Amobi Okoye is about to be back with the Bears.
The defensive lineman was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he’s finalizing a deal to return to the Bears, according to a league source.
A former 10th overall pick, Okoye posted his second-best sack total last season as a Bears reserve, and he signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Bucs during the offseason.
But, Okoye underwent a knee scope in June, and he missed the last three preseason games.
Bucs rookie head coach Greg Schiano apparently lost patience with Okoye, despite trouble with the team’s depth on the defensive line.
“You can be a little cautious at times,” Schiano said of Okoye, according to the Tampa Times Thursday night. “We’ve tried to do that. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go out and earn a spot.”
Recently, Schiano also acknowledged that the Bucs took a risk with Okoye because of his “history with that knee.”
The Bears have had a host of injuries themselves along the defensive line.
Matt Toeaina entered training camp with a cast, and Stephen Paea missed the final three preseason games with an ankle injury. On Thursday night, Brian Price – whom the Bears traded a seventh-round pick to the Bucs to get – left the game early and underwent tests to evaluate whether he had a head injury.
Nate Collins has flashed at times, but he’ll be suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The only completely healthy defensive tackle is Henry Melton.