Dozier, a free agent acquisition who inked a one-year deal with the Bears this offseason, was competing for a spot at right guard before going down with an apparent leg injury in the team’s June 14 practice. He had to be carted off the field, and while an official diagnosis has yet to be revealed, it looks as though his injury is a serious one.
It’s a significant blow for the 31-year-old Dozier, who appeared in just six games for the Minnesota Vikings last season, playing only on special teams. He had started all 16 games at left guard for the Vikings in 2020, and was expected to be a swing tackle for Chicago if he didn’t win the starting job at RT.
Stanley will fill Dozier’s roster spot, and while it will be an uphill battle for him to make roster, he does have an interesting past connection to current Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields.
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Stanley Switched Positions After College
Stanley spent four years playing wide receiver in college at Georgia, where he was teammates with Fields for one year in 2018. He played minimally, catching three passes for 32 yards and a lone touchdown — which came on a pass from Fields:
Stanley went undrafted in 2019 and signed with the Atlanta Falcons, getting released as part of the team’s final roster cuts after converting from WR to defensive back. He had brief stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins after that before catching on with the Seattle Seahawks in April of 2020.
He played in eight games for the Seahawks that year, playing on 59% of the team’s special teams snaps and just 1% of its defensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference. After getting released by Seattle, he had a cup of coffee with the Green Bay Packers late in the 2021 season. Now, he’ll get a chance to compete for a spot on Chicago’s roster.
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Bears Currently Have Loaded CB Room
After drafting rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon in the second round of the draft this year, the Bears addressed a major need in the secondary, adding a potential young starter who may be able to play alongside third-year CB Jaylon Johnson for years to come.
With Gordon and Johnson the presumed starters on the left and right side, it will likely be Kindle Vildor, Tavon Young and Thomas Graham Jr. behind them on the depth chart. Stanley will probably be just another body at camp, but he’ll have a chance to impress against the likes of BoPete Keyes, Duke Shelley, Lamar Jackson, Greg Stroman Jr. and Allie Green.
Considering his background playing special teams, that’s likely his window in.
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