In his first season as a starter, former Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski has already earned the respect of his new team. On Tuesday, the Raiders announced that Kwiatkoski would be one of the team’s captains for the 2020 season.
The Bears traded up in the fourth round to select Kwiatkoski in the 2016 draft. Over his four years with the team he was a reliable inside linebacker, particularly adept at stopping the run.
It’s always notable when Aaron Rodgers heaps praise on an opposing defender as well.
“Well, 44, I’ve always thought is a really solid player,” Rodgers said after the Bears-Packers Week 15 matchup in 2019. “I don’t want to butcher his last name, but he rocked me a couple years ago. I know where 44’s at most of the time when he’s in the game. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Kwiatkoski showed the league he deserved to start while filling in for Danny Trevathan or Roquan Smith at times over the past four seasons. During his time in Chicago, Kwiatkoski started 22 games and racked up 184 tackles, but he couldn’t crack a permanent slot in the starting rotation with Trevathan and Smith ahead of him.