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’Sneaky good’ NT Eddie Goldman the ’unsung hero’ of Bears’ top-5 defense

Bears inside linebacker Danny Trevathan has a unique vantage point to observe — and benefit from — nose tackle Eddie Goldman’s excellence. He’s right behind him on almost every play. But even with a front-row seat, Trevathan struggles to explain just what it is that makes Goldman so effective.

“What makes him so good? He’s just Eddie,” Trevathan said with a smile. “I don’t know what to say about him.”

The 6-4, 320-pound Goldman is in his familiar spot as the overlooked, underappreciated foundation block of the Bears’ defense. His contributions often are literally lost in the commotion of stuffed running plays and rarely show up on the stat sheet. Goldman has 25 tackles, one sack, three tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.

“He’s an unsung hero,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said.

Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman (91) tackles Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) for a loss in the Bears' 41-9 victory on Nov. 4 at New Era Stadium. | Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Bears nose tackle Eddie Goldman (91) tackles Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) for a loss in the Bears' 41-9 victory on Nov. 4 at New Era Stadium. | Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

“He doesn’t get enough credit,” Trevathan said.

Even when coach Matt Nagy singled him out in a victory against the Bills on Nov. 4, it was with a compliment that epitomized what Goldman is all about.

“I thought he was sneaky good,” Nagy said.

Until they come up with an “assist” category that measures the plays Goldman creates for others by destroying one block after another, the 2015 second-round draft pick will struggle for recognition. And he’s fine with that. On this defense, he can still ride the wave of team success to the Pro Bowl someday.

“I don’t really concern myself with the numbers,” Goldman said. “Those who know, know. I don’t really get into stats because I know if everybody’s playing well, everybody will benefit. That’s all I’m concerned about.”

The Bears know what they have in Goldman. It’s why they signed him to a four-year, $42 million extension with $25 million guaranteed in September. And he’s better than ever.

“This is his best year,” Trevathan said. “He doesn’t get a lot of credit. He doesn’t score touchdowns. He’s not celebrating. He’s in the trenches taking on double-teams and triple-teams, helping linebackers and [defensive backs]. It doesn’t show how much we really appreciate that man and how much he does for us. But we watch him. We see. People need to start giving him credit.”

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Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said the Bears’ run defense is the best way to quantify Goldman’s contribution. The Bears are second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game and first in rushing yards per attempt.

“We’ve played good run defense, and we can’t play good run defense without him playing good,” Fangio said. “He’s strong in there, whether it’s a one-on-one block or a two-on-one block. He’s able to hold the point for us and yet get off blocks and make plays within that.”

The low-key, even-keeled Goldman has an ideal temperament to play his position on a defense that is developing a collective swagger.

“He loves football,” Trevathan said. “He’s not a real talkative person. But when he’s playing out there, he loves the game. He loves his brothers. He has a family mindset. He loves playing with us.”

At 24, Goldman has come a long way and has room for growth.

“It’s not so much about my progress; it’s the team’s progress,” Goldman said. “We’ve never been 6-3 since I’ve been here. I’m just ecstatic right now.”