The eight-year veteran joins an offense still in search of a productive third receiver following Marquess Wilson’s broken right collarbone on Aug. 4.
Holmes, whom the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted 25th overall in 2006, has 5,963 career receiving yards and 36 touchdown receptions.
However, he totaled only two touchdowns and 43 catches during the last two seasons with the New York Jets, as foot and hamstring injuries cost him 17 games.
Holmes suffered a Lisfranc injury in his left foot in 2012 that required two surgeries. He wasn’t as effective in 2013 as he was before the foot problem, and he tore his right hamstring and missed five games.
He has not returned a punt in a game since 2010, and he hasn’t returned a kickoff since his rookie season.
The Jets released him in March as part of a salary-cap purge.
Holmes, 30, worked out for the Bears on Aug. 5 in Bourbonnais.
None of the receivers in camp behind Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery has separated himself in the competition to replace Wilson. Veterans Eric Weems, Josh Morgan and Micheal Spurlock and first-year receiver Josh Bellamy have gotten the most repetitions in practices and games.
The Bears have not publicly said how long they expect Wilson to be out, but they do expect him to miss part of the regular season. He had surgery the same day Holmes auditioned for the team.
Holmes was named the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLIII in Feb. 2009 after catching nine passes for 131 yards and the decisive touchdown with 35 seconds remaining in the Steelers’ win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Steelers traded him to the Jets for a fifth-round pick in 2010 in the wake of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, which he served as a member of the Jets.
His tenure there was characterized by injuries, underproduction and locker room discord.
During the Jets’ meltdown at the end of the 2011 season, multiple news outlets reported his clashes with quarterback Marc Sanchez. Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer benched Holmes for the final minutes of their season-ending defeat for arguing with players in the huddle.
The Bears’ have to make a corresponding roster move to add Holmes. That was not immediately known, but they were carrying 12 receivers — a relatively large amount — on the roster Friday.
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