Bears Urged to ‘Send a Statement’ & Cut Potential Starter

Matt Eberflus

Getty Bears head coach Matt Eberflus will likely be asked about the arrest of LB Matt Adams when he speaks to the media in late July.

The Chicago Bears signed linebacker Matt Adams to a one-year deal in April, but after his recent arrest, one analyst thinks the team should let him go.

Adams was arrested in Chicago on June 23 after police found a loaded handgun and a high-capacity magazine while searching a vehicle that had previously been reported stolen. According to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times, “Adams said the car was his, and police found the gun inside. Adams has a license for the gun but not in Illinois.”

The 25-year-old linebacker was charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon and was cited for having a high-capacity magazine and metal-piercing bullets. He’s due in court on August 24.

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Bears Should ‘Send a Statement’ & Release Adams, Analyst Says

“Earlier this morning, we were made aware of an incident involving the arrest of Bears linebacker Matthew Adams,” the Bears said in a statement on June 24, via ESPN. “We are in the process of gathering more information. We will refrain from making any further comment at this time.”

The team hasn’t commented on the matter since, but on the June 28 episode of the “Under Center podcast,” Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports noted that if Chicago wants to establish a new culture under first-year general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, the team should make an example out of Adams and cut him ASAP.

“You’ve got to consider just cutting him,” Shapiro said. “If you are trying to set up this culture and are trying to say: ‘This is what the Chicago Bears are and this is what we stand for and don’t stand for,’ send a statement. Say: ‘This is completely unacceptable.'”

Adams was the second Bears player this offseason to get arrested. Free agent wide receiver Byron Pringle was arrested in April and charged with reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Former Regime’s Lack of Discipline Hurt the Team

Shapiro mentioned the way the team’s former regime, led by ex-head coach Matt Nagy, had an issue with letting players go undisciplined, noting it had a negative ripple-down effect.

He cited multiple incidents in 2020 involving two former Bears wide receivers, Javon Wims and Anthony Miller. In Week 8 of the 2020 regular season, Wims punched New Orleans Saints cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson at the end of a play and was suspended by the NFL for two games after the incident.

Wims didn’t get cut, and during Chicago’s wild-card matchup, which was also against the Saints, Miller was ejected for punching Gardner-Johnson — after specifically being told by the coaching staff not to engage with the Saints defensive back.

Shapiro speculated that had Wims been cut after the Week 8 incident, Miller might not have risked throwing punches a few months later.

“If you cut him at that time, you send a message that this is so unacceptable that you will lose your job — if you cut Javon Wims at that time, Anthony Miller is probably not punching the same dude in the playoffs,” Shapiro said. “You are setting a clear standard. You are showing incredible accountability in how completely unacceptable that was, right? Punch a guy, you’re gonna get cut.”

The Bears chose not to re-sign either Wims or Miller after the season ended, but Shapiro made a solid point.

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2 Players Arrested in 2 Months Isn’t Great Look for Bears

Adams has a connection to Eberflus after playing 58 games and starting nine for the Indianapolis Colts over the last four years, where Eberflus served as his defensive coordinator. That connection should not matter, said Shapiro, who said he thought that letting Adams go would let players know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

“It sends a message to the rest of the locker room: ‘This is how you carry yourself as a Chicago Bear.’ And, OK, maybe that’s a little Draconian, maybe that’s a little crazy, but man, does that send a message to the rest of the team about: ‘This is the kind of ship we’re running here.'”

Kenneth Davis, the host of “Under Center,” said he would want more info on Adams’ arrest before letting the LB go. “I need clarity with the stolen car situation,” Davis reasoned.

“The whole totality of it doesn’t pass the smell test for me,” Shapiro added, in reference to Adams. “Obviously the Bears are going to do their own investigation. Byron Pringle passes the smell test for me.”

We’ll see how Poles and Eberflus handle the situation with Adams. The Bears chose to keep their discussions and potential punishments for Pringle in-house, and they’ll likely do the same for Adams. It would be a shock if the team outright released him, as he’s expected to be one of the team’s top three LBs on the depth chart, but stranger things have happened.

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