The Bears added the biggest name yet to their crowd of contenders at the safety position, hoping to upgrade what was arguably the biggest weakness on a problematic defense in 2013.
Five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, who signed a one-year contract Monday, was once one of the dominant defensive backs in the NFL. But he spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve with the New England Patriots after suffering a torn Achilles tendon the final preseason game.
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At 34, and with the wear and tear of 12 previous seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, it remains to be seen when, or if, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Wilson can regain his Pro Bowl form. Wilson was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2006, and then in four straight seasons from 2008-11.
It's uncertain if Wilson will be a full participant when the Bears hold their first training camp practice on July 25. He was originally a third-round pick (64th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in 2001, and he played 12 seasons there, intercepting 27 passes, including 2 that were returned for touchdowns. Wilson also forced 16 fumbles and returned 2 for touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in 2006.
Wilson is one of only 13 players with 20 or more career interceptions and 20 or more career sacks (25.5), since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. He has started 162 games and played in 181 with 885 tackles and 99 pass break ups.
Wilson joins a group that includes three other unrestricted free agents – Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Danny McCray – along with Chris Conte, a starter in the previous two seasons; veteran backup Craig Steltz and rookie Brock Vereen. Conte missed the entire off-season program following postseason shoulder surgery. At last week's mandatory minicamp that concluded the off-season program, Mundy and Vereen took most of the first-team reps at safety.
The Bears Monday also signed 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end Jeron Mastrud. He has appeared in 52 games with 18 starts over four seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2010-12) and Oakland Raiders (2013). Mastrud has 7 career receptions for 96 yards (13.7-yard average). Last season he started 12 games and had 6 receptions for 88 yards (14.7-yard average).
The Bears are now at the 90-man roster limit.
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