Bears unconcerned with Rodriguez's baggage

Evan Rodriguez, the fourth round pick of the Bears, had off-the-field issues during his collegiate career, yet GM Phil Emery says the team feels comfortable those problems are in the past.

The Chicago Bears took a bit of a risk in the fourth round of this year's draft. By taking Temple tight end Evan Rodriguez, the team brings on board a player that has had multiple off-field issues.

"I'll acknowledge up front that I know that he has had past issues," said Bears GM Phil Emery. "He transferred form the University of West Virginia after the '07. He came in there to West Virginia in '07. He had some incidents. He transferred. He has had some incidents at Temple."

Rodriguez was charged with misdemeanor disturbance and misdemeanor trespassing while at West Virginia in 2007, then later arrested for disorderly conduct in April 2009.

TE Evan Rodriguez
Phil Sears/US Presswire

His first incident facilitated his transfer from West Virginia to Temple.

Yet despite these obvious red flags, Emery said the team feels comfortable those problems are in the past.

"[It was] maturity more than any other factor," said Emery. "He hasn't had an incident since the 2010 season. I think that he got real high-quality coaching. Those are good coaches, winning coaches who help provide maturity and help him grow as a man."

The Bears did extensive research of Rodriguez during the pre-draft process. Emery scouted him in person four times the past two years. The club sent running backs coach Tim Spencer to work him out individually and then brought him to Halas Hall for a private visit.

"You never really know exactly who they are until they get in your building and sometimes you are very surprised at how good they end up being," Emery said. "What we felt really good about Evan is that he's a tough, physical guy and in football that's very important.

"We do all our background. I have several contacts at Temple. We also do profiles. We use a particular company; all the teams do. You can call them ‘psychological profiles' for want of a better term. We would call them ‘performance profiles.' Out of the tight ends, this guy scores as high or higher than anybody. He's a nine out of 10 for his predictive performance into the NFL at his position."

With the Bears feeling good about his character, the team believes he was a steal in the fourth round.

"To find this guy in the fourth round, and some of it was because of his past issues – to find this guy with the right fit for us, to be in our base personnel and be a special-teams player because of his speed and toughness, is a good find for the Bears."

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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