The Bears took their first major step in finalizing their 2013 roster on Sunday, announcing the release of a group of 14 players that included wide receiver Devin Aromashodu, tight end Leonard Pope and safety Tom Zbikowski.
In addition to those three, the team also parted ways with running back Curtis Brinkley, defensive tackle Eric Foster, offensive tackle A.J. Lindeman, center P.J. Lonergan, safety Derrick Martin, defensive end Kyle Moore, tight end Gabe Miller, defensive tackle Brent Russell, linebacker Patrick Trahan, punter Tress Way and linebacker Marquess Wilson.
The cuts put the Bears at 76 players, meaning they'll have to cut at least one more by Tuesday in order to meet the deadline for the league-mandated 75-man roster.
In five NFL seasons, Aromashodu has played with the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Bears and Minnesota Vikings, compiling 1,193 yards and five touchdowns. He played two seasons in Chicago previously, including a 2009 season in which he caught four touchdowns, before moving to Minnesota. He re-signed with the Bears this offseason.
Pope is a seasoned veteran who has played in 103 NFL games during his seven seasons, which include stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. He caught only three passes for the Steelers in 2012, though two were for touchdowns.
Zbikowski started 11 games at safety for the Colts last season before signing a one-year deal with the Bears. Prior to 2012 he played four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, who drafted him in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.