With injuries to Brian Urlacher, punter Adam Podlesh and Stephen Paea that could keep them out of the season opener against the Colts, the Bears did not have the luxury of a roster spot for second-year linebacker Dom DeCicco, who will undergo surgery for a sports hernia next week.
The Bears waived DeCicco as an injured player Wednesday and re-signed wide receiver Terriun Crump, the Western Illinois and Rich Central product who had been cut Sunday.
DeCicco made the team last season as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburgh, where he played for former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt. A hybrid safety/linebacker at Pitt, he wasn’t ready to play linebacker in the NFL, but became a special-teams standout. ”Dom DeCicco last year was a guy that kind of kept growing on everybody,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said, ”and all of the sudden he was that special-teams guy for us.”
DeCicco ended up with 17 special-teams tackles last season, second on the team behind Pro Bowler Corey Graham. He was making strides at linebacker in training camp this season but aggravated a groin injury in the preseason opener against the Broncos that he originally suffered in the offseason program.
It wasn’t until DeCicco sensed it was more than a groin injury — after three weeks without a lot of progress –and went for a second opinion that a specialist in Philadelphia diagnosed his injury as a sports hernia. He is likely to be out for about a month after the surgery next week.
The Bears have expressed interest in re-signing DeCicco, but by NFL rules can’t do that until six weeks after the expiration of a negotiated injury settlement, which likely won’t be until Week 9. Already, other NFL teams have expressed interest in signing DeCicco as soon as he is healthy, which could be four or five weeks from now.