There are tons of changes in store for the Chicago Bears roster heading into the 2014 season. Most of those changes will take place on the defensive side of the ball.
The team was uncharacteristically bad in that area in 2013.
While the Bears made major strides offensively under new head coach Marc Trestman, the defense was woeful thanks to a plethora of injuries and the absence of Lovie Smith on the sidelines.
The Bears were ranked 30th overall in yards allowed and dead last against the run.
One of the few bright spots was the versatility of defensive end-turned-defensive tackle Corey Wootton. The 26-year-old played all but one position on the defensive line and appeared in all 16 games—starting in 15 of them.
After battling injuries early in his career, that was a significant accomplishment.
A hip injury required surgery during the offseason, but per Adam L. Jahns of The Chicago Sun-Times, that won't stop Wootton from being highly coveted on the free-agent market. Jahns writes:
At 26, Wootton figures to get considerable interest once the
negotiating window opens Saturday (free agents can’t sign until next Tuesday). The only thing preventing him from being highly sought-after is his health.
Wootton had surgery on his right hip in early January to correct a problem that had been nagging him for two seasons. But Wootton is on track to be ready when training camps open, proudly saying he’ll be 100 percent by July.
Wootton is currently waiting to see if he will be back in Chicago for 2014 and beyond. If he and the Bears are unable to reach an agreement, Wootton will be leaving the only city he's played in professionally.
He has spent the last eight years of his life playing football in Illinois. He played his college ball at Northwestern.
Earlier this week, Wootton spoke with my co-host and I on the Jocks, Geeks and Gamers podcast.
We talked about free agency, the Bears' needs, Richard Sherman, the N-Word in the NFL and a host of other things.
Check out the interview above.
You can listen to the entire show below.
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