With concerns about their depth at inside linebacker, the Bears signed veteran Alec Ogletree on Wednesday. He should be able to join the team for practice Thursday morning.
Ogletree, 29, is going into his ninth season. He played two games for the Jets in 2020 and went unsigned after they cut him midseason. He will be in competition for a backup spot behind Bears mainstays Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan.
The Rams drafted Ogletree out of Georgia in the first round, and he got off to a great start with 230 tackles and three interceptions over his first two seasons. He returned from a broken leg in 2015 to earn second-team All-Pro honors in 2016 with 136 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
He followed that with two solid seasons — he totaled 188 tackles and six interceptions — before falling to 80 tackles for the Giants in 2019 and his unproductive stint with the Jets.
He has been particularly annoying to the Bears recently with two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) against Chase Daniel in 2018 and one in the end zone against Mitch Trubisky the next season.
Neither of the Bears’ second-string inside linebackers, Josh Woods and Joel
Iyiegbuniwe, have established themselves as dependable on defense and play mainly on special teams. Both played less than 5% of the defensive snaps last season.
The Bears also have veteran Austin Calitro and undrafted rookie Caleb Johnson competing for spots at the position.
Notes: The Bears put defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson, linebacker Christian Jones and long snapper Patrick Scales on the reserve/COVID-19 list after practice Tuesday. But they didn’t add anyone Wednesday, which indicates the situation is contained. The team has said more than 85% of the players in camp are vaccinated.
† The Bears hosted offensive lineman Gage Cervenka as they deal with various issues up front. Cervenka went undrafted out of Clemson in 2020 and was with the Bears for rookie minicamp in May.