The long list of Bears tight ends became shorter Thursday with the release of a familiar face.
Tight end Ben Braunecker was cut Thursday, meaning the team will only need to find nine more players to eliminate from the roster to reach the 80-man limit the league and players union have reportedly agreed to use at camps during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Braunecker had been with the Bears since 2016 and made 13 receptions for 142 yards with a touchdown. Last season's six-catch, 59-yard performance represented career highs for the former Harvard player.
His only career touchdown came last season in the 20-13 win at Soldier Field over the Detroit Lions. He finished the season on injured reserve with a concussion.
Braunecker had played both the Y tight end and the U tight end and was useful in a pinch when they had fewer tight ends on their roster.
At the moment they have eight tight ends.
The Bears recognized their poor performance from tight ends last year and gutted the position. They signed Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris as free agents and drafted Cole Kmet at the position. They also have Adam Shaheen, J.P. Holtz, Eric Saubert, Darion Clark and Jesper Horsted still on the roster at this position.
No Bears tight end had more than 91 yards or 14 receptions last season.
Since the season ended they cut starter and tight ends receptions leader Trey Burton, and also let go of second-year player Dax Raymond.
Braunecker had been one of the Bears' key special teams players, with 16 special teams tackles over four seasons.