Bears hope to minimize pain of nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s absence

Bilal Nichols, Abdullah Anderson, John Jenkins and Brent Urban are candidates to fill the void. ‘‘Luckily we’ve got good depth,’’ defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. ‘‘We’re gonna miss Eddie, but ... totally respect and understand his decision.’’

SHARE Bears hope to minimize pain of nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s absence
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Abdullah Anderson (76, tackling Saints running back Latavius Murray last season) had one sack in six games for the Bears last season. He is one of several candidates to fill the void left by nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s decision to sit out the 2020 season.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photos

When Bears defensive line coach Jay Rodgers learned last week that star nose tackle Eddie Goldman was opting out of the 2020 season, he didn’t flinch.

“We had a great conversation afterwards,” Rodgers said. “I want to keep him involved in some way. Eddie is still a part of this team, and we’re gonna constantly be communicating with him all the time. He’s a big part of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years, and I understand where he’s coming from.”

Goldman and safety Jordan Lucas remain the only two Bears to opt out because of the coronavirus pandemic after the opt-out deadline passed Thursday.

Goldman’s absence will leave a void in the defense, but the line depth under Rodgers figures to help alleviate the pain. Bilal Nichols, Abdullah Anderson and John Jenkins previously have worked at nose tackle in practice, and Brent Urban is working there now, Rodgers said.

“There are some guys on our team that do some things that Eddie does just as well — they just haven’t done it at that position in the middle for five years,” Rodgers said. “Through experience, you learn. Eddie didn’t just arrive in his first year and have all that ability. He learned how to play the game.”

Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano likewise supported Goldman’s decision.

“Luckily, we’ve got good depth,” Pagano said. “We’re gonna miss Eddie, but like coach [Matt Nagy] said, [we] totally respect and understand his decision. So we support him a thousand percent. We all get it.”

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