Bears Bring in Versatile Journeyman OL for Tryout

Chicago Bears Aaron Neary tryout

Getty Will Bears HC Matt Nagy add some depth to a porous offensive line? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears may be thinking of adding some much-needed depth to their offensive line. Center Aaron Neary, who started one game in his NFL career, had a workout with the Bears, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

The 6-4, 299 pound Neary turns 28 in a few weeks, and he has been in the league since he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2016. The Bears suffered a huge loss when starting o-lineman James Daniels went down for the season with a torn pectoral, and now, starting center Cody Whitehair is dealing with a calf injury, so Chicago will need to add some depth to their line if they don’t want to continue in offensive purgatory.

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Aaron Neary: A Brief History

Neary spent a brief time with the Broncos in 2016 before being released, and he caught on with the Eagles immediately after that, spending the entire 2016 season on Philadelphia’s practice squad.

Neary signed with the Rams in 2017, where he again made the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in December that season when he started his lone NFL game at center for Los Angeles.

He was waived by the Rams in 2018 and spent a week with the Browns, who claimed him off waivers, but they released him. Los Angeles came calling again, and he spent a second stint with the Rams during the 2018 season.

A violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy resulted in Neary having to serve a suspension for the first four games of 2019, but he broke his ankle during the preseason that year, and was placed on the reserve/suspended list. His injury was season-ending, and the Rams cut him, paying him an injury settlement.

He served his four-game suspension after that and was reinstated by the league last October, but he hasn’t played since.

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Neary Could Be Versatile Depth Addition

Neary played his college ball at Eastern Washington, spending four seasons at center. He started 46 games in that span. Current EWU offensive line coach Jase Butorac said the following about Neary in 2019: “He’s a really focused individual. When he has his mind on something, he really goes after it. He’s not afraid of hard work. He knows how to grind at the end of the day,” Butorac said, adding: “He’s an athletic, former basketball player. And he’s pretty lean for his position.”

He’s also apparently versatile. One game during the 2015 season saw Neary play three different positions: He took snaps at center, guard and tackle. The Bears need help and depth at all three of those positions, and if he looked fit during his workout, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Chicago add him. If signed, Neary would likely fill Sam Mustipher’s role on the practice squad.

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