Ryan Pace Stands By His Convictions
Kareem Hunt signed with the Browns this week. Since the end of the year address, fans have been clamoring for a Hunt-Nagy reunion. Why not? He is a young versatile back that was already selected to a Pro Bowl and won a rushing title. Matt Nagy was his former offensive coordinator with the Chiefs. The Chicago Bears demonstrated their conviction this week. “They will not compromise their locker room or their culture for the sake of winning.” Bravo.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 5, 2019
All season the narrative was Jordan Howard isn’t the right fit for Nagy’s West Coast offense. It was not all in vain. Howard was never considered a versatile back nor has he ever demonstrated reliable hands. He is a volume runner with tremendous vision and patience that hurts you as the game goes on. However, the committee of Howard and Tarik Cohen did a remarkable job complementing one another. One could argue the tandem was the lifeline of the offense this season. But Howard’s stats took a slight turn for the worst, and the narrative lives on. Hunt’s dismissal only added fuel to the proverbial fire.
Matt Nagy admitted to reaching out to Hunt following his latest allegation. He was concerned for his well-being not football related. Nagy’s history details strong bonds created with past and present players so the exchange makes sense. But Ryan Pace emphasized the team hadn’t given much thought to signing Hunt a few short weeks ago.
“We’re not there yet,” Pace stated. ” I mean, I know what he is as a player obviously from watching. Matt knows more about him as a person. We’re not even close to that point.”
Of course, this led to speculation from the fans and media alike. Then, CBS added more Hunt speculation with another article tying him to the Bears. In that article, Allen Robinson shared his thoughts on Hunt and the maturity of the Bears locker room.
“From when I met him and everything like that, for us to bring him into our locker room, I think guys would welcome him with open arms,” he said. “He’d be one of us. A guy they’d bring into our locker room as a brother.”
Pace is thorough and his evolution as a young GM has been evident since his arrival at Halas Hall. He already experienced public backlash after signing a troubled Ray McDonald. That move immediately backfired.
Does This Sound Familiar?
McDonald played for Vic Fangio during his time in San Francisco. He had a history of violence against women. He convinced the Bears Organization to believe in him as a “changed” man. Then, he was arrested again for domestic violence. He was cut after two months in Chicago.
Hunt fits the same profile, a valuable contributor on the field with a history of violence and arrests. He is currently on the Commissioner’s Exempt List following a graphic video showing Hunt allegedly attacking a woman outside a hotel room in Cleveland. He has been accused of three violent acts within the past year. He was also suspended the first two games of the 2015 season at University of Toledo for violating an athletic (department) policy and a football policy. This behavior appears to be a pattern that he has yet to overcome.
The situation played out perfectly for the Bears. That is not to say they didn’t research the player and/or reach out to the Chiefs Organization. 31 other teams probably followed a similar script regarding the maligned player.
Football Players deserve second chances but a Hunt signing is premature. According to the NFLPA, Hunt has resources available for him to seek help while complying with NFL regulations. The Bears obviously felt that he needed time. Cleveland did not. He returns home for a fresh start and hopefully a healthy new beginning. Let’s calm down and trust Pace will find the right fit for Nagy’s offense, the locker room, and the Bears Organization moving forward.
Until then, stay thirsty and BEAR DOWN! JT out.