Chicago Bears need veteran LBs to stay healthy

Last year the Bears made strengthening the inside linebacker position a priority in free agency, signing veterans Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman.

The two veterans were a clear upgrade in a glaring area of weakness. Unfortunately for the Bears, Trevathan, although he played well, played only nine games. He missed the final five games on injured reserve after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee. Earlier in the season Trevathan missed two games after having thumb surgery and played in several more with a cast protecting the injury.

The knee injury could imperil Trevathan's readiness for the start of training camp and it could impact his long-term health, even though he just turned 27. He suffered a similar injury in 2014 while with the Denver Broncos.

Despite the injuries and missed games, Trevathan still finished third on the team in tackles.

Freeman missed four games because of a suspension for a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs. But he still led the Bears in tackles by a wide margin with 127, including a team-high 7 behind the line of scrimmage.

The unavailability of the two starters provided an accelerated learning curve for rookie Nick Kwiatkoski. The fourth-round pick from West Virginia started seven games, finished seventh on the team with 52 tackles and established himself as the top backup among a group of young linebackers.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

Don't expect Bears to use early draft pick on WR

Will injuries drop draft stock of former Wheaton Warrenville South WR?

Will Bears add more pass rushing talent via draft?

Expect edge rushers to go early in 2017 NFL draft

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.