When the Chicago Bears announced they would be switching to a 30 front defense, it was clear the one sore spot on the roster would be defensive end. The holdover group of DEs would mostly be converted to outside linebackers and the defensive tackles would be moved to the nose.
General manager Ryan Pace addressed defensive end last week by signing two experienced 3-4 guys and now today he and his coaching staff are working out former Chicago Bear, Alonzo Spellman.
At first glance this move seems odd, but Spellman, even at 43 years old, is in better shape than many defensive linemen playing the game today. Here's a snippet of the press release from Spellman's representation, the Law Firm of Romero, Nicholson, Ledger and Hamill, from after his veteran combine workout.
Our client may be older than the average NFL player. Our client may have had some troubles in his past. Our client may not be the typical NFL prospect. But our client has proven himself at the Veteran Combine by running circles around the other "prospects" trying to make a comeback.
In this era of "second chances", our client, Alonzo Robert Spellman, deserves his second chance.
There's only one team he wants to play for and that's the team that secured his rights in the 1992 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears. He feels he has unfinished business in Chicago, and that business is leading the Monsters Of The Midway to the Super Bowl.
Spellman's personal trainer, James Jesse, released this statement about Spellman on his MySpace page.
Spellman is 6'4", his always chiseled physique currently checks in at 301 pounds. He recently pumped out 49 reps of 225lbs on the bench press. He ripped off a 4.69 forty yard dash in full gear. He can rip a phone book in half. He can jump out of a pool of water. He's an undefeated mixed martial artist and he can eat 70 Chicago style hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Bears head coach John Fox had all his concerns eased after speaking with Spellman's personal physician, Dr. Edward Nigma. This is from Fox via a Wednesday morning teleconference.
"After talking with the doctor, he assures us that Spellman has the body of a 25 year old. The 10 years away from professional football has had a Benjamin Button effect on Spellman's body. He is physically and mentally ready to begin a new chapter in his life and I'm ready to get Zo back on the field where he belongs.
I just feel Spellman can have an Aaron Donald type of impact on our ball club if we were to acquire his rights, and let's face it, we were a 5 win team last year, we need all the help we can get. But that's not 100% up to me, Ryan (Pace) will need to get him under contract."
GM Ryan Pace could not be reached for comment, but sources tell me that once Spellman passes his physical he'll sign a 1 year veteran minimum deal.