Source: DE Brown sought extension

CHICAGO -- Perhaps an early indication the Chicago Bears were considering cutting ties with defensive end Alex Brown occurred around the time of the NFL combine in February when, according to a source familiar with the situation, Brown's agent Joel Segal approached the Bears about a contract extension for his client.

This idea was quickly nixed by the Bears, according to the source.

Despite his failure to land a new deal, Brown, who has two years left on his contract, still felt confident he would retire in a Bears uniform, according to multiple league sources. But those sources said Brown told teammates last week that he believes he'll be traded or released.

Maybe the best thing for Brown, 30, was the Bears' plans becoming public, since it'll be more difficult for the organization to trade the defensive end now that all 31 NFL teams know he could be available for nothing if they wait until his release.

Brown, a fourth-round pick in 2002, has been one of the Bears' most consistent performers. He has 35½ sacks since 2004.

But he apparently became expendable when the Bears signed Julius Peppers and decided to move Israel Idonije to defensive end. The Bears also are hoping for Mark Anderson to return to his rookie form, when he had 12 sacks in 2006.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.