Joel Iyiegbuniwe was a fourth-round draft pick for the Chicago Bears in 2018 (115th overall) out of Western Kentucky, and he has played in 58 games for the team over the last four years.
A veteran linebacker who predominantly played on special teams, Iyiegbuniwe played just 49 defensive snaps in his four seasons in the Windy City. Now, according to a tweet he sent out January 10 — hours after it was announced the team was parting ways with head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace — the Bears LB says his days in Chicago are done.
“The end of an era!” Iyiegbuniwe tweeted, adding: “Bears fans y’all have been so good to me. I appreciate the love, hoped I could have shown you what I’m capable of but it wasn’t meant to be. My time is coming and I can’t wait to show the world. Gods got a plan for ya boy! Much love.”
The Bears have yet to make the move official, but Iyiegbuniwe seems like a pretty good source on the matter.
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Iyiegbuniwe Never Turned Into Solid Option at ILB for Bears
The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Iyiegbuniwe had speed coming out of college, running a 4.6 40-yard dash. He was undersized as an inside linebacker, however, and never fell into the starting or top-tiered backup role Chicago hoped he would when it drafted him.
“Year three for me, honestly, the game is slow as its ever been in my career,” Iyiegbuniwe said heading into his third season back in September of 2020, per Sports Illustrated. “You know, high school, college. I feel like I’m really hitting my stride now as far as football IQ, as far as all that stuff. So I’d definitely say I’m a different player.”
The hope was that he would make the leap in his third season, but that never happened.
In his 58 games with the Bears, he accumulated 29 total tackles (25 solo, one for loss), a pass defensed and a forced fumble.
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