Bears

Presented By Mullin
Bears

It was just one of those numerous roster-shufflings that occur from about this time of year on through the end of training camp. Or was it? Or was it a move that the Bears hope will re-create some very distinguished history for themselves?

Greg Scruggs, a defensive lineman who signed with the Bears last Dec. 30 after being waived by the Seattle Seahawks, was good enough to post three solo tackles and earn a sack in a Week 17 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Bears now appear convinced that he’s enough of an athlete to move him to tight end, complete with a number change from 90 to 87.

Scruggs did play a little tight end at Louisville on a fill-in basis and the Bears have been looking for help at the position ever since dealing away Martellus Bennett.

They made a play for New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill but the Saints matched the Bears’ offer sheet to the restricted free agent. They’d hoped to use a draft choice on Hunter Henry from Arkansas but were beaten to him by the San Diego Chargers, who selected Henry six picks before the Bears’ second-round selection.

The Bears also used two of their 10 UDFA signings on tight ends (Ben Braunecker from Harvard, Joe Sommers from Wisconsin-Oshkosh). Now comes Scruggs.

Converting defensive linemen to offense has worked very, very well for the Bears. Mark Bortz had been a defensive tackle at Iowa when the Bears used an eighth-round pick in the 1983 draft to land him, with the intention of moving him to offense. Bortz became a fixture on the Bears offensive line of the 1980's and was twice selected to NFC Pro Bowl squads.

 

James “Big Cat” Williams arrived in 1991 as an undrafted defensive tackle out of Cheney State. He was shifted to offensive tackle part time in 1992, then moved permanently to that side of the football by then-coach Tony Wise. Williams was a Pro Bowl alternate in 1998 and voted to the team in 2001.

For that matter, Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long was a defensive end at Saddleback (Cal.) Community College before moving to offense.