No fur­ther opt-outs by Bears

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY MARK POTASH, STAFF RE­PORTER mpotash@sun­times.com | @MarkPo­tash

When Bears de­fen­sive line coach Jay Rodgers learned last week that star nose tackle Ed­die Gold­man was opt­ing out of the 2020 sea­son, he didn’t flinch.

“We had a great con­ver­sa­tion af­ter­wards,” Rodgers said. “I want to keep him in­volved in some way. Ed­die is still a part of this team, and we’re gonna con­stantly be com­mu­ni­cat­ing with him all the time. He’s a big part of what we’ve been able to ac­com­plish over the years, and I un­der­stand where he’s com­ing from.”

Gold­man and safety Jor­dan Lu­cas re­main the only two Bears to opt out be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic after the opt-out dead­line passed Thurs­day.

Gold­man’s ab­sence will leave a void in the de­fense, but the line depth un­der Rodgers fig­ures to help al­le­vi­ate the pain. Bi­lal Ni­chols, Ab­dul­lah An­der­son and John Jenk­ins pre­vi­ously have worked at nose tackle in practice, and Brent Ur­ban is work­ing there now, Rodgers said.

“There are some guys on our team that do some things that Ed­die does just as well — they just haven’t done it at that po­si­tion in the mid­dle for five years,” Rodgers said. “Through ex­pe­ri­ence, you learn. Ed­die didn’t just ar­rive in his first year and have all that abil­ity. He learned how to play the game.”

De­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Chuck Pagano like­wise sup­ported Gold­man’s de­ci­sion.

“Luck­ily, we’ve got good depth,” Pagano said. “We’re gonna miss Ed­die, but like coach [Matt Nagy] said, [we] to­tally re­spect and un­der­stand his de­ci­sion. So we sup­port him a thou­sand per­cent. We all get it.”

Ed­die Gold­man

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