Vic Fangio was so willing to stake his reputation on that of Ray McDonald that, this offseason, he picked up the phone and called two other teams interested in the maligned defensive end.
Eventually, the Bears — the defensive coordinator’s new team after four years in San Francisco with McDonald — reversed course and decided to sign the player the 49ers released in December after two brushes with the law.
Fangio first pitched him to two other teams, even calling the player’s agent to offer a character reference to anyone who might inquire.
“I think that tells you what I feel about him,” Fangio said Saturday after the Bears’ second rookie minicamp practice.
McDonald was arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of felony domestic violence, but no charges were filed. He was not charged with violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
A sexual assault accusation brought Dec. 16 earned his 49ers release. He has never been charged, and has since traded lawsuits with the accuser.
Fangio said he “knew what kind of guy he was on a daily basis” with the 49ers.
“Well, it’s unsettling,” Fangio said. “He put himself in some situations that he didn’t need to be in. But the fact of the matter is he was never charged with anything. The headlines, I think, looked worse than what actually happened, but they happened.
“He made a mistake putting himself in those positions for that to happen. But ultimately he was not charged with anything. So we felt good about it here.”
Second-round draft pick Eddie Goldman said it felt good “to get the helmet back on” after months of NFL Scouting Combine preparation.
Coordinator Vic Fangio already has the nose tackle focusing on smaller details.
“Just the little things like your hands,” the Florida State alum said. “Something as small as a single step, just being physical and being consistent.”
Goldman said back tightness forced him from his first practice Friday, perhaps a result of the 6-4, 336-pounder being forced to sit in the middle seat during a flight to Chicago.
This and that
• What might have been hard for Bears fans to hear— that quarterback Shane Carden grew up watching Brett Favre — was softened when the undrafted free agent signee described first-round pick Kevin White.
“Great receiver,” the East Carolina grad said. “He’s open even when he’s not open.”
• Saying he had played both strong and free safety before, fifth-round draft pick Adrian Amos said he was a good fit at either spot. The converted cornerback played safety his senior year at Penn State, an said he anticipates his coverage skills learned at his position spot will help him.