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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: Choosing Bears over Redskins ‘was more about winning ballgames’

Clinton-Dix could have returned to the Redskins in March. He might have made more money than the $3.5 million the Bears gave him for one season.

Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix spent the second half of last year with the Redskins.
AP Photos

Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could have returned to the Redskins in March. He might have made more money than the $3.5 million the Bears gave him for one season.

His call came down to culture, Clinton-Dix said Thursday.

‘‘I just had to make the best decision for me going into my future,’’ he said. ‘‘It was more about winning ballgames for me and being a part of something special and the culture that’s set here.

‘‘I kind of fell in love with this place when I visited, and I couldn’t turn around.’’

Clinton-Dix appears to have made the right choice. The 0-2 Redskins have one of the NFL’s worst defenses, allowing the second-most points and third-most yards in the league. The Bears are 1-1 but have yielded the third-fewest points and fourth-fewest yards. They’ve allowed two touchdowns, but Clinton-Dix was on the sideline for one of them, replaced by backup Deon Bush.

Clinton-Dix tried to pass off the season opener against the Packers, for whom he played for 4½ years, as just another game. He is doing the same with the Bears’ matchup Monday against the Redskins outside Washington.

The Redskins sent a fourth-round pick to the Packers for Clinton-Dix last season. He started all nine games for them despite learning a new defense on the fly. The trade left him with mixed feelings: The team that drafted him moved on, but it sent him to a team that wanted him.

‘‘Just knowing that someone wants you and recognizes my talent, what I stand for as a DB,’’ he said. ‘‘It just shows that your work isn’t going unnoticed.’’

Clinton-Dix visited Halas Hall as a free agent in March, meeting with coach Matt Nagy, former Alabama teammate and fellow safety Eddie Jackson and others.

‘‘He’s definitely fun to play with,’’ cornerback Prince Amukamara said. ‘‘He does some things. . . . He does some things within the scheme where he’ll put me in the position of, ‘Wow, this is new.’ . . . That’s kind of fun because it does trick the quarterback; it does confuse them a little bit.’’

Jackson and Clinton-Dix have communicated well despite not playing together in the preseason.

‘‘That’s why you’ve got OTAs,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘That’s why you’ve got camp and all the preseason and things like that, so I feel we’re way past that. Our communication is on point right now, and that’s one of the things that’s showing.’’

The Bears will be particularly aware of the deep ball Monday. The Redskins took a deep shot on their first offensive play Sunday against the Cowboys. It was an incomplete pass to rookie Terry McLaurin, who still finished with catches of 30, 27 and 20 yards.

‘‘The first play of the game, they tried to hit a big play,’’ Jackson said. ‘‘We’ve just got to play our game and be on top of our keys and have our eyes in the right spot.

‘‘As far as the back end, me and Ha Ha and the corners, we do a good job communicating with each other, so we’ve just got to keep that up.’’

Clinton-Dix’s tackling issues with the Packers haven’t manifested themselves with the Bears, defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend said last week.

‘‘The one thing I’ll say about the contact stuff is, you always wonder who wrote it and did they have a chance to run into him and tackle him,’’ Townsend said. ‘‘Glad to have him here. He tackles. I’m sure no DB nowadays is a killer. Your job is to get the man down, no matter how you do it.

‘‘That issue hasn’t shown. How he’s come here and been a pro is what we expected.’’