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Article posted: 4/2/2013 10:36 PM

Big season ahead for Bears' Webb

By Bob LeGere

Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, 2013 will be a huge year for J'Marcus Webb. It already has been an eventful off-season for the former seventh-round pick.

Webb started 44 games in his first three NFL seasons, including each of the last 32 at left tackle.

But, because of Webb's uneven performance, the Bears signed two-time Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod to solidify the position responsible for protecting quarterback Jay Cutler's blind side.

That means Webb is out at left tackle and will compete with Jonathan Scott and Gabe Carimi for the starting spot at right tackle.

"Things happen, and you can't control a few things, but it'll be a great move," Webb said at Tuesday's luncheon honoring former teammate Nick Roach as the Bears' winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. "I can play right tackle; you guys have seen it."

Webb started 12 games at right tackle as a rookie and showed enough promise that he got a shot at the more critical left side.

He struggled there in 2011 and made some improvement last season, but he has never displayed game-in, game-out consistency.

"I definitely took a step forward (last season)," he said after participating in the first day of the Bears' off-season program. "I'm just here to help in any way possible."

Webb jeopardized his status with the team in late February, when he was arrested in downstate Illinois for possession of marijuana. Charges were later dropped.

"It's all been cleared up," he said Tuesday in his first interview since the incident. "I'm young, and you make some mistakes sometimes. You don't look (back) on it, you just kind of move forward and look at things in a positive manner. I'm ready to get back to work."

Webb said he'd miss Brian Urlacher after talks between the eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker and the team broke down last month.

"He was a good guy in the locker room and definitely somebody you can look up to on game day," Web said. "You have to move on."

Although it appears unlikely, Bears chairman George McCaskey was asked if Urlacher could return.

"That's up to the market and (general manager) Phil (Emery) and (coach) Marc (Trestman)," McCaskey said. "Phil said, 'It's a process,' and we just go through it and see what happens."

ŸFollow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.

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