Bears' McCaskey re-affirms McDonald decision

Updated 4/7/2015 7:19 PM

Bears chairman George McCaskey re-affirmed Tuesday his confidence that recently signed free agent defensive end Ray McDonald will avoid the legal incidents that caused the San Francisco 49ers to dump him last season.

McDonald was arrested after a domestic altercation and then became a suspect in a sexual assault case. Charges against McDonald were not filed in either case, but the Niners let him go anyway, citing a pattern of behavior.


Asked if he was surprised at the backlash that followed McDonald's signing, McCaskey said, "I didn't think there was that much backlash."

But McCaskey, who is only consulted on personnel decisions when there are character concerns, originally vetoed the idea of pursuing McDonald. He later gave general manager Ryan Pace the go-ahead following a face-to-face meeting with McDonald that the player initiated.

"I'm confident that he's going to do what needs to be done," McCaskey said prior to a ceremony honoring Bears guard Matt Slauson as the team's recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. "He's going to do what's expected from us, and it's up to him now."

McCaskey said he talked to Niners co-chairman Dr. John York and his son, team president and CEO Jed York, about McDonald after the Bears signed him to a one-year contract for $1.05 million that includes provisions for an additional $450,000 in incentives.

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"They were very fond of him before they felt they needed to let him go," McCaskey said. "I talked to (them), but just briefly. The sense I got is that they like him very much as a person but questioned his decision-making. That's something that Ray and I talked about and that I told him needs to be improved."

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound, 30-year-old McDonald is an excellent fit in the 3-4 defense that the Bears are transitioning to from the 4-3 that they have always played in the past.

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