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In 2012, for the first time in years, the Chicago Bears had a go-to No. 1 wide receiver in Brandon Marshall. Marshall came to Chicago in a trade with the Miami Dolphins, and he immediately went on to break the team's single-season receptions and receiving yards records.
Marshall was quarterback Jay Cutler's primary target for much of the season with injuries and poor performances plaguing the rest of their receiving corps.
Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett are both expected to be fighting for playing time in 2013, but with Devin Hester relegated to only being a return man and Eric Weems being more of a special teams player, there is still a need for help at the position. Joe Anderson, who was activated for three games last season, and rookie Marquess Wilson will likely get a chance in training camp to vie for some playing time, but the team still needs someone who can consistently work the slot.
It would not be a surprise to see the Bears utilize Jeffery and Bennett on the outside with Marshall in the slot on occasion, but Marshall is best when playing on the outside. Bennett has played well in the slot throughout his career, but the team still lacks a true slot receiver.
Austin Collie has red flags all around him considering his prior troubles with concussions. During his four seasons in Indianapolis, he missed 22 of 64 games due to concussions and a knee injury. When healthy he was rather productive, hauling in 173 catches for 1,854 yards and 16 touchdowns in 42 games.
He is certainly a risk considering his prior history, and it is still unknown whether or not he will return, but according to IndyStar.com, Collie has said, "I'm playing. Right now, it would take a doctor to tell me, 'You can't play anymore.'"
If Collie is cleared to play, the Bears could likely sign him on the cheap, and he would give the team a true slot wide receiver.