Engram says he has no hard feelings toward former team

Updated: October 17, 2003, 10:22 AM ET

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Bobby Engram will run routes against the Chicago Bears for the first time in his NFL career this weekend. There are no hard feelings, he says, toward his former team.

Engram feels the communication could have been better just before he was cut after five seasons with the Bears, but he believes it was a business decision. Besides, he has thrived since joining the Seattle Seahawks.

"I'm not looking for revenge," Engram said. "I've found a new home. This is where my focus is now."

The Seahawks (4-1) play the visiting Bears (1-4) on Sunday.

Engram was drafted by Chicago out of Penn State in the second round in 1996. His 33 receptions, 389 yards receiving and six touchdowns that fall was the most productive season for a Chicago rookie since Willie Gault in 1983.

Engram was a regular starter the following year, eventually climbing to seventh on Chicago's career receiving list with 246 catches. His 88 receptions in 1999 were the second most in team history.

Then Engram tore a knee ligament three games into the 2000 season.

The Bears had questions about his recovery, and it became apparent when Engram saw limited action during the 2001 preseason that he wasn't part of the team's future. The Bears were slashing salary at the time, and he was released.

"Anytime you get cut or somebody tells you you're not good enough, there's pride involved," Engram said.

However, he quickly found a job in Seattle, where coach Mike Holmgren wanted a veteran receiver to stabilize the position and provide mentoring to youngsters Koren Robinson and Darrell Jackson.

"I was able to play right away," Engram said. "I was fortunate. I knew coach Holmgren a little from when he coached Green Bay. I knew the offense. It was a great situation for me."

Engram's knee strengthened, he returned to form and he's been a key contributor for the Seahawks ever since. He averages 10.8 yards on punt returns, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck always seems to look for him on third down.

"He's crucial to our success on offense," Hasselbeck said. "He's as much of a weapon as any of our starters at any position. He doesn't count as a starter, technically, but we all think of him as one of our big-play guys."

Bears coach Dick Jauron was asked this week if he was surprised that Engram made such a strong recovery from his knee injury.

"Frankly, no, I'm not surprised by anything Bobby Engram would do," he said. "He's a quality guy, an extremely hard worker and he's talented. When you combine all those things, you get a good football player."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index