesting player sagas in and around the Bears over the past few year came to an end Thursday when the Bears released veteran offensive lineman Frank Omiyale.
The team also announced the release of veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams, expected since the team informed Adams last weekend of the impending roster move.
Omiyales departure finishes a three-year run in Chicago marked by sharp changes of fortune. Omiyale ranged from an apparent bust in 2009 to de facto savior on the line in 2010 to odd man out last season. His 2.1 million pay grade in the final year of his contract made it an expected cut from about the middle of last season.
Omiyale appeared in every game the Bears played during his three seasons with the team (2009-11), making 31 starts at both guard (12 starts at left guard) and tackle (five starts at RT and 14 at LT) in 48 regular season games.
He also made two postseason starts at left tackle for the Bears. The seven-year veteran began his career in Atlanta, appearing in one contest in 2006 before being claimed off waivers by Carolina in 2007 where he appeared in 10 games with one start for the Panthers over two seasons.
The Bears signed Omiyale in the 2009 offseason as part of a push to upsize the offensive line. He was installed as the starter at left guard, which lasted only six games before the Bears switched to Josh Beekman. When Beekman proved inadequate, Omiyale went back in to start the final six games.
Omiyale was the starting right tackle to open 2010. But when Chris Williams was injured week two in Dallas, and Kevin Shaffer could not handle left tackle, Omiyale switched to left tackle and stayed there through the entire season and the two playoff games.
Then-line coach Mike Tice initially considered Omiyales best position to be tackle because of his longer reach, and Omiyale went back to right tackle to start training camp last season.
But the Bears drafted Gabe Carimi last April and moved JMarcus Webb to left tackle. When Carimi was ready, he replaced Omiyale. Carimi went down with a knee injury in week two and Omiyale stepped back in at right tackle.
His stint lasted just three games this time and protection problems resulted in coaches moving Lance Louis from guard to right tackle. Omiyale continued to play on field-goal protection but his time as an every down lineman was done.