Chicago Bears linebacker Kasim Edebali takes part in drills during a joint NFL football training camp session with the Denver Broncos this month. | David Zalubowski

Is German-born Kasim Edebali the answer to the Bears’ depth problem at OLB?

SHARE Is German-born Kasim Edebali the answer to the Bears’ depth problem at OLB?
SHARE Is German-born Kasim Edebali the answer to the Bears’ depth problem at OLB?

Outside linebacker Kasim Edebali has a big couple of days ahead of him: The Bears are making cuts Saturday, and his wife is scheduled to give birth next week.

‘‘We’re all excited,’’ Edebali said. ‘‘Hopefully I get a job and we have a baby and life’s good.’’

If Edebali keeps his job with the Bears, he hopes to fly to Phoenix, where he and his wife live, for the birth. It would be a nice problem to have. Edebali is looking to be the German-born, 29-year-old answer to one of the Bears’ most pressing issues this offseason.

With Leonard Floyd to wear a club on his broken right hand and Aaron Lynch still working his way back from a strained hamstring, the Bears need all the outside-linebacker experience they can muster. One of their oldest players, Edebali has eight career sacks.

‘‘You bring a vet in in case something happens, someone you can count on,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m trying to be that guy. . . .

‘‘It’s always up to the player. Don’t leave it up for grabs. Give it everything you’ve got. Be out there and show that you can be one of the guys that’s accountable day in and day out.’’

After signing with the Bears after organized team activities, Edebali scrambled to learn the finer points of coverage as an outside linebacker, something he never had to worry about as a defensive end. He has played more snaps than any Bears outside linebacker in each of the last two preseason games. In another, he tied rookie Kylie Fitts for the most.


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‘‘A kid that plays really fast — really fast,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘He’s around that edge, he’s making plays, a high-energy guy, high-motor guy. You see him, he causes disruptions in the backfield. You love guys that just come to practice every day and work hard. And that’s who he is.’’

The son of a U.S. serviceman, Edebali was raised by his half-German, part-Turkish mother in Hamburg, Germany. He did gymnastics as a kid, like his mom, and put that athleticism to use as the quarterback of the Hamburg Young Huskies. The USA Football International Student Program led him to be an exchange student at a high school in New Hampshire. He switched to tight end and defensive end and landed a scholarship at Boston College.

The Saints signed Edebali as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and he made the team and played in every game for them for three seasons. But his career grew more turbulent last season. The Broncos signed him in March but waived him in November, starting a stretch during which he played for four teams in 45 days.

It taught him lessons he’s applying this week.

‘‘Don’t go too crazy about it,’’ Edebali said. ‘‘Life sometimes gets crazy. Embrace the moment and make the most out of it. Everything was crazy — leaving Germany, being a free agent, making the team, latching on with Denver, not having the year I wished for, playing for four different teams in a year.

‘‘You want to keep the stress out. My wife’s been stressing out enough for me.’’

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