Josh Freeman works out with Bears in Chicago
By Rich Campbell
CHICAGO — Free-agent quarterback Josh Freeman worked out for the Bears on Monday at Halas Hall, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. A contract agreement was not imminent.
General manager Phil Emery last month said the Bears would continue evaluating veteran quarterbacks to compete with Jordan Palmer for the backup role. Freeman, 26, is an intriguing candidate because of his draft pedigree.
The 17th pick in 2009, Freeman is looking to regain traction after his career derailed. The Buccaneers released him in October after a feud with coach Greg Schiano, who was fired at the end of the season.
Freeman has 80 career touchdown passes, 67 interceptions, a 57.6 completion percentage and a 77.8 passer rating.
Bears coach Marc Trestman’s criteria for a backup quarterback include being a positive influence in the locker room. That’s an area in which the Bears are sure to heavily scrutinize Freeman, considering his acrimonious falling out with Schiano and the Bucs.
Schiano, who inherited Freeman when he took over in 2012, benched him after an 0-3 start last season and publicized that Freeman had unexcused absences from multiple meetings.
Freeman signed with the Vikings on Oct. 6. Two weeks later, he completed only 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards and an interception in the only game he played for them.
Monday’s workouts also included running backs Javon Ringer, Phillip Tanner and Nate Eachus, quarterback Adam Weber, tight end Matthew Mulligan and long snapper Brad Madison.
Wright to Bucs: Safety Major Wright’s expected departure from the Bears became official when he signed a one-year contract with the Bucs and reunited with former Bears coach Lovie Smith.
The Bears moved on from Wright, their starting strong safety the last three seasons, after he struggled in 2013 to consistently finish tackles, take proper angles to ball carriers and range in coverage.
Although they signed free agent Ryan Mundy on the first day of free agency, safety remains a pressing need as the Bears approach the draft. It would be a surprise if they didn’t draft one in the first three rounds, especially because Chris Conte (right shoulder) could miss part of training camp.
Snapper depth: The Bears signed former CFL long snapper Chad Rempel to a three-year contract, the team said. The move doesn’t affect the status of incumbent Pat Mannelly, who is expected to decide this spring whether to play a club-record 17th season after offseason hip surgery.
Rempel played for Trestman with the Montreal Alouettes. He joins Brandon Hartson on the long-snapper depth chart.