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Bears face a conundrum with Evan Rodriguez

(MCT) CHICAGO — The Bears aren't kicking Evan Rodriguez to the curb, but general manager Phil Emery had an unscheduled chat with media Tuesday to announce he has gone from disappointed to extremely disappointed in the fullback.

The next progression apparently would be "fed up" but the Bears are hoping it doesn't come to that. Perhaps the organization is hanging on to Rodriguez because it is short on options at the position and has plans to develop the 2012 fourth-round pick as an H-back as well. Whatever the case, he's likely down to his final strike.

"Evan is a very likable guy," Emery said. "We have talked. Disappointed. I would use the word extremely.

"There are a lot of things we have to work through. All off-the-field incidents are subject to NFL policies and guidelines. We have to work through these things."

Rodriguez was charged with DUI and a police source told the Chicago Tribune he registered a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit Friday. He participated in the team's organized team activities Tuesday at Halas Hall.

"I apologize to the whole organization and my family and my teammates," Rodriguez said. "I know I made a poor judgment that night. I also have to earn my teammates' trust back and the coaches' trust back, so I can say a whole bunch of words, but I have to lead by my actions."

Less than 48 hours after his legal entanglement, Rodriguez was in a Chicago nightclub. Emery would not address that turn of events. Rodriguez was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., in March and alcohol-related misdemeanor charges against him were dropped.

Rodriguez hoped to return to his familiar tight end position when the new coaching staff arrived but the decision was made to keep him in the backfield.

"We're going to work Evan and then we have some F-tight ends that we're going to try to use, whether it's Gabe (Miller) or it's Kyle (Adams) and see what they can do in a fullback role," offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. "And that's what I have done in the past. We had Dave Thomas at the Saints. He was a 6-foot-3 guy who would motion and do some things. Not a true I-fullback but he would lead block on some linebackers and do some things that a fullback would do. I believe we can do it with the guys we have."

But the NFL announced Miller is suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He was a long shot to make the roster, but is still eligible for the remainder of the offseason program as well as training camp and exhibitions.

Miller also was apologetic in a statement and added, "While it was an isolated incident, I regret the poor judgment I showed and accept full responsibility for this mistake along with the punishment that comes with it."

Thomas remains a free agent and potentially could interest the team at some point.

Rodriguez's nose for trouble hurts him because this is a period when he needs to be creating trust with the new coaching staff. If all goes right, the Bears will find more for Rodriguez to do. He has 4.53-second speed in the 40-yard dash and his greatest skill likely is catching the ball in space. He's unlikely to become a premier tight end, but he has potential as an H-back. He compares to former Redskins standout Chris Cooley, even if he's not as skilled in the open field.

The problem is Emery, coach Marc Trestman and Kromer have no idea if they can count on Rodriguez.

"I just have to face the music," Rodriguez said. "Anything that's going to happen I just have to handle it and be a man about my whole approach about everything."

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