The Bears reunited Hroniss Grasu with one of his best buddies Friday, drafting the Oregon center in Round 3 and teaming him with two-time Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long.
“Kyle is my best friend,” Grasu said. “He’s a brother to me. Our relationship is unbelievable. It was like that at Oregon, and now being able to continue that is unbelievable.”
GM Ryan Pace said he talked to Long late in the draft process, and the guard lobbied for his friend. Grasu had unanimous approval among Bears coaches and scouts, he said.
The 6-3, 297-pounder started all 52 games he played in college. He suffered a left ankle injury in the Ducks’ 10th game this past season. He had surgery but returned for the College Football Playoffs semifinal at the Rose Bowl.
There, he blocked the man the Bears drafted in the second round Friday: Florida State defensive tackle Eddie Goldman.
“Very good player, very explosive,” said the No. 71 pick, a three-time first-team All-Pac 12 player. “He’s a player I have a lot respect for. Going into that game I knew it was going to be huge challenge going up against him, and I thought we both had really good games against each other.”
Grasu said he was secretly rooting to be drafted by the Bears, above all other teams, in part because of his relationship with Long.
“The guy’s just a freak; he’s a monster,” Grasu said. “He was always the guy that was sacrificing his entire body for his team. He’s the guy that comes in and always go all out. I just wanted to learn as much as I can from him.”
Grasu’s “ideal” position is center, Pace said, but he will learn guard, too.
“His makeup is outstanding,” Pace said.
He could profile as the team’s long-term replacement for Roberto Garza, who the Bears released this offseason when they signed center Will Montgomery to a one-year deal. Pace said Grasu will compete with Montgomery for the starting spot.
Pace: No Bennett trade demand
Pace said he has been in contact with tight end Martellus Bennett, who has not attended voluntary workouts while he pines for a reworked, richer contract.
Pace said Bennett has not asked him for a trade.
“It’s individual choices,” Pace said. “I’ve been talking to him and his agent. We’d love for him to be here, competing, especially with what we’ve got going right now. That’s his individual choice. It’s voluntary. Hopefully he’ll be here sooner than later.”
This and that
• Running back Matt Forte, who did not attend voluntary workout practices this week, returned to Halas Hall on Friday, Pace said, and talked to the GM.
“Me and him talk a lot,” he said. “Those are our conversations. It’s going good.”
•Pace said Ego Ferguson can play both nose tackle and defensive end after losing weight during the offseason.
“We don’t have him set at one position right now,” Pace said.