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Bears will not pick up Shea McClellin’s fifth-year option

General manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday that the Bears will not exercise the fifth-year option of linebacker Shea McClellin’s rookie contract.

It was an expected move by the Bears, who had until Sunday to make the decision. McClellin, the Bears’ first-round pick in 2012, has struggled to find a position with the Bears. McClellin also would be guaranteed a $7.751 million salary in 2016 for injury.

McClellin, though, hopes to stick with the Bears.

“It’s tough just because I’ve been moved around and a lot of different things have happened,” McClellin said in an interview with the Sun-Times after minicamp practice. “I still think I got a lot left in the tank, and I’ll definitely show what I can be.”

McClellin was the first draft pick made by former general manager Phil Emery, who lauded his versatility. But McClellin was stuck at 4-3 defensive end his first two seasons. Last year, McClellin finally was moved to strong-side linebacker.

Coach John Fox said he was high on McClellin as an outside linebacker coming out of Boise State in 2012, but the plan for McClellin is to start working at “Mike” linebacker in the Bears’ new 3-4 defense.

McClellin understands why the Bears wouldn’t pick up his option.

“I haven’t been productive as I should be,” McClellin said.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com
Twitter: @adamjahns