It was a Christmas gift for center Roberto Garza that assured the 14-year veteran of one more holiday season spent in a Bears uniform.
“It was a good Christmas,” Garza said Friday after signing a one-year extension. “It was just a phone call from my agent [on Thursday]. They talked. At my position and my age, there’s not much negotiation, so pretty straightforward.”
Garza’s new could reach $1.5 million in 2015. But the more intriguing, perhaps most telling part of the negotiation is who actually signed Garza, the leader of the Bears’ offensive line.
It’s been speculated that general manager Phil Emery’s future with the Bears is as tenuous as coach Marc Trestman’s, even though he’s only in his third year with team.
Garza’s new deal isn’t a lucrative one, but general managers typically aren’t given opportunities to spend money when their own futures are in flux.
“Extremely happy for Roberto, his family and the Chicago Bears that Roberto will remain with the team,” Emery said in a statement. “He has been a consistently good positive producer and key contributor to our offensive line for an extended time period along with being a leader and role model to everyone on our team and in the greater Chicago community.”
With the Bears at 5-10 and their final game Sunday in Minnesota, Garza knows the winds of change are blowing around Halas Hall. But retirement was ruled out earlier this season when he was sidelined for four games with a high-ankle sprain; and Chicago is home.
“Whether it’s coach Trestman or whatever’s going to happen, I want to be a part of this team and this organization,” Garza said. “I believe in the things that we’re doing, but obviously, we have to do them better to win more games.”
Garza remains a stable presence in the Bears locker room. And, there’s no one stronger. This offseason Garza worked with former Bears center Olin Kreutz and notable power lifter/physical therapist Donnie Thompson in South Carolina.
“At this point, I feel good,” said Garza, who has been with the Bears since 2005. “You’ve got to take it year by year. I strongly believe … in the weight room and the things like that can do for me.
“I’m going to continue to that and until I can’t do that it will be time to go, but your body will tell you. And they pay a lot of people upstairs to know when you’re done ,too. So, I’m sure they’ll tell me too.”