All four playoff teams that enjoyed a bye last week are in action this weekend, and each has at least one coach who either played or coached with the Chicago Bears.
All four also have at least one player who played high school football in the Chicago suburbs or played for the Bears earlier in their careers.
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Last week we offered a close look at local players involved in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. Here's a glance at the local talent on the rosters of the other four teams in the divisional playoffs.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Head coach Jim Harbaugh spent 15 years as an NFL quarterback. He was the Bears' first-round pick in 1987 and played in Chicago until 1993. He played behind Jim McMahon and Mike Tomczak for his first three seasons, and then was a four-year starter, helping the Bears to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1990 and '91.
No. 3 quarterback Scott Tolzien was born in Rolling Meadows and was an all-state quarterback at Fremd High School in Palatine. Undrafted out of Wisconsin last year, Tolzien was signed by the Chargers and then picked up by the 49ers when he was cut just before the start of the season.
Quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst was the Bears' quality control coach from 1991-95, when Harbaugh was the starting quarterback. Offensive assistant Bobby Engram was the Bears' second-round pick in 1996 as a wide receiver out of Penn State. During his five years in Chicago, Engram led the Bears in receiving in 1998 and 1999 with a combined 152 catches for 1,934 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his 14-year career, Engram had 399 receptions for 4,859 yards.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Defensive end Mark Anderson was a fifth-round steal for the Bears out of Alabama in 2006, and he helped them get to Super Bowl XLI with a team-best 12 sacks. But he had just 9 ½ sacks in his next three seasons before he was cut early in the 2010 season. He had a bounce back season this year in New England with 10 sacks as a situational pass rusher.
Fullback Lousaka Polite, who has been with four teams in eight seasons, played in five games with the Bears in 2007. NIU wide receiver Britt Davis is on the Pats' practice squad after spending time on the Jets' and Broncos' practice squads.
Running backs coach Ivan Fears is in his 15th season with the Patriots, but before to that he was the Bears' wide receivers coach from 1993-98 under Dave Wannstedt. In 1995, Curtis Conway and Jeff Graham became the first, and only, teammates to exceed 1,000-yards in the same season in franchise history.
Backup safety, special teams standout and kickoff returner Tom Zbikowski is an Arlington Heights native and a graduate of Buffalo Grove High School, where he was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois as a senior. He was the Ravens' third-round draft choice in 2008 out of Notre Dame. As a part-time starter in 2010, Zbikowski had 16 tackles in a game but missed eight games with injuries.
Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was born in Chicago, is in his fourth year with the Ravens after spending three seasons (2005-07) with the Bears including the last two when he was a Pro Bowl special teams player. He also went to the Pro Bowl in his first year with Baltimore. Ayanbadejo had a team-best 82 special teams tackles in his three years with the Bears.
Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks is in his seventh season in Baltimore, and he served in the same capacity on Dave Wannstedt's Bears staff from 1993-98.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Offensive right tackle Bryan Bulaga, the Packers' first-round draft choice in 2010, missed the final two games of the regular season with a knee injury. The Barrington native, Marian Central Catholic High School graduate and Crystal Lake resident is expected back for Sunday's game vs. the Giants. Bulaga was a Parade all-American at MCC and a first-team all-American at Iowa.
Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett was a Bears running back in 1998 and 1999, rushing 179 times for 639 yards (3.6-yard average).
Running backs coach Jerry Fontenot was the Bears' third-round draft choice and a center for eight years (1989-96), the last five as a starter. He played 16 years and 239 games in the NFL and had separate consecutive game streaks of 106 and 80 games played.
Practice squad offensive tackle Chris Campbell is an Eastern Illinois University product.
Nine-year veteran wide receiver Kevin Walter of the Houston Texans was inadvertently left off last week's rundown of local players. Walter was all-state at Libertyville High School. He left Eastern Michigan University with school records in career receptions (211), yards (2,838) and touchdowns (20). As a senior, the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Walter set school records with 93 catches and 1,368 receiving yards. Walter has NFL career totals of 315 receptions for 3,861 yards and had more than 50 catches for four straight seasons until this season, when he had 39.
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