The Chicago Bears' search for linebacker help led them to a guy named Tim Shaw on Monday. Seems Shaw was a fifth-round pick out of Penn State in 2007 and was cut in the preseason by Jacksonville, his second NFL team.

Word is the Bears also contacted 36-year-old Derrick Brooks, former star in Tampa Bay, but decided to pass.

Credit them for looking around the league. Too bad it's the wrong league.

Bears' GM Jerry Angelo would do well to try the National League. Specifically, the NL Central's Chicago Cubs, where a guy is available who would fit nicely in the injured Brian Urlacher's middle linebacker spot.

In fact, Carlos Zambrano is a near-perfect fit for Urlacher's No. 54 jersey. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Zambrano is strikingly close to Urlacher's 6-4, 258-pound frame.

Granted, the shape is different, what with Zambrano's undefined midsection (takes one to know one).

Yet, if the Bears are looking for someone who can fill out the uniform, has a violent streak and runs hard every time the ball is in play, "Big Z" may be their man.

Sprinting from sideline to sideline could be a challenge, though there would be a huge carrot dangling in front of Zambrano's nose. That is, he would get to hit someone.

Just tell him the guy with the ball is Michael Barrett and get out of his way.

Talk about being coachable.

Perhaps it was destiny that on the day we learned Urlacher was out for the season with a wrist injury, the Chicago Tribune reported the Cubs plan to shop Zambrano for a possible trade, confident he would waive his no-trade clause for "the right team."

One is said to be the White Sox. But hey, what about the Bears?

Go ahead, Jerry. Ask him. Tell him Lovie sent you.

Tell him he is free to play softball with his kids, or take batting practice whenever and wherever he wants.

Tell him he can beat up the Gatorade cooler any time the mood strikes, that in your business, such outbursts are encouraged.

In baseball, they call them meltdowns. In football, they are affectionately referred to as "showing emotion."

Few people in sports have the ever-brewing emotion of Zambrano, a loose cannon whose temper has led to inconsistency on the mound. It is more difficult to throw a fastball on the outside corner when you can't see straight.

Zambrano has three years left on a $91.5 million contract paying him to be the ace of the Cubs' staff. Instead, he has yet to win more than 18 games in a season, and was 8-6 this year prior to Tuesday night's game against Milwaukee.

Maybe he would be better off blitzing quarterbacks, stuffing running backs and/or dropping into pass coverage.

Again, he has had a football mentality for years. He is aggressive enough and arguably crazy enough to play without a helmet. Perhaps at some point he has.

It would explain a lot.

No matter, the stumbling blocks in all of this would be the Bears taking on Zambrano's salary, or having something of value to give the Cubs in return.

Maybe receiver Johnny Knox could be a pinch runner, or long snapper Patrick Mannelly a catcher. He's giving signals already.

Even so, the Bears could never get past the reality Zambrano has no linebacker experience, that in his native Venezuela, "football" means soccer.

Too bad. It would have been exciting, entertaining ... and a lot more fun than Tim Shaw.

Randy Kindred is at rkindred@pantagraph.com. The Kindred Blog: www.pantagraph.com/blogs

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