Ex-Bears Starter Retiring From NFL After Signing With New Team: Report

Eddie Goldman

Getty Former Bears NT Eddie Goldman is retiring from the NFL after playing six seasons.

Former Chicago Bears starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman is hanging up the cleats for good.

As first reported by NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Goldman, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons, is electing to retire instead of playing another season. He’s 28 years old.

Goldman was a second-round pick (39th overall) for the Bears out of Florida State in 2015. He started 73 games and played and 81 over his six seasons in Chicago, and early in his career, he was a dominant force in the middle of the defense.

Goldman earned grades of 63.7 or better in run defense from PFF up until 2020, when he didn’t play. His performance was noticeably worse than ever in 2021, when he finished with a career-low 37.4 grade against the run.

ALL the latest Bears news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Bears newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Bears!

Goldman Was Never the Same After 2019 Season

Goldman elected to opt out of the 2020 regular season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, and after missing that year, he didn’t look like the same player after returning to action in 2021. He played in 14 games last season, starting 10, and he finished with 22 total tackles, also notching career lows in QB hits (1), tackles-for-loss (1) and sacks (0.5).

The Bears moved on from the veteran nose tackle this offseason, and he landed in Atlanta, inking a one-year contract with the Falcons. There, he re-united with former Bears general manager Ryan Pace, who currently serves as the Falcons’ senior personnel executive.

The reunion looks to be a brief one, however, as Goldman has informed the team he is retiring instead.

Follow the Heavy on Bears Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Bears-related breaking news, rumors, content and more!

Will It Be Tonga Time in Chicago?

With Goldman gone and veteran defensive tackle Akiem Hicks also leaving in free agency, expect Khyiris Tonga to get a chance to secure his spot on the roster moving forward. A seventh-round draft pick for the Bears out of BYU in 2021, Tonga didn’t play much as a rookie last year, but he showed flashes when filling in for an injured Hicks.

The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Tonga earned a pass rush grade of 60.4 from PFF, and he split his snaps between the A- and B-gaps just about evenly (108 in A-gap, 105 in B-gap), so it will be interesting to see how new head coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams use him.

Regardless, he should see a lot more action this coming season. Tonga is currently listed as the team’s top LDT on ESPN’s depth chart, and unless something major happens during training camp, it looks to stay that way.

As a rookie in 2021, Tonga appeared in 15 games, starting two, playing 23% of Chicago’s defensive snaps. He finished with 24 total tackles (one for loss) and a fumble recovery (stats via Pro Football Reference). If he stays healthy, those numbers should increase significantly in 2022.

READ NEXT: Maligned Ex-Bears Coach Played Key Role in Adding Top Playmaker: Report

Read More