Bears

Bears: Rolle signing creates squeeze on Vereen, safety jobs

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Bears: Rolle signing creates squeeze on Vereen, safety jobs

Third in a series

Who’s in: Ryan Mundy, Antrel Rolle

Where do they fit? Brock Vereen 

The Bears spent a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft to move up into the 2014 fourth round and select Brock Vereen. Vereen was able to log some time in the starting lineup last year because of injuries to Chris Conte, but he starts this offseason behind veterans Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy and will be pressed to earn snaps in his second season.

Mundy led the Bears in tackles last season, was a teammate of Rolle’s for a season with the New York Giants, and was among the few steady performers in an abysmal 2015 Bears defense. Rolle joins his third NFL team with a coach eager for what he brings to the locker room as well as the secondary.

[MORE - Bears clearly thinking 'outside' the box at linebacker]

“I think he’s been one of the more productive safeties in the league over the last few years,” said coach John Fox. “I think he understands the game. I think he plays the game fast. I think he understands how to prepare for NFL football games. I think that is contagious. I think when younger players see that model they help us as a football team.”

Conte is gone, to Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Danny McCray took the free safety job from Vereen early in training camp last year, then struggled and eventually lost out to Conte, but did have a 10-tackle game in the Bears’ win over the New York Jets. 

But the signing of Rolle at age 32 was an indicator of what coach and GM thought about the state of the deep secondary.

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“Not beating up guys we have, but going in and looking at tape and seeing areas we maybe need improvement, it might just be doing it every day better,” Fox said of how it improves. “And then you play better. But I’ve really thought that Antrel Rolle would help that process.”

Under Center Podcast: Under Center Pod and Halas Intrigue Pod mashup

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Under Center Pod and Halas Intrigue Pod mashup

The Under Center Podcast unites with the Chicago Sun-Times' Halas Intrigue Podcast for a star-studded event.

Laurence Holmes and JJ Stankevitz are joined by Patrick Finley, Jason Lieser and Mark Potash to discuss the Bears' quarterback competition and the different opinions about Mitch Trubisky between GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy.

(1:51) - Are you surprised the NFL is proceeding as normal?

(9:45) - Does the NFL have a responsibility to the sponsors during this downtime?

(13:48) - Now that we know Foles' contract, does this fix the Bears QB situation?

(22:18) - Can Mitch Trubisky still be redeemed?

(30:00) - Why did the Bears make so many coaching changes?

(37:40) - Mark Potash joins the podcast

Listen here or below.

Under Center Podcast

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on if Bears', 2020 NFL season will start on time

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on if Bears', 2020 NFL season will start on time

On Saturday, President Trump talked to several commissioners of professional sports leagues and reportedly told them that he believes the NFL season will start on time despite the ongoing pandemic. A day later, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked about that possibility.

On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Jake Tapper asked Pritzker if the Bears would be playing in Soldier Field in September, and if there would be fans. Pritzker did not give a definitive prediction.

“Well, the Bears are a great team whether they’re playing or not, but I will say this, it’s not up to us,” Pritzker said. “We don’t know. None of us really knows. But what I do know is this; if the researchers are able to come up with a treatment, something that will save lives, something that will keep people off ventilators, maybe even keep them out of hospitals, then that will be an enormous development for our country and for the future. It may allow us to open things up in the way the president is describing. But the truth is that no one predicts now that we’re going to have that treatment any time in the next few weeks or even in the next month, and no one really knows if we’ll have it by September.”

“What we do know is that if you have a vaccine, that ultimately will help us deal with the problem,” Pritzker said. “Because it’s either going to be a treatment and herd immunity that ultimately allows us to open everything back up, or it’s a vaccine.”

The sports world will continue to hold its breath until there are more answers.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.