Priorities

The Bears have added depth to their defensive unit this offseason, maybe the most important signing being free agent linebacker Mike Caldwell from the Eagles. Caldwell comes to Chicago after a career year in Philadelphia starting in all 16 games for a team one win away from a Super Bowl appearance.

The Bears value Caldwell as an excellent backup linebacker, and a student of the game. He served as an outside linebacker on the team that allowed the second fewest points in the league. Caldwell finished his best NFL season with 100 tackles and three sacks while starting every game last year.

The Eagles decided not to re-sign Caldwell, which made him an unrestricted free agent. Caldwell was aware other clubs wanted him to fill in as a starter including Carolina, Houston, and Detroit all could have used his services in 2002.

However, Caldwell wanted something more than a starting position.

"Chicago made the commitment to me, they were really interested in having me here," Caldwell said. "I've never made it to the Super Bowl, I chose a team that has a chance to make it there and hopefully I can add a piece to make it there."

Caldwell recognizes that the Bears have one of the best linebacking corps in the NFL. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to help out the Bears cause.

"I look at myself as a professional, whatever they ask me to do I will be willing to do it," he said.

Caldwell is impressed with the current linebackers if Chicago and is also in awe of the history of Chicago linebackers. Guys like current middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, and names from the past such as Mike Singletary, and Dick Butkus have set a standard for being a Bears linebacker.

"The Bears are a team with a lot of tradition, I come here and there is hardly a fifty number to get," Caldwell said.


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