Considering the Bears’ injuries on defense and special teams, now seems like a good time to invite some guys for a tryout.
Whether anyone from this group sticks is to be determined. But the names are notable:
Bears working out Deone Bucannon, Justin Phillips, Manti Te'o
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 14, 2020
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets Deone Bucannon, Justin Phillips, and Manti Te’o worked out with the Bears. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s two linebackers and a safety who could play in a hybrid role. Let’s discuss.
Justin Phillips has the least experience of the three tryouts at Halas Hall. The 25-year-old linebacker picked up experience with the Raiders in 2019, but suffered a season-ending knee injury after just four games. In addition to his time as a linebacker, Phillips has special teams experience that dates back to his time at Oklahoma State. With the Bears missing Deon Bush and Sherrick McManis, the Bears could use a linebacker with special teams skills.
Deone Bucannon has the most playing experience (84 games, 57 starts) of the three players who visited the Bears. And that he was a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft gives him the most intriguing pedigree. In addition to being a once highly touted prospect, Bucannon also possesses positional flexibility having played safety and linebacker. So that could be useful.
Manti Te’o is the highest-profile name the Bears brought into Halas Hall. Te’o, 29, has 62 games (48 starts) of experience with the Chargers (back when they were in San Diego) and Saints. But most football fans are familiar with his work on the college scene. The Notre Dame product was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and winner of the Maxwell, Bednarik, Camp, Nagurski, Butkus, and Lombardi awards in 2012. Te’o capped his college career with unanimous All-American honors. It’s a collegiate résumé that’s top notch. But also, many know Te’o’s name because a story about his girlfriend dying turned out to be a hoax.
The Bears have an open spot on their practice squad after elevating offensive lineman Sam Mustipher to the active roster. So let’s keep an eye on any potential roster movement that could happen in the coming days.