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Former Bears ILB Jerrell Freeman Announces His Retirement from the NFL

Former Bears inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman announced his retirement on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.

Freeman, 32, cited his health and his family as his top priorities in the announcement, which included thanks to his teammates, coaches and fans over his six-year NFL career.

“It’s been a long and rewarding journey,” he wrote. “Thank you to all that came along for the ride!!”

Freeman played his first four NFL seasons with the Colts and played in 13 games over the last two years with the Bears. He had 110 tackles and four passes defended in 2016.

Freeman suffered a torn pectoral muscle and a concussion in the season opener against the Falcons in 2017 and didn’t play in another game for the Bears.

In October, he was suspended 10 games for violating the NFL policy against performance-enhancing drugs. It was his second violation in two seasons. He served a four-game suspension for his first violation in 2016.

He spoke of the concussion, resulting memory loss and taking pills to cope with his condition in a Twitter post last fall.

Freeman had signed a three-year, $12 million deal in 2016, but the Bears informed him his contract would be terminated in February.

Bears Earn an ‘B+’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Bears, who according to Kiper got an ‘B+’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Let’s face it: Mitchell Trubisky didn’t have a great rookie year. There’s a reason John Fox is out and Matt Nagy is in. Nagy, who coached under Andy Reid in Kansas City, is an innovative offensive mind, and his first job is to get the best out of Trubisky. That means adapting the offense to his strengths. For GM Ryan Pace, the best way to help Trubisky is to get him some weapons, and that’s clearly what was addressed this offseason with free-agent deals for pass-catchers Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel. Pace even brought in kicker Cody Parkey to get some points on the board. I believe in Trubisky’s talent — if he’s put in the right situation. And now the situation is much better for him to have a productive 2018.

To continue the theme of helping Trubisky, the Bears added James Daniels (pick 39), my second-ranked center who could play guard next to Cody Whitehair, and moved up to grab the draft’s most underrated receiver in Anthony Miller (51). It was a lot to give up — a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-rounder this year — but Miller will play early and often. The former walk-on had 96 catches and 18 touchdowns in 2017.

Like I said after Thursday night, I didn’t expect Roquan Smith to be on the board at No. 8, and he’s going to become the face of the Bears defense. He’s not built like Brian Urlacher, but he’s a sure tackler and sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He’s also going to be a leader on an improving — and young — defense. Joel Iyiegbuniwe (115) is a hybrid defender who will make an impact on special teams. Kylie Fitts (181) had trouble with injuries at Utah, but he can play a role as a situational edge rusher.

This isn’t a perfect class — and that 2019 second-round pick sure could have come in handy for a rebuilding team — but I like the players, and the biggest needs were all filled. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/8 Roquan Smith OLB GEORGIA
2/39 James Daniels C IOWA
2/51 Anthony Miller WR MEMPHIS
4/115 Joel Iyiegbuniwe OLB WESTERN KENTUCKY
5/145 Bilal Nichols DT DELAWARE
6/181 Kylie Fitts DE UTAH
7/224 Javon Wims WR GEORGIA

Pace Says the Health of WR Cameron Meredith Lead to the Bears Not Matching the Saints Offer

Bears general manager Ryan Pace said on Tuesday that input from Chicago’s team physicians and training staff weighed heavily in the organization’s decision to decline to match the offer sheet that wide receiver Cameron Meredith received from the Saints, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago reports.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Meredith left the Bears, Pace hinted that the wide receiver’s serious knee injury, suffered last preseason, was the overriding factor in Chicago’s letting him go.

Meredith, 25, led the Bears with 66 receptions, 888 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2016. He missed the entire 2017 season after he tore knee ligaments in Chicago’s third preseason game at Tennessee last summer.

“Without getting into specifics, obviously he was coming off an injury,” Pace told reporters at his annual pre-draft news conference. “We lean on our training staff and our docs. Hey, I got a lot of respect for Cam and a lot of respect for the organization he went to. We wish him luck.”

The 2018 Bears Season Schedule is Out – A Quick Glance at the Good and the Bad

The NFL Thursday evening released the entire slate for the 2018 NFL season, including the 16 game schedule for the Bears, an annual big day in the life of football fans everywhere.

Here’s a quick look at the Beras schedule, along with two quick thoughts on the good of the schedule, and the not so good.

The Good: The Bears have a pretty even slate early, but then have four of five games at home in weeks 7 through 11, with games against the Pats, Jets, Lions and Vikings. By all means if this team is going to be in the mix for a wild card or division title, they need to get a couple wins in these games.

The Bad: They finish the season with two road games, at San Fran against the 49ers and at Minnesota against the team that won the division last season and will again be a challenge in 2018. If the Bears have a shot at the postseason, these two games to end the regular season won’t be easy.

Bears RB Jordan Howard Says Trade Rumors Are Not True

There’s been rumblings about the Bears looking to trade running back Jordan Howard, but Howard said via 670 The Score that it’s not true, and he’s sticking around in Chicago hopefully for a long time to come.

During the NFL Combine several weeks ago, Howard was linked in a possible trade to the Dolphins involving receiver Jarvis Landry by an NBC Sports Chicago report. Landry was later dealt to the Browns.

In another subplot to all this, Howard became the center of local attention earlier this month after some photos from his Instagram account that were related to the Bears were deleted. The photos were later reinstated.

“There was nothing to it,” Howard said. “Just a story people made up.”

Bears Decline to Match Saints Offer Sheet on WR Cameron Meredith

The Bears declined to match the Saints’ two-year, $10 million offer sheet to restricted free agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith on Wednesday, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy met with Meredith to inform him of decision, the source said. The Bears’ call was mainly a medical decision as Meredith is coming off a torn ACL and MCL, and the team was hesitant to commit that much money to a player coming off such a serious knee injury.

The Bears had issued an original-round tender to Meredith, valued at $1.9 million, so the Bears receive no draft pick compensation from the Saints because Meredith was an undrafted free agent.

Meredith, 25, had a breakout season in 2016 with 66 receptions for 888 yards four touchdowns, but suffered the devastating knee injury in a preseason game last summer at Tennessee.

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky Says He was Born to Run New Teams’ Offense

Four days after the Bears first met to install their offense, quarterback Mitch Trubisky feels like he was born to run it, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“The offense I wanna run is the offense we’re installing right now,” he told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Friday. “Just after a couple days of installing it and actually being able to talk with coaches, I really feel like I was built for this offense. It’s just dynamic, it’s creative and it’s always balanced — and that’s what you want.”

“We’re gonna get the ball out quick. we’re gonna deceive the defenses and we’re gonna spread the field and we’re going to get it all over to our playmakers … We’re gonna spread the field every which way.”

“I just feel like this offense is going to utilize my talents more and the players I have around me,” Trubisky said. “And hopefully we’ll get rolling from there.”

Trubisky said the new roster feels like “early Christmas” for him.

“We got some great weapons this offseason,” he said.

There’s “a lot of energy” in the building, he said, after the team “put last year behind us.”

Bears Expected to Add Veteran Guard Earl Watford

The Bears are expected to add veteran guard Earl Watford to provide depth on the offensive line, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports.

Watford visited the Bears on Monday, and sources said he is expected to sign with the team. He will become the third former Arizona Cardinal on the line, joining right tackle Bobby Massie and swing lineman Bradley Sowell.

A fourth-round pick by the Cardinals in 2013 out of James Madison, Watford started 21 games over the last five seasons and appeared in 43 games. He made nine starts last season and 10 in 2016.

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