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Bears place TE Martellus Bennett on season-ending IR

The Bears also announced that they have signed TE Rob Housler.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears announced Tuesday that they have placed tight end Martellus Bennett on season-ending injured reserve with a rib injury.

One of Jay Cutler's favorite targets, Bennett leads the team with 53 receptions this season. His 439 receiving yards are good for third on the team behind Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson. Bennett also has three receiving touchdowns, trailing only Zach Miller, who has 16 receptions for 228 yards and four touchdowns this season. Miller should assume Bennett's role in the starting lineup.

Bennett was injured in Chicago's Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos and missed the team's Week 12 matchup with the Green Bay Packers. The eight-year veteran aggravated the injury in the Bears' Week 13 loss to the 49ers in which he had three receptions for 14 yards.

The Bears also announced the signing of fifth-year tight end Rob Housler, who played in six games with the Cleveland Browns in 2015 before being placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The Browns waived Housler from IR in November. Housler had just one reception for 6 yards with the Browns this season prior to going on IR.

At 5-7, Chicago has not yet been eliminated from playoff contention, though its chances took a big hit with the overtime loss to the Niners.