clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Do-everything Mitch Unrein feels at home with Bears

Bears defensive lineman Mitch Unrein. (AP)

Mitch Unrein is up for anything.

If Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio wants the 6-4, 306-pound defensive lineman to handle two gaps up front, he’ll do it proudly.

If new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains wants to continue to feature him as a goal-line fullback, he’ll happily lock up a linebacker.

If special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers wants him to be a lead blocker on kickoff returns, he’s all for running down a defender.

“It’s no big deal to me,” Unrein said. “I’ll do whatever they want. It’s kind of been my mantra throughout my whole career.”

It’s a career that continues with the Bears after he agreed to a two-year, $2.36 million deal on the fourth day of free agency. The two-year length and how quickly it came to be says plenty about the Bears’ belief in Unrein.

He was everything that coach John Fox, Rodgers and defensive line coach Jay Rodgers thought he could be for the Bears after he played for them with the Broncos.

But Unrein also won over Fangio, who influences defensive acquisitions, after joining the Bears in Week 3 of last season after being released by the Chargers.

In 14 games, Unrein played 41 percent of the defensive snaps and 36 percent on special teams. He made 32 tackles, including two for loss, six pressures, one sack and one pass breakup.

Unrein also started four of the last five games, though his final one against the Lions in the season finale was cut short by a concussion.

“That’s something I’ve always strived to be is to be a starter in this league,” Unrein, 28, said. “It’s a very tough thing to do. Mainly, it’s just getting your opportunity. I felt like I showed them what I could do.

“It was nice that they let me have a heavy workload from the beginning of the year, so I could really get in the groove and show them what I can do. Hopefully, that will carry over.”

Unrein is excited about the Bears’ free-agent additions. He played with linebacker Danny Trevathan in Denver and described him as a “Chicago Bear-type player” because of his toughness and aggressiveness.

“It’s definitely nice when you’re a defensive lineman when you know you’ve got somebody back there that if I miss a tackle that he’s going to be right there and boom! — he’s making a tackle right after the line of scrimmage,” Unrein said. “That’s kind of closing speed that he has.”

Unrein also is looking forward to working the trenches with Akiem Hicks.

“He’s a mountain of man and definitely a really good run stopper,” Unrein said. “He can get after the quarterback as well. He’s going to be a great addition.”

Unrein’s return shouldn’t be overlooked, either. Unrein, who was involved on Fox’s leadership council, said the Bears feel like home.

“It’s pretty much where I wanted to be,” he said. “It’s a good fit for me.”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com